Discovering Research at its Source

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  • Published: March 24, 2016
Qatar National Library (QNL), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), is outlining the art of research writing to students, and a diverse range of thinkers from across society.
Techniques, skills, and insights that support the creation of high caliber, impactful research papers form the core of a four-part workshop established by QNL that comprehensively addresses the research process, from commencement to conclusion.

The workshop, which began on 27 January 2016 at Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center, comprises several modules, starting with a ‘Research Tool Kit’ that enables participants to understand and find varying types of information required and produced throughout the cycle of research.

They subsequently learn strategies and methodologies for making the best use of specialized resources to support their studies, including QNL’s extensive offering of databases. A further module focuses on citing information sources and using citation management program, before the fourth and final element provides guidance on structuring a research paper and getting it published. Conducted in Arabic, the initiative is also helping to remove any language-related obstacles to the production of Qatar-born research.

“In seeking to advance society by enhancing people’s knowledge and skills, QNL established the workshop following feedback from our users that they would like to have some training on conducting research, writing papers, and carrying out effective searches for information,” Dr Nouf Khashman, Senior Information Services Librarian, Learning Resources, QNL – who leads the sessions – told The Foundation.

“Initially, we intended the workshop to be for undergraduate students, but we received interest from people of different ages and from diverse backgrounds, and we have tailored sessions to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. Some are beginning their higher education programs and looking for support in conducting research; others want to refresh existing skills.

“By catering for Arabic speakers, we are also looking to bridge any language gap that may exist within research. Many of our databases are in English, but we are teaching techniques and skills that are helpful and applicable regardless of language.”

Relatable research
Dr Khashman says the workshop aims to show that research is an enjoyable pursuit, rather than a daunting prospect. “Research can be fun,” she said, “and people’s reactions have shown that they relate what they learn to their own work environment, studies, or background, and apply it to their own experience.”

Among those benefiting from the initiative is communications engineer Nahla Elzein, who said: “I wanted to enhance my knowledge and personal development, due to my desire to do a Master’s and, ultimately, a PhD.

“The workshop has already proved extremely useful to me, giving me new knowledge and showing me the disciplines required to search for information and develop well-informed research.”

With two modules in each session, the workshop is continuing in March and April 2016, with a one-day, all-encompassing session to be held in May. “It is something that people need, and want,” said Dr Khashman. “New information and resources for research constantly emerge, and our participants are learning how to use it effectively and hone their research writing abilities.

“In the future, we will also look to have an advanced research workshop, and to tailor sessions to specific requirements. But this initiative is for everyone – spreading knowledge, enhancing human capacity, and contributing to the development of Qatar’s research culture.”