Research activities in AIIAS cover different fields of study such as business, education, public health, and theology. Research has traditionally focused more on quantitative methods, which means looking at and measuring variables, and analyzing trends. Qualitative research has yet to see more development especially in the Philippines.
With the dire need of qualitative research in Asia and the available qualitative research experts at AIIAS, Asian Qualitative Research Association (AQRA) was launched.
“In qualitative research we look at the whole human,” says the founder and current president of AQRA, Dr. Safary Wa-Mbaleka. “Numbers cannot give justice to an in-depth exploration of a research idea. For this, we needed to provide a platform for people to talk about qualitative research and develop needed skills in this area.” AQRA was founded and launched by AIIAS on October 28, 2015. As an integral part of the Graduate School, the vision of the association is to empower scholars and to “touch lives through research,” as indicated in the mission statement.
AIIAS presently has a number of qualitative research faculty and the research they have done is notable and highly commended. “AQRA exists to develop qualitative research scholars,” continued Dr. Wa-Mbaleka. He believes that a lot of circumstances around the world today present issues that are far too complex to be answered by quantitative research alone.
AQRA aims to set high standards and provides a platform for interaction for those interested in qualitative research. It plans to generate funds for some research grants. AQRA presently has more than 350 members from over 50 higher education institutions nationally and internationally.
Within the first ten months of existence, it has provided training in capability building to more than 10 institutions in the country. It hosted a much acclaimed international conference on April 20-21, 2016 in Tagaytay City, Philippines, which drew 152 participants from more than 50 colleges and universities from more than 15 countries. The conference consisted of 80 concurrent sessions, two keynote sessions, and four plenary sessions.
Dr. Ella Simmons, one of the Vice Presidents of the General Conference, graced the occasion by delivering a powerful keynote session entitled, “Eyes That See and Ears That Hear: A Case for Qualitative Research” and a plenary with the title, “That God May Know My Integrity.”
An article by Bruce Sumendap as published on the AIIAS Flags Magazine Vol 11, No 2, October 2016.