SLIIT Students’ Articles Published in Globally Acclaimed Journals with 300 H-index (SJR)
by Rochelle Palipane Gunaratne
SLIIT Business School is the leading education entity in Sri Lanka, recognised for its excellence in higher education and its renown among the corporate community. The distinctive educational scope offered is a portal to the multifaceted business environment of the modern world. Four exemplary students, Venuri Mallikarachchi, Dhanushka Ranawaka, Nishali Perera and Sheron Joachim, supervised by Dr. Ruwan Jajathilaka – belonging to the SLIIT Business School and majoring in Accounting and Finance, received due recognition for their collective thesis by being published as two articles in two reputed, world renowned journals.
Considered a rare achievement at the undergraduate level; the topics centered on the following; ‘Do chronic illnesses and poverty go hand in hand?’ and ‘Chronic diseases: An added burden to income and expenses of chronically-ill people in Sri Lanka’. The scores consisted of Cite Score equaling 5.2 (top 10 %), 300 H Index (Scimago) in Q1 category and 175 H Index (Google scholar h5-index). Professor Samantha Thelijjagoda, Dean of SLIIT Business , stated, “We are immensely proud of the students who have brought this honour to the institute and the Motherland.
The groundbreaking achievement has been acknowledged not merely by one but two renowned journals, which lays claim to the superior quality of its content. Since inception, it has been the goal of SLIIT to foster innovative learning methodologies which will eventually draw the student into his or her greatest potential.” The group of friends initially banded together for group assignments in the formative years of their degree programme. However, realization dawned that the synergy of ideas and work produced outstanding results.
Inevitably they continued to work together as a team in their final research. “A thorough discussion we had with our Research Supervisor gave us an insight on studying further on chronic illnesses and the impact it has on the poverty level of the Sri Lankan community as it is a largely unexplored area in the Sri Lankan context. Initially, we studied over 150 high graded past publications done all over the world to get more information and insight on the area of our focus. We considered this research area to be very significant as globally, the health and quality of life of many citizens have been affected by various Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) where more than two thirds of deaths are caused by a certain type of chronic disease.
Hence, the gap of this area of this particular study had not been explored in-depth, sparking an interest within us,” revealed the students. How was the data collected? “We used secondary data from the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) using a sample of 25,640 housing units covering all the 25 Districts in the country. Director General and the Deputy Director (Statistics) of the Department of Census and Statistics respectively, Dr. I. R. Bandara and S. M. H. N. Samarakoon supported us immensely in issuing us the HIES 2016 data set in in a short duration which was pivotal in executing our research-based study successfully.”
Who were your strongest supporters at SLIIT?
“This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support and guidance given by our research supervisor, Dr. Ruwan Jayathilaka who is an amazing lecturer and mentor in the SLIIT Business School. From inception we were very keen to choose Dr. Ruwan Jayathilaka as our Supervisor as his reputation as an innovative thinker and internationally acclaimed luminary precedes him. The weekly meetings and frequent conference calls even during the pandemic kept us going forward with the development of these articles as we had to make inevitable changes frequently and our supervisor never failed to equip us with his knowledge. “Work hard, dream big, and never give up,” were constantly ingrained into us by him which motivated us to work tirelessly to achieve our goals.
Secondly and most importantly we’d admire the great support our parents gave us by understanding and tolerating our mood swings and being our constant strength by showering their love and blessings on us throughout this journey which surely did help us to overcome tough and challenging times we had to face as a team. The Department of Census and Statistics should be remembered as this research couldn’t have been executed if not for the data they provided in a very short time. Our seniors at the SLIIT Business School were extremely supportive and assisted us by educating us on the basics of STATA- the statistical software we used to analyze the data which was a totally a new area for us to learn.
What’s the extent of support you got from the faculty and staff of SLIIT?
“The Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor of SLIIT respectively, Prof. Lakshman Ratnayake, Prof. Lalith Gamage and Prof. Nimal Rajapakse and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research, Prof. Rahula Attalage should be remembered for giving us the opportunity to conduct our research in this scope. We also extend our gratitude to the Dean of SLIIT Business School, Prof. Samantha Thelijjagoda and all the Heads of Departments of the faculty for the guidance given. Most importantly we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Ruwan Jayathilaka for the immense support, motivation and knowledge shared throughout this journey.
His encouragement and words of wisdom from the beginning drove us to a successful end of this journey. Without his constant guidance and support this publication would have remained as a dream. Our sincere thanks and appreciation goes to the Module Leader of “Comprehensive Research Project”, Prof. Nagalingam Nagendrakumar for the constant guidance, knowledge and support given throughout the period of one whole year. He surely did make the lecture very exciting and interesting. We also remember our instructor for CRP, Nipuni Wijesundara for her support and guidance akin to a friend assisting us constantly to make our research a success. We also thank all the lecturers, instructors and the entire staff of the SLIIT Business School who extended to us a helping hand in numerous ways to make these publications a reality.
What were some of challenges faced?
One of the main challenges we faced was to balance our work life, since all of us were employed and on the other hand, we had assignments, presentations and semester exams related to the course. Therefore, balancing everything simultaneously was challenging. In your opinion how can you impact people with the work you have done? How do you intend to impact the world through this initiative? The findings in our study can mainly impact the policy makers such as the Government and insurance companies to develop policies and schemes to support patients suffering with various chronic diseases which may alleviate the financial burden and bring succor to the patient afflicted with NCD and their loved ones.
Moreover, our findings may impact the Sri Lankan medical bodies along with authorities in the South Asian context to realise the availability of medical facilities within their possession and take necessary actions to make medical facilities and medical drugs available for patients in order to prevent fatalities that may occur due to lack of facilities and medication required to keep the disease under control.”