Alumni from previous Summer and Winter Schools share their experiences: The ADA has been offering high-impact capacity development intervention from 2010. To date we have hosted more than 2000 prospective and current Doctoral candidates and their supervisors from 37 countries – mostly Africa, but with an interesting mix of candidates from all over the world. We pride ourselves in our ability to offer week-long training opportunities that can make an impact on our attendees, but don’t just take our word for it, here is some feedback from our recent delegates:
Ms Mpala Pilula, Lecturer at the School Mathematics and Natural Science, Copperbelt University, Zambia
Mpala decided to pursue her PhD in Biomedical Sciences after a 'long break' since finishing her Master's degree. The 2017 Summer School was a timely intervention for Mpala who had the following feedback after attending Preparing for the PhD and Biomedical Research Methods: "I made wonderful friends from all over Africa! The high quality of the courses and presenters really stood out for me, it was truly a world-class experience, and a great way to launch a PhD. I received a thorough update on molecular methods in Biomedical Sciences, and was able to make the necessary changes to update my proposal. The workshops, from start to finish, were well organized and a great experience. Our stay at the Black Horse and the view of the Stellenbosch mountains from our rooms was absolutely marvellous. It is an experience I will treasure for a long time to come." [Summer School 2017]
Mr Romanus Shivoro, External Relations Coordinator, University of Namibia
"This was a timely opportunity in my journey to finalize my doctoral research. I particularly found the course on publishing from a PhD an enabler to submit research papers to journals of international repute. The skills obtained from the course are a lifetime tool for writing research papers. Being at ADA provided me an opportunity to access journal volumes containing latest research papers relevant to my research topics to an extend that I drafted a paper solely on these new resources. I highly appreciate that ADA provided an expert in publishing from a PhD to review my draft papers even when the actual course has ended. Accommodation and transportation arrangements were excellent. Everything went very well and I accomplished way beyond I have anticipated." [Summer School 2017]
Ms Joy M. Kibarabara, PhD Candidate (Media), Daystar University, Kenya
"As a doctoral student studying in Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s not every day that an opportunity to experience learning at a renowned research university in Africa comes along. More often than not, the African doctoral student is forced to grapple with various challenges such as acquiring sufficient financial resources as well as limited structural resources ranging from limited or no access to academic journals, and seasoned scholars, among others. I was particularly excited about the two courses I’ve selected: Preparing for the PhD, as well as Designing a mixed methods research study. These courses are extremely timely for me, and will equip me with much needed theoretical and practical skills in readiness to write a well-researched and thorough dissertation." [Summer School 2017]
Ms Marie-Louie van Heukelum, PhD Candidate, Stellenbosch University
"The Summer School was an absolutely invaluable experience, one that I would highly recommend to all doctoral students. The courses are well structured, relevant and address the needs of all students, regardless of the discipline in question. I feel that have learnt skills and acquired knowledge that will assist me, not only in the early stages of my PhD, but also at a later stage in the process. The programme “Preparing for the PhD” was the first time that I truly felt I knew exactly what was expected of me, not only at a proposal writing stage, but at every step along the way, right up to completion, submission, examination and even in terms of publishing.
Apart from the academic aspects of the Summer School, the entire experience is a wonderful platform to network with other academics and researchers, and creates an environment in which we felt a sense of belonging - something which is so often lacking in academia and something which many of my colleagues and myself wish to change by keeping in contact and supporting one another where we can.
At the end of my two weeks at the ADA Summer School, I could feel my proposal and research question had been refined and mapped out in a way that I could not have imagined possible at this stage of the process. The ADA Summer School is an amazing initiative, one that any doctoral student given the chance should try to attend!" [Summer School 2017]
Dr JP Bosman, Head: Centre for Learning Technologies at Stellenbosch University and co-presenter for The Digital Scholar
Dr Bosman gave us the following feedback as a presenter for the ADA Summer School 2017: "I appreciated the care with which our SU-KU Leuven collaborative course, The Digital Scholar, was taken up and supported by the ADA! From inception to delivery we felt guided and also challenged to provide a curriculum and learning experience that will add value to participants in the ADA Summer School. My experience working with my KU Leuven colleague, Prof Wim van Petegem, to design and develop the course was an enriching professional learning experience and shows how such an inter-university collaboration can have very positive outcomes for all involved. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the excellent offering of the ADA Summer School." [Summer School 2017]
Mr Willy Turyahikayo, Lecturer and PhD candidate, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
"Although I had used some SPSS before, this training made me realize that I did not know SPSS at all. Data analysis has always been one of challenges in as far as publishing is concerned. As for my PhD research, I absolutely believe that data analysis and interpretation will not be one of my huddles. In fact, I have started being a "consultant" in SPSS to my colleagues. Interestingly, the facilitators gave us training manuals for SPSS which are simple and have all the procedures for data analysis in SPSS. Indeed I call these materials my bible for SPSS.
During breaks I would interact with participants in other courses such as qualitative data analysis. From the discussions, all courses were equally excellent. In fact, I will not rest until I have attended the qualitative data analysis training at the ADA. Finally, I urge all those people interested in publishing and all PhD students to apply for summer and winter schools at ADA for training. I thank the entire team ADA for the opportunity given to me. My life will never be the same again!!!" [Summer School 2017]
Ms Selma Uushona, Lecturer: School of Nursing and Public Health, University of Namibia
Selma attended Preparing for the PhD and Designing a Mixed Methods Research Study. Her feedback includes the following comments: "The courses offered empowerment to students by helping us to identify and bridge the knowledge gap in our research. I would like to recommend the ADA doctoral schools to all neophytes, specifically to attend before they pursue their PhD journeys. I only come to realise the importance of early integration of theory into practice after attending these courses.
It was really worthwhile to stay two weeks in Stellenbosch. I also learned that peer review and networking is rewarding and reduce the pain and fear of the PhD voyage. I am motivated to come and attend other courses in the future, most importantly, doctoral supervision, how to write and publishing an article, SPSS and ATLAS.ti for data analysis. Thank you Corina and the ADA Team for the job well done." [Summer School 2017]
Ms Kopano Rebaona Dube, Biomedical Research, Stellenbosch University
"My time at the ADA was phenomenal. Apart from the friendly people it was amazing to see the time and effort that the presenter put into the course [Biomedical Research Methods]. This was clearly seen through the high quality of knowledge he shared and how he encouraged critical and creative thinking. Everything was carefully thought out and it was so inspiring. It actually encourages one to aspire to be more and to be curious because there is so much to learn. The course that I attended definitely helped me to see beyond my scientific niche, to remain curious and informed about what is out there and to see how it can be integrated into my research. I have learnt two things from the course I attended:
The beauty of science is that "it always seems impossible until its done" once what is impossible is done it makes so much possible!
There is always a better way to do anything the key to finding "that better way" is to use what is available as a stepping stone."
[Summer School 2017]
Richard Shambare, Lecturer, Tshwane University of Technology, RSA
Richard is a lecturer in Management at the Tshwane University of Technology and holds a DTech (Business Administration), specialising in the marketing of banking technologies.
He attended both the Summer and Winter Schools in 2012 and 2013, completing the courses in: Epistemologies, Multiple Regression Analysis, Advanced ATLAS.ti and the Certificate course for doctoral supervisors. About these courses Richard says: "In particular, Prof Kittel's class helped me understand the concepts of multivariate analysis. The course was presented in a very professional way and more importantly, the resources, facilities were fantastic. For me, having to learn the various statistical analysis programmes (e.g. STATA and R) was very enlightening. The course was presented at the time I began data analysis for my doctoral thesis. All questions, queries, and advice I needed for my analysis I got at the ADA. Thank you ADA."
Since then, he convinced his colleagues and HOD to attend ADA courses as well. "The atmosphere of having other doctoral students from different parts of the world also provides for a good networking and support system for one's studies, " Richard says.
Teresa Sesay, Senior Specialist/In Service Team Leader, Family Health International, Monrovia, Liberia
Teresa holds a MEd (with distinction) and attended four ADA courses during three schools in 2011/2012.
Teresa says: "For my research, these courses gave me a clearer understanding of what research was all about. They laid the foundation for me; now I can do research knowing the steps I should take. Professionally I have become a point of reference in terms of research, doing evaluations, baseline studies and other methods I have acquired through the ADA. Now I know that I do not have to read volumes of literature aimlessly because i am doing a literature review; I am able to do focus search in an organised manner thus saving time. NOW I enjoy research; before it seemed boring and fearful - NOT any more."
"Research involves scientific writing which has precision as its hallmark; to get this right is to go to an institution that has the manpower and expertise to show and lead you into research with ease - that is what ADA is doing." Teresa concludes.
Brigitte Smit, Professor in Education Management, UNISA
Brigitte is a professor in Education Management, NRF rated, and works at the Department of Educational Leadership and Management, College of Education, UNISA. She taught beginners ATLAS.ti courses on two occasions at the ADA and also attended the Advanced ATLAS.ti course which was presented during the Winter School of 2012. This course was the first of its kind on the African continent and was presented by Susanne Friese (PhD) from QuarRC.
"Every learning opportunity adds value to my professional growth" Brigitte says. She highly recommends ADA courses because they are very intense, have excellent presenters and provide a platform to establish scholarly networks.
Olugbenga Kolawole Oladele, Professional Accountant and Lecturer at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna
Olugbenga holds the following qualifications: BSc (Honours) Accounting, MSc (Accounting and Finance), MBA and PhD. He attended ADA courses in SPSS and Multiple Regression Analysis during two consecutive years, saying that the courses completely eliminated his ignorance about data analysis. The course multiple regression analysis helped him to complete his PhD data analysis while the SPSS completely transformed his data analysis skills. In 2013, he attended the first Certificate course for doctoral supervisors.
Olugbenga gladly recommends the ADA programme and has been encouraging the ADA to present similar programmes in Nigeria.
Len Hansen, Research Development and Support, Stellenbosch University
Len Hansen (PhD Theology) is the Research Development and Support officer at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University. During the Winter School in 2012, he completed the Introductory ATLAS.ti course and the course on Interview Techniques and Analyses.
About the courses he says: "As a computer-based data interpreting programme and a method of data collection, both ATLAS.ti and interviewing are often used by students in certain disciplines in our faculty, but not in the one I specialise in. I therefore needed a short and intensive course in both of these. After a one-week course at the ADA in each, I was able to assist and train our students in the use of a crucial data gathering method/skill as well as a data interpretation method. I am looking forward to attend the Summer School next year in order to learn some further research skills from the ADA."
"The ADA gives students and researchers at different levels, from novices to established researchers, the opportunity to learn necessary research skills in a fast and effective way. Whether one needs to learn these skills without any prior knowledge, hone or add to one's existing research skills, the ADA does this by way of practical courses presented by some of the leading experts in the field of research."
Buddhika Gamage, Lecturer, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
Buddhika is a lecturer in Economics at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka, holds MA (Economics) and is currently completing his MPhil (Economics). He was one of the first five Sri Lankan delegates to attend ADA courses during the Summer School in 2012.
Buddhika did both the beginners and advanced SPSS courses to assist him in his MPhil research on "Entrepreneurship Orientation towards business performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises: Reference to Hambanthota District, Sri Lanka."
He says the courses helped him immensely to expand his knowledge on research methods in the social sciences. "The teaching materials, techniques of teaching, course co-ordination and assessments method are excellent," Buddhika's excited response comes from Sri Lanka.
Monika Rózalska, PhD candidate
Monika Rózalska is a doctoral student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies, Jagiellonian University in Poland.
During the African Doctoral Academy's Winter School in 2012, Monika attended two courses: Interview Techniques and Analyses and Introduction to Survey Methods and Sampling. Monika recommends the ADA to any PhD candidates and more advanced academics who want to refresh their knowledge both in qualitative and quantitative research methods. In her opinion, the courses at the ADA maintain a high standard and provide an opportunity to share experiences with other delegates.
Uwe Hermann, Lecturer and PhD candidate
Uwe holds a MTech in Tourism and Hospitality Management and is a lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology. He is currently enrolled for a PhD in Tourism Management at North West University. He completed three courses in SPSS and ATLAS.ti during 2011/2012.
"These courses assisted me tremendously in conducting independent research. The Introduction to SPSS course assisted me in doing my own basic data analysis and it made me comfortable and confident to self study more advanced data analysis techniques. I am now able to analyse articles much better than before and during the six months after the course two of my articles were accepted at accredited journals with data that I analysed myself using SPSS. The ATLAS.ti course opened my eyes to the world of qualitative data analysis. The programme also assisted me greatly in my literature review for my PhD. I can't wait to work with it once I am done with my fieldwork."