With many new Universities being established in Malawi, one of the key challenges relates to research. Most are well aware that, to be worthy of the name, a University has to be active in research as well as in teaching. A university is not supposed to be just recycling knowledge that already exists. It is supposed to be creating new knowledge. The way to do this is by being active in research.
However, it is one thing to aspire to be a research-active institution. It is another to become one. A consistent theme in my encounters with budding Universities in Malawi is that they are conscious that they have the aspiration but they do yet have the reality. There seem to be many factors that inhibit success with research. How can dream be turned into reality?
This is essentially the question I have been asked to address when I visit the University of Livingstonia next week. So my homework is to work on nine questions that they have posed and to have some answers by the time I arrive in Mzuzu next weekend:
- How to become active in research
- How to identify research topic(s)
- How to form a research plan
- How to do research at low cost
- How to enable research and teaching to nourish one another
- How to build collaborative research
- How to get from inception to completion
- How to get research published
- How to share responsibility in joint/co-authored projects
Not sure if I know all the answers but the first step is always to ask the right questions.