Marga Institute - Centre for Development Studies


Course in Statistics in Research with a guide to SPSS

Objective and Content

The main objective of the course is to introduce the statistical concepts and techniques of Quantitative data analysis used in Social Sciences to persons who have little or no experience of using such techniques and to provide an understanding of basic statistical methods and the ability to use them. During the Course the Participants will train how to use Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Overall the Course is aimed to train how to use Quantitative methods to solve research problems and to improve decision making.

Learning Outcomes

The Course will enable Participants to:

  • Master descriptive and exploratory data analysis techniques
  • Understand and apply a range of quantitative methods
  • Interpret the results of statistical analysis
  • Obtain experience in using Statistical Package for Social Studies (SPSS)

For whom

The Course is designed and recommended for:

  • Academics
  • Business Analysts
  • Researchers and
  • Graduates /Students

Key Topics

The Course combines lectures and hands-on- training in 17 sessions which cover 51 hours. Each session will consist of a short lecture, practical training in using data and discussion on specific topics. In addition, each session will feature SPSS functions selected for their relevance to the statistical concept under discussion. Approximately 40 datasets will be used during the Course and Participants are encouraged to bring their own data to work on.


Statistics is best learned through practice. During the Course, each Participant is expected to complete two homework assignments. Apart from the assignments a dataset will be provided to all Participants to carry out a research project utilizing SPSS.

Duration / Venue

In 17 Sessions (3 hour per Session with a break) Duration / Venue From dates for 2011 will be notified later Lectures held in A/C auditorium at Marga Institute on Tuesdays and Thursday, 5.00-8.00 p.m.

Course Fee

Rs. 30,000.00 per person for lectures and handouts


Dates and time to be notified


Call us at 011- 2888790/91.
Email and

Certificate in Research Methodology

The certificate course in Research Methodology was conducted by the Marga Institute for the very first time in February 2010. Due to the excellent feedback received from the participants and the demand for this course from the high calibre of students ranging from senior researchers, senior managers and PhD students etc., the Institute has decided to repeat this programme in May 2011.

An Intensive 15 Session Package

Expanding further on the “Research Methodology Course”, it packs into 15 sessions the knowledge that one requires to formulate, execute, process findings and write an analytical report to address any social research question that arises in development research. The Course will make the student acquainted with the basic theories underlying social science research. Thereafter the course will take the student through the process of identifying research, issues relevant to one’s field of work, formulating a proposal, selecting appropriate research methods, practical lessons on carrying out research, processing the data and presentation, all in the course of 45 hours of study.

Making use of the wealth of knowledge and experience in development studies gained over the last 35 years, the Marga Institute launched a combined basic theoretical and practical course to sharpen research skills in social science research. Taking account of the increasing demand for this course and the special needs of students seeking to improve their knowledge and skills in the social sciences the Marga Institute has decided to commence a course in “Research Methodology”

The value of this course is that it packs into 15 sessions the knowledge that is required to formulate, execute, process findings and write an analytical report to address any social research question that arises in the area of social science work. At the end of the course you will be better equipped to carry social science research and venture out into a career in this area.

For whom – Practitioners, academics and researchers in the field of Social Science

Duration : 3 Months
Saturdays and Sundays from 9.00 to 12.00 Noon
Venue: Marga Institute
Course fee : Rs. 22,000/= for 15 sessions
You may select individual sessions for a reduced fee

Key sessions

  • Significance of Research Methodology in the context of development in a multi-disciplinary framework
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
  • Mixed methods-Triangulation & Integration
  • Application of two software packages ( SPSS & NVIVO)
  • Formulating a proposal & writing analytical reports

Master of Arts in Development Studies and Public Policy (Distance mode for year 1)

The Master of Arts (MA) in Development Studies and Public Policy is a programme introduced by the Marga Institute in collaboration with the Open University of Sri Lanka.
The Open University on its part provides the necessary quality assurance to the teaching function, final examination and certification of the successful students.
The Institute makes available the large body of knowledge it has acquired and the analytical tool kit developed during the last three decades devoted to the study and analysis of development issues in Sri Lanka and in the region.
This joint teaching venture is designed to develop Social Scientist who would be multi-disciplinary in their approach to development issues.

Our objectives are

  • To design Post-graduate courses that provides a well-integrated body of multi-disciplinary knowledge and analytical skills.
  • To build a community of scholars and researchers with multi-disciplinary capabilities and skills.

Eligibility for Admission

(a) A degree from a recognized university with two years of work experience preferably in the fields of planning, administration and implementation of development projects.

(b) Secured an equivalent or higher qualification acceptable to the Senate of the Open University of Sri Lanka. The University will select students for admission from eligible applicants on the basis of a selection test conducted. The selection test will consist of a written examination and an interview.

Medium of Instruction

English will be the language of instruction and assessment.

Programme Structure and Approach to the Study of Development

The MA Programme consists of thirteen regular courses and also two Continuing Education Courses to be offered in Semesters I (one), II (Two), and III (Three) with the subject matter arranged as modules dealing with Historical, Theoretical, and Thematic issues relating to development. The Historical Module will take the student through the different phases of the development process in Sri Lanka after independence.

The Theoretical Module will cover the concepts of development as they evolved in the UN System and in the academic community, the principles of the three main social-sciences Economics, Sociology and Political Science, development indicators and research methodology. The Thematic Module will consist of cross-cutting themes and case studies which are relevant to the understanding of the development process in Sri Lanka.

They are intended to strengthen the multi-disciplinary framework of analysis to be applied for the research dissertation. This knowledge base will enable students of development to be confident in multiperspectival thinking and also play a catalytic role in individual and social system change.

Course Codes and Credit Ratings

This programme will consist of 4 credits worth of Regular Courses and 1/3 credit worth of Continuing Education Courses. The two academic years are divided into four semesters to enable students to give undivided attention to selected courses.

Each semester will be of five months duration.  The Continuing Education Courses are spread throughout the year.

The term credit implies the number of study hours that a student should devote to a particular course.  A credit involves 450 hours of study.

For more information please contact the course coordinator Ms. Yvonne Shockman
Tel: 2888790 (Extension – 115) for further details.