The College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) in collaboration with the Knowledge Management Office (KMO) and CPAf Graduate Students’ Association hosted the Virtual Field Study, Thesis, and Dissertation Bootcamp 2021 on Aug. 27-30 via Zoom. The 4-day event gathered a total of 89 graduate students who are about to prepare their proposals or about to finish their research work.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Rowena DT. Baconguis, CPAf dean and professor, encouraged the participants to continue working on their papers and to communicate with their respective advisers and advisory committee. Dean Baconguis said that “the only way to come up with a very good manuscript is to dive into the act… Start it and continue writing.” She hoped that the bootcamp will provide enlightenment to the students despite the difficulties of gathering data due to the pandemic.
According to Dr. Miriam Caryl DL. Carada, assistant professor at the CPAf-Institute for Governance and Rural Development (IGRD), the bootcamp was opened to other UPLB graduate students who might need help in coping with the challenges of writing their research manuscript. Out of the 89 participants, 31 were graduate students from the School for Environmental Science and Management (5), College of Agriculture and Food Science (9), College of Arts and Sciences (7), College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology (6), College of Economics and Management (2), and College of Forestry and Natural Resources (2). Dr. Carada, the event’s chair, presented the objectives of the bootcamp.
Lectures on the first day were provided by Asst. Prof. Mayo Grace C. Amit and CPAf’s Librarian Mary Ruth O. Rasco. aProf. Amit discussed how to construct research questions and study objectives. Meanwhile, Rasco talked about literature search strategies, UPLB’s online resources, and CPAf’s Library collection and services. She also demonstrated how to use the library’s online catalog (iLib) and OpenAthens to access the library resources remotely. Breakout sessions occurred after the lectures to enable CPAf students to consult with their adviser.
The second day of the bootcamp featured Dr. Evelie P. Serrano, IGRD director, and Dr. Baconguis. Dr. Serrano’s lecture focused on literature review and the principles of clear and effective research writing. On the other hand, Dr. Baconguis’ presentation dealt with research framework development. She emphasized the difference between doing a master’s thesis and a dissertation for PhD students. According to her, a master’s thesis shows the students’ mastery of their chosen field, while a dissertation challenges the PhD student to contribute new knowledge.
The third day started with breakout sessions and followed by the discussion on writing the methodology by Dr. Maria Ana Quimbo, CPAf professor. In her lecture, she emphasized the important contents of the methodology section, may it be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research. Another speaker, Dr. Almira G. Magcawas, a recent PhD Community Development graduate and an assistant professor of Cavite State University, gave a lecture on data analysis and interpretation.
Aside from Dr. Magcawas, three more recent graduates of CPAf were invited to share their expertise and experiences during the fourth day of the program. They were Jenny Rose D. Manalo (MS Development Management and Governance), Dr. Paul Jersey G. Leron (PhD Development Studies), and Dr. Tessa Mar I. Espino (PhD Agricultural Education).
Manalo, a communication officer and policy researcher of the Philippine Senate, together with Dr. Leron, a senior science research specialist of DOST-PCAARRD, gave their insights on writing the summary, conclusions, and recommendations for master’s and doctoral degree students, respectively. Dr. Espino, on the other hand, shared her experience on how she coped with the struggles of writing a dissertation. Finally, Dr. Monica Walet, a new IGRD faculty, demonstrated how to pause, relax, and remind everyone that self-care is essential.
After the lectures, Prof. Wilfredo B. Carada, a retired professor of CPAf, gave a motivational talk on how graduate students can finish their writing journey. Samantha Geraldine G. De los Santos, KMO head, gave a recap of what had transpired from the first day to the last, emphasizing the helpfulness of the event to the participants.
The 2021 writing bootcamp is the fourth activity offered by CPAf to graduate students.