Last week was a busy one for SIRLab! A group of 9 SIRLab scholars traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to participate in a research and publication workshop at the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), as well as launch a series of new projects across the country.
The workshop, which took place at UDBS all of Monday and part of Tuesday, brought together the SIRLab scholars and more than 20 scholars from across East Africa. Monday consisted of a number of professional development sessions for all of the scholars involved, including: “Demystifying the Publication Process”; “Deconstructing the Parts of a Paper”; “Bridging Theory & Practice”; “Harnessing ‘Indigenous’ Knowledge”; “Cheat Sheet on Methods in Poverty Contexts.” These sessions were led by scholars that have editorial responsibilities with some of the top academic journals in management and entrepreneurship. Tuesday morning consisted of a “friendly review” session, during which each scholar was able to discuss one of their articles or book chapters, outline some of the areas where they would like to improve them, and obtain detailed feedback from the rest of the group.
Following lunch on Tuesday afternoon, the SIRLab scholars separated into their “research teams” and headed out to the field for three days. Prior to arriving in Tanzania, the research teams were matched with their partner organization, based on the research team’s expertise and the challenges the partner organization staff articulated. These three days in the field saw each team conducting as many interviews with as many stakeholders as possible, with the goal of obtaining a complete and accurate understanding of the organization’s challenge. For a complete list of the challenges related to the Tanzania projects, visit our Current Projects page. After completing several interviews, the teams began to develop initial solutions to pilot test with the organization. Some of these pilot tests will begin in a few weeks, given the timeline of the program involved in the project, while others will not take place for a few months.
Friday afternoon, all of the SIRLab teams made their way back to Dar es Salaam. The group spent Saturday morning at UDBS debriefing their experience over the last few days. Each team gave an informal presentation, walking through an overview of their partner organization, the program and challenge in focus, what they heard across all of their interviews, and ultimately, the direction that they hope to go (theoretically and practically) with a pilot study. The rest of the teams weighed in on the issues, asked questions, and suggested different theories or directions to consider moving forward.
Overall, the week in Tanzania was a success and a strong start for this next round of interesting and important projects. The SIRLab team looks forward to sharing more on these projects in the coming months! For the next update on all SIRLab projects and events, follow us @SIR_Lab.