Developing Research Capacity

Developing Research Capacity

Building Research Capacity Through Research Methods in Education Course

Building research capacity was one of the key initiatives of the project. It was mutually agreed that IER-PU needs capacity development in qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. The course in Research Methods was organized at IER-PU and AKU-IED, respectively in December 2007 and March 2008. The main focus of the course was to engage faculty of both institutions to identify joint research studies.

In order to develop and conduct a meaningful and context-relevant course, four areas were identified. These included:

  1. understanding qualitative research
  2. enhancing understanding in quantitative research 
  3. searching online resources
  4. developing academic writing skills at the international level

Considering the needs, it was decided to conduct the intervention in two phases. During Phase I, a ten-day course was conducted from December 26, 2007 to January 5, 2008 to enhance the understanding of qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Initially, the course was designed for the IER-PU faculty, however during the planning phase, the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, Peshawar University, suggested that the course should also be open for other social sciences departments as research is the core agenda of the University. 

Thus, 30 participants (7 females and 23 males) working as directors, professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, senior teachers from diverse backgrounds of education, research, psychology, sociology, journalism, social work, statistics, computer sciences and the officials of Department of Education and Literacy, Government of KP participated in the course.

This was the first key mile-stone which created a networking within the Peshawar University, Departments of Social Sciences to learn from multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches. The second phase of the Research in Education course was conducted at AKU-IED during March 2008.

Developing Joint Research Studies

The first phase facilitated the development of joint research proposals to conduct research studies together. Hence, IER-PU Director and seven faculty members visited AKU-IED during March 10-15, 2008 to develop and present collaborative research proposals with their counterparts at AKU-IED.

During their visit, amongst other activities, the IER-PU faculty was exposed to online search of relevant material on their identified areas of research studies. Instead of proposed five studies in the project, following seven small-scale studies emerged as a result of intense discussions and debates, based on the needs of both the participating institutions and the current trends in teacher education. Twenty-eight faculty members from both institutions were directly engaged in undertaking the following studies: 

Title of the Study  Research Teams 
​Exploring indigenous educational leadership and management practices of secondary school head teachers in Pakistan Zubeda Bana, Iffat Ara, Rozina Sewani & Izaz Ali 
​Teaching of grammar: Beliefs and practices of teachers  of English ​Ayesha Bashiruddin, Nadeem Khan, Haleema Younis & Uzma Dyan
​Exploring male and female student teachers' perceptions on the role of teaching practicum on their learning to teach ​Dilshad Ashraf, Mohammad Nauman, Kausar Waqar &   Shafqat Parveen
​Exploring effects of teaching and learning in large primary classes in Peshawar primary schools ​Rana Hussain, Javed Sikander Rana, Kausar Waqar & Nazneen Shah
​Facilitating teachers' professional development by using innovative ways of teaching in the BEd programme at IER-PU ​Kulsoom Jaffer, Arbab Khan Afridi, Mohammad Asif & Rakhshanda Meher
​The experience of graduate studies: Students' perspective from Pakistan ​Nelofer Halai, Arshad Ali, Mohammad Rauf & Naheed Parveen
​Applying innovative assessment practices in practicum at bachelor in education level at IER-PU ​Unaeza Alvi, Amjad Reba, Sherwin Rodregues & Nadeem Farooqui

Institutionalizing Ethical Review Committee

All proposals of research studies were approved by external reviewers at AKU-IED; however, for ethical approval, a three-member Adhoc Ethic Review Committee was set up at IER-PU to review the proposals with respect to ethical protocols and create standards for Educational Research. AKU-IED played an advisory role to support this Adhoc Committee. 

A three-day workshop was also held on ‘structures, policies, and procedures in the ethical review of research protocols’ from August 5-7, 2008. The overall goal of the workshop was to develop capacity of the IER-PU faculty regarding the ethical review processes of research in social sciences in general and education in particular.  

Enhancing Action Research Capacity

Looking at the interest of two research teams to conduct their joint research studies in newly learnt Action Research Methodology, AKU-IED, with the collaboration of Pakistan Association for Research in Education (PARE), conducted a two-day Action Research Seminar during February 4-5, 2009 at IER-PU.

Twenty-five IER-PU faculty and other participants attended this seminar. Many of the participants found this seminar a great learning experience as they were not aware about the action research methodology in social sciences. The seminar contributed to understanding action research as a powerful tool for both personal and professional development. As reflected by an IER-PU’s MPhil student, 

‘The action research have its beauty in the sense that once you have started it you cannot leave it without bringing a logical end to it and in the end either you will have enough reasons to convince others or will get convinced yourself. I personally believe that action research is the best way to develop professionally and personally as it challenges your own practices and facilitate to learn from your mistakes, search for alternatives and possible solution for your problems. In this way one learns how to build upon our own strengths and how to overcome our weaknesses’.   

Researching Teachers’ Professional Competencies: A Large-Scale Study in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The large-scale joint research study gathered data from practicing primary, middle, and secondary school teachers in 12 selected districts of KP focusing on their experiences and perspectives about teachers’ professional competencies. 

The study provided a comprehensive list of teachers’ general competencies. It stimulated a productive discussion among key stakeholders in the KP and in the country, at large, on teachers’ professional competencies. It also provided a framework for a large-scale countrywide study to inquire into teachers’ professional competencies throughout Pakistan. 

This study also helped IER-PU in capacity building of its MPhil students as they were recruited and oriented as data enumerators. As remarked by Gul Nazir Khan, another MPhil student from IER-PU: ‘I think due to this [large scale] research and data collection techniques; I am able to collect data for my own research at MPhil level…’

Small-Scale Research Studies 

The following small-scale joint research studies were conducted between September 2008 and December 2009. A total of 28 faculty members from both IER-PU and AKU-IED worked together on the studies. As part of wide dissemination, these research studies were compiled into a book publication titled “Education in Pakistan: Learning from Research Partnership” which was published by the Oxford University Press.

Details of the studies are available here​.​​​

Related Links

Since one of the mandates of this collaborative research was capacity building, both the parties seem to be in a win-win situation…interestingly, at AKU-IED quantitative and qualitative research methods have been used concurrently… whereas IER-PU research studies are mainly carried out by using quantitative methods only. During this Project, I also learnt how to share research experiences with a wider community of education’.  

IER-PU faculty


Reflecting on the collaboration in research between AKU-IED and IER-PU, I learnt how to enhance self and others’ professional skills through collaborative projects. I realized that a collaborative task is quite a delicate affair. Adults develop themselves through hands-on experience under supervision of an expert. I greatly felt this while working on this Project with the team-members from the partner institute’.

Tutor at AKU-IED