Visiting US scholar conducts workshop for Population Studies students
Visiting Scholar, Professor Winfred Avogo of Illinois State University in the United States, conducted a workshop at UKZN examining integrating theory and mixed methods in family demography.
Speaking at the workshop hosted by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies , Avogo said: ‘The 21st century has seen overall, a remarkable number of studies that identify as mixed-methods. Even demographers, who generally shun annthropological methods such as participant observation and ethnography have embraced and collaborated with interviewers. But this is also an area of research still in its formation and fraught with ambiguities and challenges.’
The seminar looked to build a working definition of a mixed-methods study, the motivations for using such an approach and the challenges that emerge. The second part of the workshop discussed practical ways to integrate theory and mix-methods in social demography, especially research on gender socialisation and demographic outcomes.
PhD student Ms Reesha Kara says through the workshop she developed a greater understanding of how the mixed methods approach could be applied to research, allowing her to think more about the theoretical aspect of the approach and the manner in which she planned to incorporate it in her own study.
‘I plan on adopting a mixed methods approach with my PhD research. Attending the workshop provided me with some insight of the philosophical and theoretical ideas associated with the two methods and a perspective on how these two approaches can be used together,’ she said.
Kara believes that workshops of this nature provide students with a more in-depth look at specific topics in the research arena. ‘It also helps to keep abreast with new research methods being employed by social science researchers and it is always refreshing to be exposed to a different method of teaching and gaining an expert's perspective on the subject matter.’