All posts by marymutahi

Publishing a research paper

It got me thinking recently,My mentor, a health scientist publishes research papers on HIV, Malaria and TB. He travels the world attending conferences and presenting his publications. I admire his life so much that I have gained interest in research and publishing.

During my first attachment, I used to collect data twice a week by weighing 320 chicks put in 4 blocks each assigned to a specific amount of an amino acid. The experiment was to study the effect of the amino acid on growth of chicks during their first 4 weeks after they are hatched. During my second attachment, I was studying the effect of fertilizer and pesticides on the overall yield and disease attack of various legumes. On my third attachment, I was evaluating maize variety that is most favorable to grow in the Western Kenya climate. All scientists I worked with used statistics knowledge in the designing the study, collecting data, analyzing the data and presenting the findings. From these experiences what I gathered was that in order to publish a research paper, I needed to study and research on HIV, Malaria, TB, chicken, legumes or maize, generate data, then use my statistics knowledge to correlate, regress, generate models and graphs then publish.

Thing are different now. I am neither using a rain gauge, thermometer or the whole weather station to collect climate data nor studying climate phenomena. I am documenting on functions from R codes meant to be used in analysis of climate data.

I now know that as a statistician, I can generate codes and functions for analysis of HIV, Malaria, TB, chicken, legumes, maize…data and publish a research paper.



The fact that I had to address an audience of 200 development studies students plus my colleagues was freaking me out. Representing AMI (African Maths Initiative) freaked me out more, but I had to. I had to talk about my experience and role as a volunteer at AMI. Writing a talk then memorizing it was my only option, I had never spoken to such a big audience. I wrote several but each on memorizing, it was like a boring speech with the tone of a lecture. I would hate listening to such a speech.

On Wednesday, 2 days later, an idea struck me, INTEGRITY. Wholeness, oneness, being an honest me, doing from my heart, are all part of integrity. By being me I had to try be spontaneous in writing the talk, expressing myself the feminine way made me feel composed and I could now see myself speaking to the audience.

It was exactly the same in front of the audience. I was completely in touch with myself, aware of every statement I was making and how I was expressing it, I could even listen to myself while talking. When I smiled, it felt like an energy coming from deep inside me and when the crowd smiled back I felt in like I was in control of myself and the crowd. My experience and role in AMI is exactly how I said it was, that was me.

4 minutes later I was done, shaking a bit but not really so noticeable. That felt like my best moment, the audience’s applauses confirmed it.

It was not really perfect but a worth first time…planning is key.