“PHD Experiences: Insights from Candidates and Supervisors”, was the title of a research seminar hosted by School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academics Dr Maxwell Phiri and Dr Pepukayi Chitakunye.
The aim of the seminar was to promote thesis writing and find ways to extract articles from PhD students about to submit or who have just registered their thesis under the supervision of Phiri and Chitakunye. The seminar on the Pietermaritzburg campus was attended by nine PhDs from countries in Africa.
Phiri encouraged students to commit to producing 13 papers in 2013 and to come up with ideas for collaborative research. ‘As supervisors we can relate to every level of your research because we have been through it but for you it might feel like the end of the world that is why seminars such as this are important. Through meeting others and building a network we can share ideas and concerns and see how we can promote our productivity through research,’ said Phiri.
Students at the seminar detailed their research topics which ranged from entrepreneurship and small business development to marketing management.
They also related the challenges they faced in respect of funding as most of them had resigned from their jobs to study full time.
Students who travel from countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe expressed concerns about having to give up their jobs in order to pursue PhD studies at UKZN. They said the fee remission for tuition was appreciated but it was not enough as there were other needs such as rent, food and daily family needs.
The students received guidance on how to go about writing conference papers, collect data for their research and balance their studies.
PhD student, Mr Hayford Adjei, a Lecturer at Ghana’s Kumasi Polytechnic, said the seminar had given him valuable insight for his research.
‘I am doing my research on corporate social responsibility and its impact on corporate finances and though this seminar I have met gurus in the field who have given me new ideas on how to tackle this research,’ said Adjei.
Phiri and Chitakunye said further seminars would be organised for next year.