by Dr. Sulpecia Ponce, SDS Coordinator

The 14th Graduate Research Colloquium was hosted by the College of Education  with Dr. Adelfa Silor, CED Graduate Coordinator, taking the lead in organizing the activity with the support of the Office of Graduate Studies and the graduate coordinators of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Business Administration and Accountancy, School of Computer Studies and the Sustainable Development Studies Program. It was held last October 26, 2018 at the College  of Education (CED). The opening and closing ceremonies and plenary sessions were held at the CED Amphi-theater, which also served as a venue for one of the parallel sessions.

Dr.  Alita Roxas, Director of the Office of the Graduate Studies,  gave the opening remarks and rationale of the activity. She elaborated that  the activity is a platform where graduate students can disseminate and improve  the quality of their theses/special projects before these are finally defended, as well  as enhance their presentation skills in conferences. These are all in line with the goal of updating and   introducing innovative research practices into the different graduate programs of the Institute. There were 25 student presenters coming from the College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Education, School of Computer Studies and the Sustainable Development Studies program distributed to the  6 parallel sessions that were organized. Research topics reflect the fields of specialization of the presenting students and are relevant to the times, such as the study on the future prospects of ISIS surrenderees, another on the development of a mobile learning app for English reading and writing skills, and still another on Artificial Intelligence for data synchronization in environmental impact assessment.

Dr. Rabby Q. Lavilles, Assistant Dean of the School of Computer Studies, who has newly reinstated after completing his PhD in  Information Technology at the De la Salle University, was the Opening Plenary speaker. He talked about “Software Gigging: Grounded Theory Methodology Journey”, which was culled from his dissertation. He argued  that social theory is poorly understood especially  in Information Technology research. He pointed out that because of the speed of change, scholarly research has been lagging behind technological innovation. In his paper, he outlined the intricate processes of grounded theory  as he tried to interrogate “What is the main concern of the freelance software developers in the context of IT-enabled services and how do they resolve this concern?” Using classical grounded theory approach, he explored the stages of theory origination,  theory saturation and theory elucidation-the last stage of which describes the relations of categories and concepts which allowed him to fully articulate his substantive theory of online software development freelancing. From the data, Dr. Lavilles was able to identify the work patterns and project transitions of his informants   through constant comparison technique of the cases. From here, he drew the different gig-hunting strategies undertaken by his informants that shaped their career paths. By examining the iterative processes, Dr. Lavilles was also able to trace the staged dimensions of the professional life of the freelance software developers, that is from being a newbie to becoming a professional where they maximize the opportunities and options available to them to earn income with the desired flexibility.

The closing plenary speaker was Dr. Ma. Cecilia M. Ferolin, the Chair of the Department of Sociology.  She presented the major findings of the “Comprehensive Study on Lake Lanao for Sustainable Development:  The Socio-economic and Political Dimensions”, one of the six projects under the Comprehensive Studies of Lake Lanao funded by the National  Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP).  Her study was conducted in the lakeshore communities of Ganassi, Balindong, Tamparan and Marawi City and the downstream municipality of Saguiaran using 500 survey respondents and 16 key informants.

Among the salient findings include the economic uses of the lake like transportation and recreation, electric power generation, agricultural use through farm irrigation, source of food, and waste disposal, among others.  Lake Lanao is now confronted with issues on waste dumping, overpopulation of communities surrounding it, illegal fishing, illegal logging, and unpredictable water level. Lake Lanao region also has a problematic peace and order condition in the form of destructive traditional structures, clan wars, and drug peddling.  Dr. Ferolin stressed that ”peace is a governance issue” which challenges the capability of the local government unit of Lanao del Sur.

From the perspectives of the locals surrounding Lake Lanao, they want the lake to maintain its cleanliness and restore its beauty. They also wish for  a fish port, development of the fishery industry, establishment of public toilets, and peace. The key messages borne out of the study are the following:  effective regulation of water elevation that resulted to flooding and farm destruction, compliance with the required environmental compliance certificate by the National Power Corporation and a clear community social responsibility program, enhancement of the environmental consciousness of stakeholders, building disaster adaptive capacity and resilience  of communities, and the creation of a sustainable livelihood program.

The policy recommendations  of the study call for the following concerns: creation of a functional Lake Lanao Development Authority,  research collaboration on critical resources of Lake Lanao, social services and infrastructure support, peace and order mechanism, and  enactment of ordinances.

Dr. Adelfa Silor made her closing remarks to end the activity where she also expressed her appreciation to the presenters  for their enthusiasm for their research and openness to suggestions of their respective panellists for the enhancement of their research papers.

Topics : graduate studies  colloquium research  conference