Contribution to research methodology through capacity building at the World Agroforestry Centre, Rwanda

The capacity to conceptualize, plan and implement effective research is often limited. The contribution in research methodology such as experimental design, data collection, management and analysis is crucial for improving research quality and delivery of high quality research results to the end users. Scientists at ICRAF Rwanda deal with many types of work including project design, data management and analysis and reporting. However, they do not have enough knowledge in research methods to improve their research and there are no research methods professionals with skills and experience to help them. The overall objective of this work was to provide support to scientists, technicians and students on attachment at ICRAF Rwanda carrying out research activities which include conception and design of research, data handling and management, data analysis, interpretation and reporting. To achieve this objective, many activities were planned including consultancy with researchers. Direct communication with scientists enhanced effective communication required for any research method professional. Previous research done at ICRAF Rwanda generated data; a study on how data were analyzed and the strategies for improving data quality, organization, analysis and archiving had been done. Proposal writing is a vital component of the research. Two proposals have been developed. One on improving household nutrition and income by enhanced production, processing, marketing and consumption of tropical and temperate fruits in Rwanda, another one on Evergreen Agriculture in Africa for Improved Food Security Livelihoods and Environmental Resilience in Eastern and Southern Africa. Two questionnaires were reviewed and two others developed. The reviewed questionnaires were on the current status of marketing of processed pineapple products by small and medium-scale processors in Rwanda and on Evergreen Agriculture project which was used to capture the baseline information regarding the current socio-economic and land use status in Bugesera district. Data were collected, checked for quality, cleaned, organized into either metadata or data files analyzed and archived. The aspects transforming and modeling data with the goal of highlighting useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision making in data analysis have been taken into consideration in all data analyzed. To participate in research conceptualization and identify a research gap/idea, two studies were been conducted. The aim was to assess the factors affecting the quality of reporting and publishing of research findings in ICRAF Rwanda, Institute of Agricultural Research of Rwanda (ISAR) and Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST), and to assess factors determining fruits production in Rwanda. The results showed that conditions for publications in international journals are hard because publishing needs hard work, time and concentration and high quality of research and innovation. Factors limiting publication in ICRAF Rwanda, ISAR and IRST are: few journals especially regional and sub-regional ones in some research areas, lack of research facilities and materials which lead to unreliable data, lack of knowledge and skills in paper writing, lack of incentive for those who publish, administration tasks for scientists, data analysis difficulties, lack of information on the journals, lack of laboratories and research funds and lack of mentorship of young scientists. The limiting factors in fruit production are pests and diseases, lack of inputs (improved planting materials, fertilizers, pesticides etc), lack of land or limited land, lack of training on fruit production, family size and literacy level. Some farmers mentioned also that thieves are among factors limiting fruits production as well as the distance between home and farms and lack of skills in fruit tree grafting.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Dr. Elijah Miinda Ateka, JKUAT, Ms. Caroline Wanja Mugo, and Dr. Athanase Mukuralinda, World Agroforestry Centre
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