Session 1: Prof Rizwan Qaiser

Historical Research

The second day of workshop started with the insightful lecture by the Head of Department of History and Culture, Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Rizwan Qaiser on Historical Research. Talking about the basics of History, he described it as a study of society which is an ever expanding discipline. He enlightened the participants on how ‘History’ differs from ‘story’ on the basis of facts using E.H.Carr’s work What is History. Prof. Qaiser emphasized that the job of a historian is not mere citing facts but that one’s interpretation plays an important role too. Citing different examples, he pictured how a single incident or development can have various interpretations depending upon the orientation, intellectual training and ideology of a historian.

Highlighting the current political scenario, he said the change of any regime affects history writing unlike subjects such as Sociology, Chemistry etc. that remain indifferent to any political change. According to him history had forever been a site for contest and struggle for the elites and power-mongers.  He cited the example of government’s recent decision to change the name of Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road. He also argued that the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was not as communal as popularly perceived and said the Historians often tend to overlook major issues to support their perceived biasness. Taking help of his previous example of Aurangzeb, he mentions how history remembers the Mughul emperor’s decision to impose Jazia tax on Hindus but did not highlight that he simultaneously slapped taxes on Muslims as well.

 Suggesting the researchers to be objective during their work, he asked them to desist from generalising based on their individual experience, which is a trap researchers often tend fall prey to and they must consider all aspects and facts before making any assumptions. An objective and biasfree mindset is the most favoured essentials for a historian and a researcher equally.

Session 2: Dr. Soumendra Patnaik

Emerging trends of Qualitative method for Social Sciences


Dr. Soumendra Patnaik delivered a very informative lecture on the topic ‘Emerging trends of Qualitative Method for Social Sciences’. He began with the argument that research is a process of self discovery. It is not something that can be pursued in physical spaces like library, but in a sphere actively and critically engaging with the self. Research answers the question of how to comprehend the phenomena of self and other. He emphasized on inter-disciplinarily of social sciences. Since knowledge is a unified field, one should not restrict to disciplinary cages but transform it.

Before discussing the emerging trends in qualitative methods, he explained a basic difference between techniques, methods and methodology. Out of the various traditions in qualitative research he focused on ethnography as a method. He argued that the nature and form of ethnography since the days of colonial ethnography has changed now. It has marked a transition from ethnography as a material or description of all aspects of life to ethnography as a powerful method. He differentiated it with field work method which is used as a synonym to ethnographic method. He cautioned participants that going to field should not be seen as ethnographic work. Fieldwork is predominantly based on survey method whereas ethnography is an indepth study of social phenomena from close proximity in its natural setting using participant observation. The central character of ethnographic method is that it relies on emic point of view.

He discussed several instances, studies and experiences to explain the operationalisation of ethnography and the challenges one may face. By way of conclusion he discussed the social location of researcher as one of the limitations of any ethnographic work. It is because of this limitation that the concept of ‘reflexivity’ becomes significant.

Session 3: Prof. Ilyas Husain

How to prepare a research proposal?

Prof. Iliyas Husain, Professor and Dean in the Faculty of Education, Jamia Millia lectured on ‘How to Prepare a Research Proposal’. He said for a quality research firstly one has to decide how to present the work. The first and foremost step in the presentation of the research work is identification of the problem using various sources.  After that the topic should be evaluated by the researcher on the lines of duration, feasibility, availability of literature etc. Then comes the issue of title for the research. He said that the research problem needs to be introduced at this step. Objective of the study is very essential to be defined with precision and clarity. Literature review is one of the prominent sources of formulation of research problem. He gave emphasis on hypothesis of research proposal. To test the hypothesis one can use either qualitative or quantitative method and a mixture of both could also be used. If one is using quantitative method it is important to outline the research tools beforehand. He explained various research tools.

Session 4: Dr. Manoj K. Diwakar

Scale of Measurement & Introduction to SPSS

Dr. Manoj Kumar Diwaker, the Statistician in Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia enlightened the participants with the role, usage and functionalities of the various digital softwares that assist researchers in giving a final shape to their work. He discussed the types of data. Keeping in mind that most of the participants are afresh to research methodology procedures, he familiarized the participants with the various softwares that are often used in research works like excel, SPSS, SAS etc. He however primarily concentrated in teaching the operations of SPSS which he believes is more user friendly in nature and delivers higher accuracy. He taught and showed the basic functionalities of the scaling software which included a training assignment. At the end he emphasized the importance of accurate measurement as the most fundamental aspect of any research.

Text : Dr. Kusum Lata