The first of the three field work segments in the MBA (RM) programme, the action research segment (ARS) is conducted in the first semester after completion of three months of classroom segment. The ARS component of the programme provides the preliminary exposure to the students to the contexts of rural life and develop an understanding of the realities of the rural people with whom they are going to work. It is also a building block to hone their skills in important components like social mobilization and micro planning that these students will be using in the course of time. The students also get an opportunity to undertake various activities as desired by the host organizations that adds value to their skill and knowledge as future development professionals.
The students utilize Participatory Action Research (PAR – a subset of action research) for completing the tasks assigned to them in ARS component. The two components are Micro-Planning and (ii) Social Mobilization. The Micro-planning is a comprehensive planning approach wherein the community prepares development plans on its own considering the priority needs of the village. The PAR allows students to be a committed participant, facilitator, and learner in the research process. The community groups, in collaboration with our students determine what the existing issues are, and which one(s) they want to address. This in turn creates a greater awareness on individuals’ own resources which in turn will help our partner organizations to engage and mobilize communities for self-reliant development. The final output is a document detailing the village level perspective plan prepared by using participatory tools.
During the Social Mobilization Component, the students primarily involve the communities to achieve a given development objective. The host organizations engage students in social mobilization exercise wherein they wish to improve knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of the target beneficiaries to address any important social or economic problem confronting them.
The students stay in villages and the host organizations facilitate them in finding paying guest accommodation. The host organization’s reporting officers also facilitate undertaking of both the components through monitoring the work progress of students. The students are also attached with a faculty guide from the school who regularly guide and monitor the work of the students.
Before leaving for the internship a 4-5 days workshop is conducted for the students through a mix of class room sessions and live field training in using tools and techniques of Action Research.
Final evaluation of ARS has three components- presentation, report writing and evaluation by the host organization. Presentations by students carry 20% weightage and is evaluated by an external examiner and two internal faculty members other than the faculty guide. The faculty guide evaluates the reports of the students that carry 30% weightage. Evaluation is also done by the host organization based on the report and presentation made there, which carries 50% weightage.
MBA (RM) Programme is designed to balance academics with experiential learning. Class Room Segments (CRS) spread over 56 credits and, Field Work Segments (FWS) of 36 credits within four semesters of the two years of course curricula.
The three components of FWS are designed in a progressive manner, with Action Research Segment (ARS) in first semester, Case Study Research Segment (CSS) of 10 weeks in second semester and Management Traineeship Segment (MTS) in the third semester.
Why Case Study Research Segment (CSS)?
MBA(RM) Researchers have used the Case Study Research method for many years across a variety of disciplines. The Case Study Research is a research method suitable for many rural and agricultural development situations, which takes place in real settings and requires an interdisciplinary approach.
The development organizations like yours will be more interested in gaining knowledge of people in their natural setting and their interactions with other people in the environment. In such situations, the Case Study Research may offer insights that might not be achieved with other research approaches.
Overview of Case Study Research: Methodology
The Case Study Research can be used for intensive study of an object which can be an individual person, a group, an institution, service, event, relationship or other entity.
The object is represented by place and context. The place represents the geographical environment and the context refers to the prevailing social, economic, historical, cultural, and environmental conditions. The contextual conditions are extremely important in understanding the object of study. The case studies are best applied to situations in which the object cannot be studied out of the context in which it occurs naturally. Some of the important features of Case Study Research include:
- Case Studies are limited in terms of sampling because they focus on small number of objects (samples). The sampling relies on researcher’s ability to identify the cases that are representative of the research problem understudy.
- Exhaustive collection of data using multi-method strategy of data collection such as analysis of documents, in depth interviews, questionnaires, and observations.
- The evidence may be qualitative (e.g., words), quantitative (e.g., numbers), or both.
- Simultaneous data analysis with data collection
The Case Study Research Process:
A six steps process is suggested to organize and conduct the Case Study Research successfully. The steps are:
Step 1. Determine and Define the Research Questions
Step 2. Select Cases (Object) and Determine Data Gathering and Analysis Techniques
Step 3. Prepare to Collect the Data
Step 4. Collect Data in the Field
Step 5. Evaluate, Triangulate and Analyze the Data
Step 6. Writing the report
The focus of MTS component is to partner with all our partners and enterprises that have an unstinting commitment to rural sector. The MTS is planned to be a problem solving segment where students will apply their analytical and decision making skills on specific project based problems/challenge assigned by organizations engaged in various aspects of rural business and development.
The students will work under active guidance of experienced senior managers supported by faculty guides from KSRM to help them to make decisions under real & more demanding situations.
Scope of MTS:
The scope of MTS includes project(s) on problems/issues/situation which require better understanding, insights and analytical abilities for their resolution.
Indicative Project Themes:
The indicative but not exhaustive projects include the following themes
- Climate Change, Disaster and Natural Resources Management
- Health, Education and CSR
- ICT and Governance for Development
- Rural Banking and Financial Inclusion
- Sustainable Agriculture
During the course of MTS students are expected to rigorously research the problem, analyze data, and produce outputs in terms of solutions in line with the objectives of the projects. After the completion of MTS field work the students are expected to make presentation of their project to host organization and submit the draft reports.
The study findings are again presented in MTS seminars conducted at KSRM under the supervision of internal faculty and external examiner. Based on the suggestions received during the seminars and comments of the faculty guides, the draft reports are revised and a copy each is submitted to school and the host organisation. The students are evaluated for their projects independently by the host organization and KSRM.