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Third Annual Seminar on Research in Social Sciences

  • Monk Prayogshala 4116, 4th Floor, C Wing, Oberoi Garden Estates Near Chandivali Studios, Powai, Mumbai 400072 Maharashtra, India (map)

What is the Seminar about?

This day-long seminar will showcase undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral research in the social sciences in India. It will engage with wide-ranging contemporary topics in the social sciences and provide a forum for students from various institutions to engage in exchange of academic knowledge. Research topics in past seminars have ranged from social exclusion in cemeteries, to use of psychedelic therapy in treating substance abuse, among others.

To see the schedule and know more, click here.

Objectives of the Seminar

  • Encouraging high quality research as an important part of the undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral curricula in India.
  • Providing an opportunity to students from various disciplines within the social sciences to present their research.
  • Engaging with topics of contemporary relevance and rigorous methods employed in social sciences research.
  • Establishing an academic forum for students of the social sciences to receive a critical review of their work.

Keynote Address

The Value of Qualitative Research: Some Reflections on Narrative Methods by Dr. (Ms.) Nishevita Jayendran (Curriculum Consultant (English), Centre for Education Innovation and Action Research (CEI&AR), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS))

Abstract

In this talk, I discuss some of the advantages of using qualitative methods in research in the social sciences. Without discounting the importance of quantitative studies, I argue for the need to actively adopt research methodologies that offer subjective, narrative and interpretative insights to studies of society. To this end, I dip into the works of theorists from varied disciplines who affirm the value of narrativisation in presenting a holistic picture of social and cultural phenomena. These theorists include Hayden White, Clifford Geertz and Mackey and Gass, among others, who have argued for the value of qualitative studies in understanding human behaviour. To reinforce my point, I describe an instance of ongoing research in English language learning at the Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), a large scale education project implemented by the Centre for Education Innovation & Action Research (CEI&AR), TISS, which has developed subject contents for students in the higher secondary in Science, Maths and English on a technology enabled platform. The CLIx English team created 40 hours of contents in Communicative English to be administered to students in semi-urban and rural schools in its four implementation states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana. The modules were designed as self-paced, student-led ones that required facilitation from, but not teaching by, the teacher. Since the project also engages in action research, observations, surveys and interviews were conducted among students to gauge learning outcomes. Our observations indicated that a survey questionnaire was insufficient to understand the process of language learning among students. Instead, there was a need for probing beyond the information provided by quantitative data to interpret a language learning process. Deriving from a discussion on this research experience, I conclude with the suggestion that an emphasis on qualitative studies is essential to retain the humanity and richness of researches that deal with human society and culture.

About the Speaker

Nishevita Jayendran, a Curriculum Consultant in English at the Centre for Education Innovation and Action Research (CEI&AR), TISS, Mumbai, is a doctoral graduate in Literature from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai. She has been involved in designing modules in communicative English and researching autonomy in language learning practice in the Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) project. She is currently designing an online course for English teachers of the higher secondary levels, on interpreting literary genres. Her research and teaching interests include representation and culture studies, comparative world literature and the postmodernist historical novel.

What can Participants expect to receive from the Seminar?

Participants can expect to hear about a wide variety of contemporary applied and empirical research in the social sciences. The papers presented at the seminar will reflect rigorous and high-quality student research in India, and this is expected to enable participants to learn more about planning and executing such research for their own theses or research projects and assignments.

Important Dates for Participants

Registration deadline: 15th November, 2017

Eligibility

  • Undergraduate students
  • Postgraduate students
  • MPhil students
  • PhD students
  • Recent graduates (within one year) are also welcome to apply

Venue  

The seminar will be held  at 4116, 4th Floor, Oberoi Garden Estates, C Wing, Off Saki Vihar Road, near Chandivali Studios, Powai, Mumbai – 400072.
Nearest stations: Kanjurmarg (Central); Andheri (Western) Saki Naka (Metro Station)
Bus routes: 319, 335