Research Methodology

3 credits / 9 weeks weeks
8 Jan 2024 - 10 Mar 2024

Professor Olivia Sylvester
Professor Uzma Rashid

In this course, we will examine the process of designing and carrying out research. We will explore the basic structure of research, learn how to critically analyze the literature to identify research topics and questions, and we will dialogue about the ethics of research. Research designs will be reviewed as well as multiple methods for data gathering both in qualitative and quantitative research (e.g. interviews, photovoice, surveys). Lastly, we will learn how to analyze data so you can present and disseminate your research. Emphasis will be placed on examining existing research to ensure that teachings are applicable to on the ground work. This class is relevant to students and professionals that want to deepen their understanding of how to design, carry out and disseminate research.

Olivia Sylvester

 Olivia Sylvester, holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Management and is the Head of the Environment & Development Department at the University for Peace as well as an Associate professor. She is also an adjunct professor for Oregon State University. For over a decade, Dr. Sylvester’s research program has focused on sustainable food systems, agroecology, Indigenous and feminist methodologies, food security/sovereignty, gender, and climate/environmental justice; she has published 30 articles and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Sylvester has also worked closely with Indigenous communities in Costa Rica to develop protocols for ethical research. She is currently the coordinator of one MA programme (Environment, Development & Peace) and two MSc programmes (Water Cooperation & Diplomacy and Ecology & Society) and teaches across these programmes. Dr. Sylvester is also a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Society of Ethnobiology, and the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project, and the Society for Agriculture and Human Values. Being active within these networks allows her to work at the interface of policy and practice. 

Uzma Rashid

Associate Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Academic Coordinator of MA in Gender and Peacebuilding, MA in Gender and Development and MA in Religion, Culture, and Peace Studies Programmes

Dr. Uzma Rashid serves as Associate Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Academic Coordinator for the Gender and Peacebuilding; Gender and Development; and Religion, Culture, and Peace Studies Masters programmes at the University for Peace (established by the UN General Assembly), Costa Rica. Prior to joining UPEACE, she worked as Chair at the Department of Sociology, and Associate Dean for Research of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. Dr. Rashid has done her PhD as a Fulbright scholar from the interdisciplinary Language, Literacy, and Culture program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA, and has extensive teaching, training, and research experience in a variety of contexts. Her academic work and research interests have consistently been interdisciplinary in nature, with the aim of working towards equity and justice by furthering an understanding of power relations in the intersections of gender, sexuality, religion, race, ethnicity, caste, ability, and class at the multiple levels on which they operate. She is also a certified trainer for conducting self-defense trainings with a holistic view of tackling violence, especially sexual and gender based violence. Currently, she is also a KAICIID International Fellow for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, implementing a project for capacity building towards ensuring that interfaith dialogue spaces can be made more inclusive and nonviolent for queer communities. She is always open to ideas for collaborations that are aimed at creating such just futures for all. She can be reached at 



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