My research experience

by Emmanuel Bola Jonah Kelvin

My research experience can best be described as a tough sweet experience. The research experience I intend to share with you has to do with my MPH thesis at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.

My experience while searching and choosing a research topic: At this stage, I went through a lot; first, each class members were asked to submit four topics to our supervisors, from which one will be selected. I had recently secured a job appointment with a state government; when we were owed a backlog of salary arrears, so to me, the cost of the research work was most important, and I had to chose a topic that will be cost-effective for me. Then I knew I had to figure out my area of interest in public health. It was pertinent to examine which study area will be relevant and needed in my study area, and finally, I had to be sure that such study had not been carried out before and that it was going to be useful. I also considered the methodology and the analytical demand of the study, so I thought deep and choose four topics, two from occupational health hazards and another two from reproductive health. After one week, I got a reply from my supervisor, and I had to work on occupational health hazards.

Writing of proposal: The task of writing a proposal is best described as learning on the job. No matter the number of research work in the past, every proposal writing seems to be a new experience. In this case, I made my first attempt drafting one, expecting so many corrections as presumed. I scaled through this huddle after four attempts.

The introduction and the literature review: From my experience, the backbone of the introduction and literature review is my proposal. Having a good proposal paves the way for a good chapter one and two. At this juncture, the Mendeley reference manager application helped me a lot in my literature review. I recommend it to whosoever is interested in using it, aside from using other platforms to get materials. In this work, I got all my materials online.

The methodology: The study was on the knowledge and practice of health workers on the prevention of occupational health hazards in the Kogi State Specialist Hospital Lokoja. It was a descriptive cross-sectional study; the questionnaire used was a structured closed-ended one, utilizing the Likert scale in most of the options. My sample size was about 230 HCW distributed among doctors, nurses, laboratory scientist and hospital attendants. To make my work easier, I pre-tested my questionnaire at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, alongside my research assistants. I also had a consent form as the first page attached to the questionnaire with the pledge of confidentiality and all, and from my experience, I noticed that the consent taking was vital to the acceptance of my questionnaire, and it gave my study a professional touch. I had also learnt the SPSS in class with the hope of doing my work myself, but as time goes by, I had to consult an expert to complement my efforts.

My Result: My findings were mind-blowing; they were indeed an eye-opener; I found some significant suboptimal knowledge and practice required for the prevention of occupational health hazards, even among professionals like doctors and among other HCW in the study. After my findings, I had believed that there is absolutely no room for assumption in the field of sciences and that research, when correctly done, remains the key to ascertain the uncertainties.

My reports: I have documented the summary of my findings, conclusion, and recommendation to be utilized by the management of the Kogi State Specialist Hospital and the Kogi State government at large.

Duration of the research: After successfully completing my course work, this research took about two years to be completed, no thanks to the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) strikes, the Covid-19 pandemic and the security challenges in the country. It could have been longer, but I was lucky to have an internet compliance supervisor who was instrumental in the completion within this time frame. I had to minimize travelling for security reasons along Abuja-Kaduna road and the Kaduna-Zaria road.

In conclusion: Every research brings its own experience, be bold to ask question scientifically through proper research, and you will be surprised at your findings.

I have had a couple of research works in the past, individually, in a group, with some non-governmental organization(NGO)’s, and currently, with the Government; all the experiences are different, but they are all worth it.

Dr Emmanuel Bola Jonah Kelvin works at the Kogi State Specialist Hospital Lokoja, Kogi State. He did his MPH at ABU, Zaria between 2016/2017 academic session to 2020/2021 academic session. He is part of the thrd cohort of Research Collaboration Network.

Blog Editor: Oladimeji Adebayo

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