Prof. Yinshan Tang, the Vice Dean of Henley Business School- University of Reading, last Friday delivered a presentation on “Contribution to Knowledge at the PhD Level” on the premises of University of Ghana Business School’s (UGBS) graduate building, as part of the School’s Seminar Series programme.
Prof. Yinshan took participants, most of whom were PhD candidates, through the various research stages and said research is significant in that it aims to train the student to become independent as a researcher.
He identified and explained the criteria by which research is evaluated, mentioning that the criterion ‘personal development’ is essential because it not only changes the researcher internally but also affects outward perceptions towards the researcher.
The other criteria he identified were the outcome and process of the research as well as people the researcher encountered during the research. The acclaimed researcher then went through the various stages of research, beginning with the Proposal stage which he described as a most important document needed to secure a place as a doctoral candidate.
Prof. Yinshan outlined the structure of the Proposal and dwelt extensively on the essence of research questions, aims and objectives, saying that cultural factor can inform the ‘why’ of research questions and drew on personal experience to drive home the point.
Prof. Yinshan also taught participants how to define aims and objectives, carry out research, and touched on the other stages of research which included research methods and data collection and analysis. He urged participants to never relent in asking ‘why’ questions, as well as exercise restraint when it comes to discarding ideas one might not consider research worthy.
Prof. Yinshan finally pointed out the differences between a poor thesis; which usually lacks coherence amongst several other critical components-and a good one, which is generally ‘artistic and elegant’, and fielded questions which included the role of a supervisor in the research process and identifying knowledge gaps.
Also present at the programme were Dr. Kwasi Dartey-Baah, Coordinator of the Seminar Series programme, and Dr. John Effah, UGBS’s International Relations Coordinator, who urged participants to follow debates on research in their fields. He also criticized the Ghanaian culture of stunting inquisitives and curiosity and encouraged participants to never hesitate to ask questions.
Dr. Effah further urged participants to establish the essence of replicating research, rather than doing so on the premise that it has not been done in Ghana before.
UGBS’s Seminar Series seeks to provide a platform for lecturers, researchers, policy makers, students and visiting professors to present and debate research findings and policies with a special focus on Africa and beyond.
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