Interview with Dr. Hafidha Sulaiman Al-Barashdi, a specialist in social and educational issues of Omani youth
In this issue of ATLAS.ti case studies, we interview Dr. Hafidha Sulaiman Al-Barashdi, the Assistant Director of the Social Observatory at the Scientific Research Council (TRC) in Oman, and she is also a Certified ATLAS.ti Professional Senior Trainer. Dr. Al-Barashdi conducts research in Arabic and English, and she currently has three books under publication. She is also a member of many community service committees, most notably the Oman Vision 2040’s Vision and Future Preservation Team. In 2015, she was awarded the Best Research Paper at the Second International Conference on Economic Researches in Thailand. In 2016, she won second place in the competition of presenting the PhD dissertation in three minutes. She also received the Best Paper Award at the 24th Conference of Specialized Libraries – Gulf Arab Branch. In addition to this, she received the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qasim Al-Thani Award for Educational Research for 2018 for teachers and leaders. We are pleased to present our interview with Dr. Al-Barashdi and share her insights with the ATLAS.ti community.
Thank you for your time, Dr. Hafidha Sulaiman Al-Barashdi! What kind of research do you typically conduct?
My research interests are related to the study of social and educational issues, especially the issues of Omani youth, including technology and globalization, values, employment, career guidance, motivation, parenting, national identity and Omani heritage. I have done a number of studies, including research that combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. I usually use open or structured interviews or focus group discussions. For example, I have studied the effects of social media on the values of citizenship among Omani youth, and I used focus group discussions. I also researched the electronic extortion of youth and conducted many interviews to find out the causes and motivation of extortion. In these types of studies, I analyse a lot of Word and PDF documents and audio files. I also do many literature review studies, for example a study about the role of academic libraries in the use of large data and other studies.
Could you please tell us about your work as the Assistant Director of the Social Observatory at the Scientific Research Council?
This program seeks to develop infrastructure for data sources and social indicators, and it ensures sustainability of the data. It was established to monitor and analyze social change in the Sultanate through scientific research. It also strives to enrich social research in Oman by forming relationships between various universities and centers of local and international research.
Headed by the Undersecretary of Ministry of Social Development, the steering committee for the Social Observatory Research Program includes members from the Council of Scientific Research, the Ministry of Health, Sultan Qaboos University, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education, the National Center for Statistics and Information, Royal Oman Police, and the Shura Council.
The Social Observatory Research Program focuses on three key areas to try to measure the negative and positive impact of social change on local society:
- Collection of data to act as a reference for researchers and decision-makers
- Research on social change to develop a national research capacity in this field
- Disseminating research results and recommendations and educating the community through workshops and seminars
The Social Observatory Research Program focuses on the collection of data to act as a reference for researchers and decision-makers, and it depends mostly on quantitative data. However, we still need qualitative data to provide in-depth understandings of social change phenomena in the community. For example, we use unstructured interviews to allow respondents to talk in detail using their own words, and this helps us develop a real sense of their understanding of a situation.
Why did you decide to use ATLAS.ti?
I decided to use ATLAS.ti because of its unique features, such as:
- It supports analysis in Arabic
- It transfers the traditional paper-and-pen analogy to the digital world, making it intuitive to use
- It offers an analytic level below coding and better supports inductive, interpretive research approaches like grounded theory, hermeneutics, discourse analysis, sociology of knowledge, or phenomenology, more than any other software
- It offers the most integrated way of working with my data, it is a tool for visualization as well as for analysis, for data organization as well as conceptual level analytic work and data presentation
- It can handle much larger projects than other software
- It supports collaborative work in several highly effective ways
How do you help others use ATLAS.ti?
Since I have become a professional senior trainer at ATLAS.ti, my name was included in the list of international trainers and consultants certified by ATLAS.ti. I have presented several workshops and training courses about how to use ATLAS.ti for researchers and postgraduate students at Sultan Qaboos University in coordination between ATLAS.ti and the Deanship of Graduate Studies. Then I noticed the strong need for a user manual to help the participants follow the courses and continue using the software after the courses. Therefore, I contacted the training center at ATLAS.ti and obtained an official authorization from the company to translate the ATLAS.ti Quick Tour into Arabic. So I translated the user guide and published it with the support of the Sultan Qaboos University Deanship of Postgraduate Studies. This book will serve as a training manual for researchers and Arab users of ATLAS.ti. In addition, I hope it also will increase the number of Arabic users around the world.
What is one of your favorite features of ATLAS.ti?
I found the query tool with the possibility to search for defined combinations of codes very helpful (especially if you have different types of codes, e.g. more “technical” and more content-oriented codes). I would also add to the statement above that planning your coding phase well ahead is essential for the use of ATLAS.ti, especially with bigger amounts of data.
We thank you Dr. Al-Barashdi for sharing with us!
You can get in touch with Dr. Hafidha Sulaiman Al-Barashdi by writing to [email protected]