Research Conversation


Research Conversations featured Institutionalizing Gender Perspective in Research: Reflexivity as an Alternative, a study by Dr. Primo Garcia, Luisa Gelisan and Paula Muyco.

The talk covered legal instruments to further strengthen gender and development (GAD) efforts such as Former President Fidel V. Ramos’ Memo Order 282 indicating that the academe must mainstream gender in its practices and/or to incorporate GAD issues in its programs and CHED’s Memo Order No. 01 stating that all private and public higher education institutions to mainstream gender in research, administration, extension, and curriculum.

In response to this, UPOU has institutionalized the Gender-focused Research Grants which are given to proposed studies that have GAD components or are gender-focused after undergoing the review and endorsement process of the research and publication committee. The results of these studies are expected and required to be disseminated in a forum, conference, and colloquium and/or published in a reputable academic publication. Also, UPOU has engendered the institution’s teaching, research, and public service activities to uphold equality in women and men and fulfill and promote women’s human rights and development

The talk also touched on reactions to Gender Component requirement in research – these being acquiescence and resistance. Acquiescence was defined as taking a step towards gender mainstreaming, but not enough to facilitate deeper understanding of gender issues and realities, while resistance was defined as force-fitting gender perspective, action or inaction by people, or obvious or implied opposition. These reactions can also be used as parameters to determine the visibility or invisibility of gender in research and the success or failure of gender policies and institutions. To address this issue, reflexivity in research is proposed.

Reflexivity in research can be used (1) to look into how a research topic is anchored on issues of dominance, gender, sexuality, class, age, and race; (2) to determine both perspectives from marginalized sectors and researchers’ values, beliefs, interests, ambitions, and how it shapes research; (3) as a reaction/response to intimate questions and answers brought by doing gender-based research; (4) as an approach to better analyze the process and results of research. In addition to the existing GAD checklist for research, the study presented a framework featuring reflexivity to better guide researchers in pursuing GAD research.

During the forum, a discourse took place as a means to better understand reflexivity as an approach in research. On one hand, there is a concern on the difficulty of achieving reflexivity because academics have been trained and expected to be as objective as possible, throwing away their biases and personal underpinnings and assumptions. On the other, it is believed that academics have a responsibility to acknowledge and practice reflexivity as an alternative approach to gender-based research. With this, there is a call to action for younger and starting researchers to embrace reflexivity and pursue research in such a way that conjuncts the reflexivity in qualitative with the rigor of quantitative research.

To close the conversation, and question-and-answer activity was facilitated where the participants were requested to reflect on the research/es that they have done and answer the following questions: (1) Was the research gender-focused?, (2) If not, what could have been a gender component in the research?

by Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura

HAPLOS: Vibrating Clothing for Well-being

In his talk, Dr. Diego Maranan discussed his PhD research which draws from philosophy, somatic practices, neuroscience, and technology design, and culminated in the creation of a device for facilitating body awareness. The device—called Haplós—is a novel, wearable, programmable, remotely controlled technology using vibrating motors that Diego developed as part of his research at CogNovo, a 4.1 million EU-funded project at Plymouth University, UK, that focused on interdisciplinary research on creativity and cognition.

Dr. Diego opened the talk by asking the question: Do you know yourself?, pertaining to our knowledge of our bodies as physical parts of ourselves as opposed to the typical response about mental or behavioral state. This underlined the concept of body awareness which deals with the connection between the way we organize our bodies and our disposition, the malleability of our concept of our bodies, and the understanding of our body as part of a space. Early research has shown that Haplós can increase body awareness by enhancing the user's perception of the body part that has been exposed to the. In addition Haplós has also been shown in a controlled experiment to decrease food cravings with statistical significanc. Because the sensations provided by the Haplós system have been described as highly unusual, pleasurable, and engaging, Haplós is theorized to interrupt the elaboration of intrusive thoughts associated with food cravings, as predicted by the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of desire.

Potential and speculative future applications of Haplós were discussed. For instance, there were inquiries (1) on the study's application for mental issues and other medicinal purposes, local fashion and production, and (2) for the study's continuation possibly at UP Open University in collaboration with other campus units in the country.

Article is based largely on the abstract of and with permission from Dr. Maranan.

by Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura

Watch the recording of the conversation at YouTube


Professor Rita Ramos (FMDS) was the keynote speaker for the Research Conversation on the Flagship Program: TAYO (Team Approach and Youthful Outlook for UPOU), UPOU’s health and wellness program that aims to provide and/or establish healthy work spaces for a healthier work force.

She started the talk with sharing an integral part of the TAYO program, UPOU’s existing (volleyball, basketball, pilates, dance, photography) and upcoming clubs. These clubs help with fitness, relaxation, and socialization – conditions theoretically ideal for increased work productivity. She also gave a preview of ergonomics and how inviting an expert can be beneficial to the university’s offices.

At the moment, Flagship Program: TAYO’s structure is fluid and flexible for the purposes of recreation and relaxation; however, the health and wellness committee aims for the program to be more empirical and theory-driven as it progresses. Although still open for further suggestions and comments, Prof. Rita discussed possible variables to consider in determining the effectivity of the program such as measuring work productivity, fitness level, and vital signs. In an effort to address the lack of empirical data, the committee conducted an assessment survey of the health and wellness program. With 25 respondents for the initial survey, she hoped that more will participate in both the club activities and assessment survey.

Prof. Rita also lightly grazed on existing studies in health and wellness such as Ammendoila et al’s (2016) inquiry on using the intervention mapping framework for designing a health and wellness program in the workplace, Macdonald and Westover’s (2011) study on decreasing employee obesity and increasing overall health, and Losina et al’s (2017) paper on the relation of physical activity and decreased work absenteeism.

To cap the talk, Prof. Rita raised points to consider in the continuation of the health and wellness program:

  • Should the program continue as unstructured/flexible or should it be structured?
  • Should the program remain voluntary or should it be obligatory?

by Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura

Watch the recording of the conversation at YouTube

Mission RA 10650

Dean Primo G. Garcia led the research conversation with the topic on Mission R.A 10650 last 16 June at the Sandbox, CCDL, UPOU. The session started with a brief introduction on the role of the UP Open University in fulfilling its mandate as the premiere open university in the field of distance and e-learning in the country through the Republic Act 10650 or also known as Open and Distance Learning Law such as providing technical assistance in curricula development for open and distance learning (ODL) program, share innovative ideas and research for other ODL institutions. Moreover, UPOU’s share in the achievement of the act includes the following: development of information and communication technologies for ODL, provide and design quality learning materials for ODL institutions in the Philippines, and capacitate teachers and practitioners in ODL. This year, UPOU is striving to fill in the roles as mandated in the ODL act which led to the conceptualization of the Mission R.A. 10650 together with other flagship programs of the university.

The Research Conversation provided a venue to discuss and share researchable areas on Mission RA 10650 and with that, collaboration among UPOU faculty members and staff surfaced. Some of the researchable areas shared by Dean Garcia were grouped into four, namely, capacity building, technical assistance, instructional models, and innovative research in ODL which all fit into the role the UPOU is taking in the implementation of the ODL act.

The researchable areas shared by Dean Garcia were as follows:

  • Capacity building
  • Training needs assessment
  • Training course evaluation

Technical Assistance

  • Quality Assurance (QA) framework
  • ICT infrastructure policy
  • Accreditation policy

Instructional models

  • ODeL-based curriculum research
  • Learning materials development and evaluation
  • Innovative technology for ODeL

Innovative research in ODL

  • Issues and concerns of institutions on DE
  • Combining traditional and new media in ODL

by Jamsie Joy E. Perez


Dr. Ricardo T. Bagarinao, Dean of the UP Open University Faculty of Education, conducted a talk on the CARe-UPOU flagship program of the University on 3 March 2017. The guiding principles and possible researchable areas under CARe-UPOU were the main topics of the conversation.

CARe-UPOU, which stands for “Climate Adaptive and Resilient UPOU”, is considered as a critical program for the University mainly because of the fact that UPOU’s operations are hugely dependent on online systems. With the Internet being vulnerable to climate-related events and other natural disasters, it is imperative for the University to ensure Internet resilience to maintain its integrity as an Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) institution.

For the University to ensure continuity of its operations amidst disaster occurrence in any of its offices, CARe-UPOU has divided its efforts into two components: the "Green UPOU" which focuses on the University’s sustainability efforts, and the "Disaster Risk and Reduction Management" (DRRM) which focuses on the University’s climate adaptation and disaster resilience. For Green UPOU, Dr. Bagarinao said the committee was able to identify four goals for the years 2016 to 2019 to strengthen climate change mitigation efforts in the University:

  1. Resource Conservation,
  2. Environmental Education,
  3. Ecological Waste Management, and
  4. Renewable Energy Use.
For DRRM, on the other hand, four areas of concern were laid out to attain climate change adaptation and resilience by the year 2019:
  1. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation,
  2. Disaster Preparedness,
  3. Disaster Response, and
  4. Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery.

The following are some of the possible researchable areas that arose from the conversation:

  • baseline condition
  • criteria and indicators
  • modelling
  • behaviour and response.

Some of the potential studies identified were:

  • UPOU Disaster Preparedness: A Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice Survey
  • Institutional Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts among UPOU Offices
  • Developing Sustainability Criteria and Indicators for an ODeL Institution
  • Risk Reduction Initiatives: Balancing Costs with Benefits
  • Modeling Behavioural Responses to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Initiatives

Watch the recording of the conversation at YouTube

by Mary Aizel C. Dolom

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