Why I Presented Non-Empirical Research at Annual Writers’ Conference: Testimony

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A participant at last week’s three-day annual writers’ conference at a Kenya-based Catholic institution who presented a research paper based on a review of literature has identified lack of funds and time to conduct empirical research as reasons that informed the decision.

“I wanted to do hospital chaplaincy but I thought of the financial implications and I said it's going to be difficult,” Ugandan-born Florence Nassiwa told ACI Africa, regretting the decision to drop a topic that directly related to the conference theme.

“Very few researches were field research … I think everyone is in a position to give reasons why he could not go to the field but I think one of the issues is the finances,” Mrs. Nassiwa recalled the possible justifications for the failure to present research papers with data.

She presented a paper based on a reflection on her country of origin titled “Perceptions on health risks associated with climate variability in Kampala district, Uganda.”

Juggling between “work, family and writing” are some of the factors that the lecturer in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) said have to be put into consideration before a researcher goes to the field to gather data for empirical studies. 

She expressed appreciation for empirical research saying, “For sure field research will bring out the reality as it is.”

On his part, the Assistant Editor of the publishing entity of Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, AMECEA Gaba publications, Japheth Langat appreciated the combination of empirical and non-empirical research papers during the conference, regarding the occurrence as complementary.  

“There was a lot of complementarity in the presentations,” Mr. Langat said.

“I think it is important to have contextualized studies and knowledge in general and then there's also fresh knowledge that comes from empirical studies but it also builds on this existing knowledge,” he explained.

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]