Grounding Research in Theory

CARISCA’s Research Capacity Building Workshop Series

(Top row: Priscilla Addo Asamany, PhD student, Christa Agyemang, CARISCA staff; Bottom Row: Owusu Boahen and Ishmael Acquah, PhD students, and Elsie Konadu Addae, CARISCA staff; Photo by Emmanuel Offei/URO, KNUST)

At the Center for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain–Africa (CARISCA), our mission is to support higher education institutions in building capacity to create locally relevant supply chain research, provide best-in-class degree programs and training, facilitate research translation and utilization, engage stakeholders in best practices, and increase the participation of women in supply chain education and practice. 

As part of its research capacity-building efforts, CARISCA is enhancing the research capacity of KNUST faculty through a series of semi-annual workshops.

The most recent workshop, held in October 2021, focused on supply chain research theories. To create novel research and further existing academic literature, a researcher must have a firm grasp of the key theories in their field. From supply chain theories about complex adaptive systems to social network analysis, the researchers presented papers and answered questions from their colleagues, furthering everyone’s understanding. 

“This workshop gave participants the opportunity to align their research projects with relevant theories and subsequently leverage them to further their supply chain research within the African context,” said Kekeli Adonu, CARISCA’s research and training coordinator.

On day one of the two-day event, ASU Professor Thomas Choi led attendees through six exercises over the three-hour workshop. Choi had students and faculty review two published journal articles and present them to other attendees.

On day two of the event, Professors Nathaniel Boso, KNUST, and Adegoke Oke, ASU, discussed ways to apply relevant theories to research projects.

Participants then broke into teams to discuss how to integrate these theoretical concepts into their research.  

“We gained experience on how to practically apply theories into our research projects,” said one PhD student. “During the breakout sessions, questions were asked and contributions were made on how these projects will make an impact on society and the supply chain in general. In my group, for example, we sought to develop software to help the supply chain, especially for cereal and grain producers in Ghana.”

One faculty member said, “These workshops have been beneficial. This workshop, in particular, has given me a deeper understanding of both established and newer theories, and how they are relevant to my research.”

CARISCA will continue to host faculty workshops every six months to build capacity to conduct high-quality, rigorous supply chain management research.

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