By Bernard Appiah, 13 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel, 13 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel, 12 May 2013
By Bernard Appiah, 07 May 2013
By Barbara Gastel, 06 May 2013
By Ravi Murugesan | 28 March 2012
Last week, I facilitated an AuthorAID workshop in Lusaka, Zambia. It was a typical AuthorAID workshop with two parts: one on research writing skills and the other on teaching research writing.
During the 3-day research writing workshop, we covered topics such as approaching a writing project, publishing a journal article, and writing the different sections of a paper. About 25 scientific researchers from a few public universities in Zambia attended the workshop. Most were from The University of Zambia (UNZA).
The lectures turned out to be discussions because the participants had many questions and comments. The co-facilitator at the workshop, Dr Alasford Ngwengwe, capably answered questions related to statistics, which is often a part of reporting research. In a session on finding published research, Ms Francina Makondo, a librarian at UNZA, spoke about how researchers in Zambia could access the e-resources available through PERii (a programme run by INASP, AuthorAID's parent organisation).
Some participants had already published papers in journals, and the rest benefited by hearing their views. We spoke a lot about authorship and peer review, and I found it helpful to recall some chapters in the Science Editors’ Handbook published by the European Association of Science Editors. This is an excellent resource for teachers of research communication.
For group work, I categorised the participants according to their subject areas. There were five groups: two groups had researchers working in the agricultural sciences, and each of the remaining groups had researchers from the health sciences, animal sciences, and physical sciences. During the group activities, the members discussed the lectures, shared their experiences, and made presentations to the entire class.
After the research writing workshop, there was a 1-day train-the-trainers workshop on teaching research writing. We spoke about teaching techniques and how to organise AuthorAID workshops. The participants then prepared plans for workshops they might conduct in their institutions.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Zambia, and I was inspired by the motivated researchers I met there. But I left with some sadness because I didn’t see one of the most famous attractions in the country: Victoria Falls. I hope to visit Zambia again to see the falls and perhaps facilitate another workshop.