Workshop in Shroud, UK

Workshops on data analysis and academic writing

28 August 2015
Michelle Moore

STRIVE teams took part in two kinds of small-group workshops: one on data analysis and the other on writing papers for publication. What worked? Participants liked that the process ‘demystified the writing process’.

One of the strengths of the STRIVE consortium is learning from each other across partner organisations. Face-to-face time, while expensive, can be invaluable.

Analysing data

For a busy week of the UK summer (29 June-3 July 2015) in Stroud, researchers from STRIVE partners the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) met to analyse quantitative data primarily from the Samata study but also from the Samvedana Plus study. 

For me, the data analysis workshop at Stroud mainly helped to identify the possible predictors and confounders of the anticipated outcomes for my proposed paper. It also helped to identify the statistical methodologies that can be used for the data analysis for the proposed paper. 

Prakash Javalkar, KHPT 

Writing for publication

In a parallel endeavour, Wits Reproductive Health Institute (Wits RHI) is leading a workshop series on paper writing. The series aims to:

  • support current writers who are publishing to increase the quality and quantity of output
  • encourage early career investigators to start publishing
  • increase cross-institute collaborations on publications
  • share a systematic set of steps to enable partners to duplicate the process in the future

The process began virtually, with three preparatory webinars led by Dr Jonathan Stadler. Next, writers paired with mentors from all partners gathered on the last day of the 2015 STRIVE Annual Meeting in Oxford. Most recently, a week-long workshop took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, 20-24 July 2015, focused on writing up qualitative research. 

I had a great opportunity to learn about ‘scientific writing’ through the STRIVE writing workshop. It has given me ample opportunity to understand the steps and procedures involved in writing scientific papers for peer reviewed journals: developing a problem statement, preparing a concept note and data analysis and interpretation. Following the webinars, a one-day workshop in Oxford, UK by Dr Jonathan Stadler greatly helped to clarify our concerns and provided an opportunity to share our thoughts. This whole workshop was mainly focused on qualitative studies and so has also given me an opportunity to meet and interact with qualitative researchers from all over the world. 

Satyanarayana Ramanaik, Senior Research Manager, KHPT

Formal input was provided by Matthew Chersich, Dr Fiona Scorgie and Vivian Black, as well as from STRIVE’s Jonathan Stadler, Dr Sinead Delany-Moretlwe, Dr Gerry Mshana and Dr Kirsten Stoebenau.

Manuscript workshop in Joburg

Participants appreciated the dedicated time for writing, the knowledge of the facilitators and the aspect of mentorship, and noted that the workshop ‘demystified the writing process’.

I found the STRIVE writing workshop extremely informative and useful. The information on the slides, the lectures, the structure of the workshop and mentorship that we received were all excellent. 

Meghna Ranganathan, Research Fellow in Social Protection, Economic Empowerment and Health, LSHTM

Next steps

  • Writing continues with the benefit of ongoing mentorship relationships via email.
  • A follow-up to the Johannesburg workshop is planned, where writing pairs will integrate feedback from co-authors and finalise papers.
  • The writing series process will be duplicated in India in the coming months.
  • Data analysis will continue in pairs and small groups.