More than 20 MPhil and PhD students from across Africa participated in a four-day induction programme at CREST (Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology) at Stellenbosch University, from 4 – 7 February 2015. The students are enrolled for postgraduate studies in “Monitoring and Evaluation” or “Science and Technology Studies”.
Experts from knowledge hubs across the campus – such as the library and writing lab – joined senior staff members at CREST to present a comprehensive programme designed to give the 2015 student group a head start with their postgraduate studies.
Students had the opportunity to meet all CREST academics and to become familiar with important policies and procedures at the Centre. Practical skills training ranged from how to do smart searches and avoid plagiarism to writing research proposals, adhering to ethics and working effectively with supervisors.
The hands-on training on how to use ATLAS.ti for literature reviews was a highlight for many participants. Dr Lauren Wildschut – staff member at CREST and a leading expert on this powerful qualitative data analysis software – presented this session.
“These four days have given me great confidence for the year ahead,” said Nox Moyake who is currently working as a research communication practitioner at the CSIR’s Centre for High-Performance Computing in Cape Town. “I’m passionate about science communication and hope to continue with a PhD in this field once my Master’s programme is complete.”
“I’m really glad I attended this substantive orientation programme,” said Ash Belford, a senior manager in the public service in SA who is based in Pretoria. “As mature students we often think we know about topics such as plagiarism and ethics, but it really helps to engage experts to understand the finer nuances.
Richard Lamprey, a librarian at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, agreed that the programme at CREST provided a solid foundation for the year. “I now feel ready for taking on the challenges ahead,” he said. “This programme will help us to limit mistakes and move much faster with our research projects.”
Students also had the opportunity to get to know the town, each other and some local cuisine during a “Being a Matie” campus tour and a spit braai at STIAS.
Melinda Rust, postgraduate coordinator at CREST, designed and managed the induction programme. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the postgraduate courses on offer at CREST.