Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter
The 7th Humanities and Social Sciences Conference, organised by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, continued its activities on Sunday in Doha with more discussions on related issues by various high-profile specialists and university professors.
The main topic of the conference, that concludes on Monday, addresses the issue of research methods in humanities and social science, which poses challenges for the academics and experts in related fields and their impacts on the Arab societies.
Around 12 panel discussions are held daily at the three-day conference, with the participation of specialists. Each day starts with a public lecture addressing a key issue on how to develop research and study methodology in sociology, economics, and the related fields.
One of the sessions on Sunday addressed the issue of bridging the gap between general policy making in the Arab world and researches in social science. The presenter was Dr Ibrahim al-Murshid, researcher in economics at Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakesh, Morocco.
He discussed the reasons undermining the practical implementation of the outcome of social researches in the Arab World. The academic pointed out that in 1960s and 1970s, decision makers used to alienate certain topics as something that should not be looked into by any social researcher. There were threats to avoid looking into certain economic, social or political issues as this would gain the enmity of the authorities. However, in the 1980s, research in these areas started to open up but with various restrictions that controlled the outcome, yielding such researches as only a tool for promoting the governing authorities.
He said one of the main difficulties facing researchers in the Middle East and Developing countries is the lack of adequate public funding, which amounts to less than 0.55% of the GDP with the exception of Qatar, which spends a good amount of money on social and economic researches and studies.
Dr al-Murshid summed up the wrong practices of researchers in the field, which would eventually lead to inaccurate and misleading outcomes that do not reflect the actual situation on the field. Such practices include exercising self-sponsorship, use of inadequate research tools, the absence of proper evaluation, not following the approved global standards in the field and being away from the latest scientific updates in the field among other things.
He saw that it is essential to give researchers more liberty in their work and equip them with the necessary tools to achieve better and valid results, which would reflect positively in developing the field.
Dr Jamal al-Traboulsi, professor of Applied Economics at University of Strasbourg, France, talked about different methods for economic analysis and the related theories taking examples from the 1929 economic crisis as a case study.
The Arab Award for Humanities and Social Science, given by the centre for 2018- 2019, will be given to the winners during the conference in appreciation for researches and studies published in Arabic, in addition to English, French, German and Spanish. There are three categories for the Awards: the first is $15,000, the second $10,000 and the third $5,000. The conference is handling 72 working papers by different key participants discussing various related issues and topics.
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