NU-Q to showcase research at Qatar Foundation annual research conference

Faculty and students from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) will be presenting their research at the Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Conference (ARC).

Those taking part are Klaus Schoenbach, associate dean for research; Professors Susan Dun and Justin Martin as well as three students, all NU-Q seniors, Noor Al-Tamimi, Alanood Al-Thani, and Nayla Al Thani.

The conference is “a perfect platform for showcasing interactive research by faculty and students across several disciplines,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q. “There is no better way to demonstrate how new knowledge has real benefit for the public and can benefit Qatari society,” he said.

Al-Tamimi, Alanood Al-Thani and Nayla Al Thani, will each present work related to their involvement in a grant entitled, "Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment," which investigated Qatari women’s participation socially, economically, and politically. The grant was funded by the Qatar National Research Fund’s University Research Experience Program (UREP), and included 15 undergraduate students from Northwestern University in Qatar as well as six faculty from Northwestern and other educational institutions in Qatar.

Al-Tamimi and Nayla Al Thani will present posters on their original research. Al-Tamimi’s research explores the underrepresentation of Qatari women in the political arena and argues that social and cultural norms pressure women to avoid political careers. Nayla Al Thani’s research explores the link between majlis participation and increased feelings of political effectiveness and freedom of speech. She argues that the majlis can been seen as a site of civil society and civic engagement for Qatari women and men.

Alanood Al-Thani will give an oral presentation as part of the 8th Annual UREP Competition, in which she will provide an overview of the entire scope of the research grant, from achieved objectives and overall significance to the roles played by the faculty mentors and the benefits gained by the student researchers. The student’s research was enabled through the Undergraduate Research Experience Program and will be presented as part of the Qatar National Research Forum.

The faculty study that Schoenbach and Martin will present is about "Predictors of Blogging Activity in Six Arab Countries." The authors could base it on a media user survey conducted by NU-Q in 2014. The survey assessed how people use media and their attitudes toward politics, free speech and other cultural and political considerations. The study revealed misguided notions that blogging in the Arab world is only associated with political disaffection. Instead it was found that blogging is mainly connected to online engagement generally, such as sharing photos online, online chatting, and reading others’ blogs, rather than to sociopolitical indicators.

Dun will present her research on communication about motor vehicle collisions--an important topic in Qatar. The country is experiencing the highest number of road deaths this year since data from the government started to be released in 2014. This despite widespread education campaigns to combat the fatal issue. Dun’s study identified barriers to improving the situation, particularly among Qatari males aged 18-25, and analyzed the most effective messaging to change perceptions towards road safety.

NU-Q’s robust research program is designed to contribute to the nation’s vision by producing professionals whose investigations will complement Qatar’s National Research Strategy’s (QNRS) vision of becoming a leading center for research, development excellence and innovation.