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Masters and PhD Researchers Acquire Skills on Researching through AURA programme

Masters and PhD researchers got the opportunity to learn more on research in an effort to perfect their research skills, consequently implementing practical research projects. This year’s class Research 2(R2), 6 weeks course, started in February and is intended to end on March 18, 2016. This class, hosted by Strathmore Research Office, adopts a blended learning model comprising of; pre-face to face (F2F) online phase; a 3 day face-to-face workshop; and post-F2F online component.


The course engages in activities and discussions that focus on research-led approaches to research projects, deepening the understanding of researcher-led research while building skills necessary for the practical implementation of research projects.


The AURA (African Universities’ Research Approaches) Capacity Development Programme is a learning partnership led by the Institute of Development Studies in collaboration with ITOCA (Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa) and Loughborough University. This programme, which started in April 2015 and will run for three years, is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). AURA’s vision is to contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth by building the capacity of Universities, in Sub-Saharan Africa, to improve research-quality and research teaching.


The practical workshop was designed in parts focusing on: Supporting learning participants to explore how reflective practices can support research communications and informal/professional writing; what makes an effective blog post; Practical opportunities for participants to hone their critical reflection and writing skills through a writing exercise, and peer group session; Enabling participants to explore how to use social media tools and platforms to promote research communications (e.g. Twitter and Google+) this will be an interactive session in which participants will be supported to post their writing as a blog on the AURA Learning Blogger site; The final part of the workshop addresses the effective use of social media to promote research and informal communications about research related activities.


AURA is an action research program that tests the hypothesis of research quality being improved. 

“Many employers site the expense of taking graduates and making them workable employees, this shows that perhaps academic environments are too theoretical. We are trying to provide skills that promote research towards researchers,” Siobhan Duvigneau – AURA programme Manager said during the start of the R2 program. Siobhan and Prof. Mark Hepwath undertook a research four/five years ago to understand information capability by faculty members – what barriers build digital and information capabilities? The research noted that people were more used to teacher centred learning, than towards ICT learning, a factor that encouraged the birth of AURA programme.