HET -group researcher in the spotlight: Tahani Z. Fourah (Al Dahdouh)

  • Doctoral student in the area of technology in education, technology acceptance, professional development and innovativeness in higher education
  • A member of the Internationalisation – team

How did you become a researcher?

I first began my studies in the field of computer engineering and did my Bachelor’s Degree in that field. But when I became a mother, that inspired me to find out about how children learn and what motivates them. Because mother is a child’s first teacher, I read deeply in the education field to find answers to my questions. That inspired me to study more and so I did my Master’s Degree in education. During my Master studies, I became a teacher assistant at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) – Palestine. I was responsible for teaching the practical part of Educational Technology courses. Due to that employment, I became more engaged in the field of educational technology and decided to continue my educational studies. So, I applied to start my doctoral studies at University of Tampere in Finland three years ago.

So the desire to study education became through my children and forward my professional career. Having my background in the field of computer engineering I have tried to focus my educational studies in the field of educational technology.

What is your current role in the HET -research group?

I am a member of the Internationalisation -team.

What kind of research are you doing at the moment?

I am working on my doctoral research “Investigating Innovation Adoption at Tampere Higher Education Institutions”. University of Tampere (UTA), Tampere University of Technology (TUT), and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) started a “re-structure” initiative; they seek to join forces and merge in a new institution, called Tampere3. In addition, they adopted a “technology” initiative; they have signed an agreement with Microsoft Corporation to provide Cloud Computing services (Microsoft Office 365) to their students and staff members. The aim of my research is to investigate the psychological and organizational factors that may influence adoption of innovation initiatives such as Tampere3 and Cloud Computing services initiatives. My research follows a mixed method where I use both quantitative and qualitative approaches in sequential manner. In the first phase, I published two questionnaires for the whole staff members at Tampere3. After that in the second phase and based on the results of the survey, I will select a stratified sample to write stories about their expectations and fears of accepting or rejecting changes. The collected stories will be analyzed qualitatively and will be used to confirm the results of the questionnaires in the earlier stages of the study.

What’s it like to be a researcher?

I would describe being a researcher as something like a man who digs earth to reach the truth. The truth might not exist at the first place, but he doesn’t give up and continues to dig hoping to find the truth before long. So being a researcher requires perseverance and a desire to find the truth. To be a researcher also means that your mind works even if you are not aware of it. It is working constantly and you should accept that to be able to achieve your goals.

What kind of challenges are related in research?

From my experience, I find that there are three kind of challenges. The first is managing time and schedule. When I was studying computer engineering, we used to design a schedule for the work and nearly always were able to finish the task at time. In the field of education, it is different because we are dealing with human beings and many things overlap and interfere with the schedule and therefore you constantly have to update your schedule.

The second challenge is the cultural differences. For me, being an international researcher here at university of Tampere, I face many challenges due to misunderstanding the Finnish culture. That has caused some trouble and uncomfortable feeling but I am still learning everyday to overcome this challenge.

The third challenge is about being a wife, mother and researcher at the same time. I consider it a great responsibility and the challenge is how to manage between the three roles and how to achieve progress in the three fields. It requires a lot of patience indeed and a careful planning as well as quick decisions in everyday tasks.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the quotation which says:

”There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”

I am inspired by a growth mindset according to which if the thing doesn’t challenge you, it will not change you. So challenges and failures teach me and motivate me to go forward and correct my path to achieve progress in my life.