BY Business a.m.
A new initiative from the Jacksonites Professional Development Series (JPDS), a group of alumni of the famous University of Nigeria Jackson School of Journalism, is targeting building top scholars from sub-Saharan Africa and unleashing them to the world.
Chinedu Mba, an Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada professor who chairs the JPDS steering committee, said the initiative known as “Knowledge Hub” is the new baby from the JPDS stable “committed to building top scholars.”
Mba, at the maiden edition of the Knowledge Hub, said the hub would start from across sub-Saharan Africa and spread to the world at large.
Charles Okigbo, an emeritus professor of strategic communication at the North Dakota State University, in a presentation said that mixed methods research is not just the newest trend in social science research but the best way to study complex human behaviour in these global, multicultural and interconnected sciences and arts.
He explained that mixed methods research approach is not an arbitrary combination of research methods but “the measured, reasoned and strategic combining of qualitative and quantitative research methods in one study or a group of studies to achieve better results than when we use either type of data alone.”
Okigbo said that mixed methods could not necessarily be more tedious or time-consuming but that it is a research approach that leads to a more comprehensive study on any subject.
Throwing more light on the subject, Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and president, Jacksonites Worldwide, the umbrella body of the alumni association, said that in the light of the multifaceted nature of social problems, politics, ethics and morality, researchers who are not versed in appropriate research methods for the best result would be challenged.
He applauded the JPDS steering committee for the new ‘Knowledge Hub’ brand and noted that the 6-part seminar series focused on mixed methods research “is coming at a very important time in the history of communication for a civilised experience.”
Joseph Wogu, a professor and head, department of mass communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who was represented by Uchechukwu Eze, presenting on the evolution of mass communication as a discipline at the university, said the department, originally named the Jackson College of Journalism, was established in 1961 with the goal of training capable journalists to fill in the workforce gap created by the exodus of foreign journalists from the country.
According to him, at its inception, L. Orol was head of the department and the only academic staff who taught the students who qualified at the time and has raised millions of graduates from its first four graduates in 1965 with former minister of information, Tony Momoh, as one of the pioneer students.
In a related development, Nnanyelugo Okoro, director, Postgraduate Research Courses, represented by Francisca Ogbobe, said that numerous opportunities abound in postgraduate studies and that funding is not a limitation as there are many funding organisations for postgraduate studies both in Nigeria and abroad.
Although there are numerous challenges associated with postgraduate studies, Okoro, a professor of mass communication, pointed out that with the availability of open access to knowledge, research and postgraduate studies have become a lot easier than in the past. He recommends installing digital learning facilities to make teaching and research a lot easier.
The event, moderated by Chuks Odiegwu-Ewerem of the National Open University, was attended by postgraduate students, scholars and professors across Nigeria. Mba applauded participants and resource persons and announced that the next edition on Action Research is scheduled for 5th August 2022.