Writing workshop to develop research capacity for USP staff


Professor of International Education at the Institute of Education, University College London, UK Tristan McCowan led a two-day Research Writing Workshop – a Capacity Building initiative for staff of The University of the South Pacific (USP).

Professor McCowan is also the International Principal Investigator of the Climate-U Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate Research Project, for which USP serves as the Institutional Research Lead in Fiji.

25 USP staff registered for the workshop, and the participants were from multi-disciplinary areas.

The workshop’s goal was to develop research capacity among the Climate-U Research Project Research Assistants and the School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE) staff completing Postgraduate studies and further improving the inter-institutional collaboration to establish networks between staff and institutions.

According to Professor McCowan, academics worldwide are required to publish internationally; therefore, it is critical to support national and local publications while also making one’s work accessible to a global audience.

“The global publishing industry can be difficult to navigate, particularly for early-career researchers. For people who are pursuing or have recently completed their PhDs, it can be difficult because journals can have quite mysterious cultures, practices, and protocols,” he stated.

“This workshop is a useful way of gathering and looking at journal practices; how to tailor one’s PhD thesis into a journal article, how to navigate the submission cycle, how to submit, how to respond to reviewer comments, to maximise one’s chances of having work accepted by journals, and disseminating to a broader audience.”

Deputy Head (Learning, Teaching and Quality) of SPACE, Dr Rosiana Lagi, said the workshop would enhance their research writing skills and produce high quality, relevant research papers that can influence policy and practice in their areas of expertise.

Dr Lagi is also the Research Team Lead for Fiji’s Climate-U Research Project, with the University of Fiji and Fiji National University being research sites and Research Partners.​

She said workshops of similar nature would be organised in future.

“We have another International Investigator who specialises in Qualitative Research coming in June, and we would like her to conduct something similar. However, the three universities (USP, FNU and UoF) have agreed on having regular workshops like this nationally to build research capacity in the three universities as well as raise their research quality & reputation,” Dr Lagi added.

According to one of the participants and Teaching Assistant at SPACE, Ashish Kumar, the workshop helped him learn the fundamentals of writing a good article including writing a thesis and articles for publication.

Another participant, Jiokapeci Qiolevu, mentioned it was an exciting opportunity for her as she always looked forward to attending such workshops since she was a Postgraduate student. Ms Qiolevu, a Teaching Assistant at USP, stated the workshop has been helpful and would aid her when she plans to publish journal articles in future.

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