From March 11th to 14th, 2008, Ashesi University partnered with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex in running a four-day Research Methods workshop. The goal of the workshop was to promote high quality social science research in Ghana and introduce new techniques to African researchers.

The Workshop was attended by faculty from Ashesi University College, University of Ghana, Legon, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Development Studies, Tamale, Regent University, Central University College and Wisconsin International University College. The workshop was funded by a grant from the England-Africa Partnerships in Higher Education (EAP) programme and administered by the British Council.

The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Peter Houtzager a Research Fellow in the Governance group at IDS. Dr. Houtzager presented research concepts in an easy to grasp way and engaged the participants in discussing their own research interests.

The research methods workshop provided important insights into best practices for conducting general research but placed emphasis on qualitative research. Qualitative research, typically involves the study of small sized cases, usually less than twenty. If conducted properly it can be as equally rigorous as quantitative or numerical research. Participants at the workshop were challenged to think more clearly about the ideas and concepts in their research.

One main concept highlighted during this four-day workshop was proposal writing. Participants came to appreciate the artistic as well as strategic nature of writing proposals to fund research grants. Participants were encouraged to help create a consortium of researchers that can meet regularly to discuss best practices and support each others work.

The Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Brighton, is a leading global organization for research, teaching and communications on international development. The institute was founded in 1966 and enjoys international reputation based on the quality of its work and its commitment to applying academic skills to real world challenges. Its purpose is to understand and explain the world, and to try to change it – to influence as well as to inform.