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DZ Atibuni
GM Kibanja
DK Olema
J Ssenyonga
S Karl

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DZ Atibuni
GM Kibanja
DK Olema
J Ssenyonga
S Karl

International Journal of Educational Policy Research and Review
ISSN 2360-7076
Vol.4 (3), pp. 19-28 March, 2017
Available online at
Article ID:/17/EPRR/012/010 pages
Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License.

Original Research Article

Challenges and strategies of research engagement among Master of Education students in Uganda

Dennis Zami Atibuni*1, Grace Milly Kibanja2,David Kani Olema1, Joseph Ssenyonga3 and Steffens Karl4

1Busitema University, Nagongera Campus, Faculty of Science and Education, Department of Education, P.O. Box 236, Tororo.
2Makerere University, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Psychology, Department of Educational, Organisational, and Social Psychology, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala.
3Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Science, Department of Educational Foundations and Psychology, P.O. Box 1410, Mbarara.
4Universtatzu Koln, Institut III – Allgemeine Didaktik und Schulforschung, Padagogische Psychologiemit den Schwerpunkten Mediendidaktik, Albertus-Magnus Platz, 50923, Koln.

* Corresponding Author E-mail: zamidennis79(at)

date Received: January 6, 2017     date Accepted: February 26, 2017     date Published: March 23, 2017


A qualitative investigation was done to explore the challenges and strategies of research engagement among Master of Education students in Uganda. Two focus group discussions (n = 12) and seven key informant interviews (n = 7) were conducted among purposively selected students and university staff respectively. Participants in the focus groups included Master of Education students of 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014, and 2014/2015 cohorts who were still on or had completed their studies by January 2016. The key informant interview participants included heads of departments, deans of faculties, and directors of institutes and directorates. Challenges faced by the students were mainly work-life balance related: work interference with personal life, personal life interference with work, and workplace support challenges. These challenges caused further challenges in the students’ research engagement in the aspects of active and collaborative learning, student effort, student-faculty interaction, and institutional support.  Strategies to overcome the challenges included provision of work-life balance activities and opportunities to learn.Implications for educational practice were suggested.

Key words: Master of Education, challenges, strategies, work-life balance, research engagement

Atibuni et al