Notre Dame University



LERC and LDN organized Special Training Workshop: Combining Research Methods and Technology

Friday 3rd July 2009, NDU, Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon
Reported by Damian Naylor, LERC Intern

In collaboration with the Lebanese Development Network (LDN), the Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC) at Notre Dame University organized a special training workshop entitled Combining Research Methods and Technology on July 3, 2009 at NDU. The workshop was meant to explore and improve research methodology and its integration with research technology.  

The trainer Dr. Rita Stephan is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Master’s degree from the American University in Washington, D.C. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. Her educational background includes a Bachelor degree in International Studies and Jewish Studies. Stephan has wide professional experience and is the author of several publications. She is also a Research Associate with LERC.

Dr. Rita Stephan takes charge of her lecture at the NDU auditorium podium (July 2009).

The objective of this training was to introduce participants to essential aspects of social scientific investigation by discussing data measurement and sampling as well as research design and technology. Participants were able to acquire hands-on knowledge of the various research methodologies and gain familiarity with important research terms and concepts. The logic, skills, and methods used in quantitative and qualitative research were discussed in relation to designing research projects with clearly formulated research questions and incorporating technological tools and software in empirical and theoretical analysis.

With over 50 participants from universities, NGOs, embassies, and government institutions as well as professors, researchers and staff from NDU and LERC, Dr. Stephan structured the workshop in three sessions. During the first session, she reviewed research methods such as surveys, observation, and action & design research. Attendees were able to discuss among themselves the benefits to the various types of research, as well as to understand the limitations that came with them.  Dr. Stephan facilitated discussion and encouraged participation among those in attendance.

Dr. Rita Stephan addresses the participants at her lecture (July 2009).

The second session dealt with formative and summative evaluation, as well as discussion on data analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, and presentation.  The participants continued their foray into research methodology and were very enthusiastic about all the material, as well as about many of the real-life applications that Dr. Stephan was able to provide from her years of experience.

The third and final session focused on human subjects, Internal Review Boards, and some of the computer software and internet databases that exist to help facilitate research.  Dr. Stephen was clearly knowledgable about much of the technology that exists and the attendees were clearly enthusiastic about this material and its use.

The training concluded with an evaluation session during which participants were asked to evaluate both the trainer and the content of the course.

In the presence of NDU Vice-President for Research and Development Dr. Assaad Eid, and Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ameen Rihani, and the President of LDN Mr. Amin Nehme, and Dr. Stephan, LERC Director Guita Hourani distributed certificates to participants.

Awarding the certificate to a participant from the Norwegian Refugee Council in Lebanon in the presence of Ms. Guita Hourani, Dr. Assaad Eid, and Dr. Ameen Rihani. (July 2009)

Dr. Stephan finally thanked NDU and LERC for giving her the chance to run this training and share her knowledge with a wide range of participants. In her turn, LERC Director Ms. Guita Hourani thanked Dr. Stephan for her willingness to give this course, and all participants for their active participation and invaluable input during the training sessions.

Souvenir photo of the participants posing with Dr. Rita Stephan (July 2009).