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Applied Training in Research Writing and Publication Given

The staff of the  Policy Studies Institute (PSI) received a full-day training on writing and publishing research papers on April 28, 2023, at the premises of PSI. This training is significant as it underscores the importance of continuing education for the researchers.

H.E. Professor Beyene Petros, Director General of the Policy Studies Institute, said in his opening remarks that PSI is a leading public policy research Institute in the country that studies a wide range of social, economic, and political issues. Prof. Beyene said that PSI plays an important role in public policy research. Prof. Beyene explained that the goal of Applied Research Writing and Publishing Training is to help researchers and professionals improve their writing skills and produce high-quality research papers that meet the standards of academic journals and other publications. The training program is designed to help researchers effectively communicate their research findings to a broader audience, including policymakers, funding agencies, and other stakeholders.

 

Prof. Beyene added that applied training in research writing and publishing means a hands-on training program that provides researchers with the necessary skills and knowledge to write high-quality research papers and effectively communicate their findings to a broader audience. The training program is designed to cover all stages of the research process, from title formulation, research design, and methodology, to manuscript preparation and submission. In conclusion, Prof. Beyene explained that the day's training is conducted by experienced professionals in the field of research writing and publishing, and provides practical guidance and support to participants.

Dr. Girum Abebe, the senior economist at the World Bank,Ethiopia began the presentation of the training. He explained that research writing and publishing is a process of conducting research and  disseminating the results to others in written form.

Dr. Girum explained the concept of scientific writing and publishing. He discussed the motivation behind writing scientific papers and the art of deciding what should and should not be published, as well as parting thoughts. He emphasized that a researcher should not write like a journalist. He must present everything in an evidential manner. Dr. Girum said that there is no substitute for "learning by doing" and that the best way to learn about scientific writing and publishing is to immerse oneself in writing and publishing. The more researchers write and practice, the greater they gain. He said researchers often keep in their mind what editors want. He pointed out that research methods are currently being updated and that researchers should follow the latest developments in frontier methodology and review the relevant literature.

Then he explained how to design a manuscript title. He said that the title is the gateway to a research paper and should reflect the main idea/goal of the paper, the purpose of the paper, the empirical strategy and methodology used, and the results obtained. It should be directly related to the content of the research paper.

He mentioned that the abstract of a manuscript should include the research question, the empirical approach of the work, and the main results. He said, "The abstract is the window to a research work". he underscored it is better not to mention theory, methodology, data, background literature, and research design in the abstract. He added, "In empirical research, it is unusual to try new methods" He advised researchers "to put their research question at the beginning of the abstract and highlight the empirical approach, key findings, striking results and citable estimates, and empirical or theoretical innovations," He told researchers to mention what is new in the study, either the data or the methodology, and then briefly present the implications and interpretations of the results in the abstract.

He then discussed how to review related literature and how to frame the introduction, methodology, results and conclusion, and reference of a study. He added that researchers should take plenty of time when writing the introduction. The introduction of a manuscript should give an overview of the motivation of the study. He added that the sources of research motivation can be many reasons and that readers are often not motivated by a unique context. He added that the introduction should include the research questions, the results and why the results are important, the robustness of the results, the implications, and the roadmap of the manuscript.

Dr. Girum said that if researchers write in a very narrow context for global readers, the selling point of their manuscripts for the journal will be low and the chance of publication may be slim. He explained that when describing the results in the introduction, it is better to link the results to other studies; he said this increases the value of the paper. He emphasized researchers cite other related studies and the contributions of their study in the introduction part.

He also noted that the researcher's new ideas should not come at the end of the study. The conclusion should include a summary of key findings, policy implications, and a bit of recommendation. He discussed the whole process of publication which involves several phases, including research design, data collection, and analysis, writing, and publication. Dr. Girum pointed out that all research has limitations, and researchers can discuss limitations related to internal validity and data-related issues. He said that researchers should place their research findings in the broader research context, like a bookshelf where a particular book is put in a particular category.

When writing conclusions, researchers should summarize key findings, be precise, and not introduce new ideas. Dr. Girum discussed the impact factors of journals and journal selection.

Then, Prof. Beyene, the Director General of PSI and a distinguished academic shared with the researchers his experience of publishing in the old days. Prof. Beyene reminded the researchers how difficult publishing was in the old days. He added that publishing manuscripts was a relatively slow and lengthy process.

In his field, he said, hypothesis testing was the first point of any research paper. He also recalled the technological changes in the history of publishing from the past to the present. Most notes were taken on index cards, and manuscripts were typed on typewriters, which could be time-consuming and error-prone. Corrections and revisions had to be made manually, which could be time-consuming and sometimes resulted in unclean and illegible manuscripts.

Prof. Beyene emphasized that each researcher should show his or her work to others to improve the quality of the work. Prof. Beyene added that each researcher needed to improve his or her English language skills. Prof. Beyene said that writing and publishing research papers can be in various forms, such as academic articles, research reports, books, and conference papers. The main purpose of writing and publishing research papers is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in a particular field or discipline.

Next, Dr. Tsega Adego, a senior researcher at PSI, presented the overall process of publishing and promotion procedure at PSI. He said that writing and publishing research papers allows researchers to share their findings with others and contribute to the development of new theories, concepts, and practices. It also allows policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions based on the latest research findings. if that is so, researchers also use their publications for promotion.

In conclusion, all participants expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the trainers. They said that writing and publishing research papers are a key component of the research process, as it allows them to share their findings with a wider audience and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields.

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