Equipping postgraduate students with the skills and knowledge crucial for the production of quality research was the aim of the recent College of Law and Management Studies STATA workshop.
The five-day workshop – championed by the College’s Acting Dean of Research, Professor Harold Ngalawa – was attended by 60 master’s and doctoral candidates undertaking quantitative data analysis in their dissertations and theses. It was funded by the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) which aims to promote UKZN’s transformation imperatives by enabling high levels of student success, establishing an academic pipeline that allows for the transformation of the academic workforce, providing quality research and teaching development opportunities for all academic staff, and developing new academic programmes that are strategically aligned with national priorities.
‘STATA is a general purpose statistical software mostly used in research, especially in the fields of economics, finance, sociology, management, accounting, political science and biomedicine. We are very happy that so many students attended as it highlighted the need and benefit of such interventions. We are looking forward to these students’ contribution towards increasing the College’s research output,’ said Ngalawa.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr Claire Vermaak (co-ordinator of the Honours programme in Economics) and Dr Colette Muller (academic leader for Applied Economics) in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance. They trained the postgraduate students on the use of STATA software for data management, statistical analysis, graphics, simulations, regressions, and custom programming.
Master’s in Finance candidate, Mr Perfect Mkhize, said before attending the workshop, he had not heard about STATA but now he cannot wait to use it.
‘Since I was not familiar with the software, I was very apprehensive that it would be hard to understand. However, the way the facilitators simplified it and went to great lengths to familiarise us with it and its use, analysing my current and future research will be easier,’ he said.
Master’s in Management candidate, Ms Ntandoyenkosi Khoza, said that the workshop was eye opening as data analysis is not her strong point.
‘While my research is qualitative, there are areas in which I have to analyse data and I have been struggling, participating in this workshop has really taught me a lot and now I am looking forward to dealing with statistics,’ she said.
Words and photographs: Thandiwe Jumo