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The Importance of Teaching Research Methods to Undergrads
Unformatted Document Text:  of the most important things we want to encourage is critical thinking and analysis and it appears students are also quite interested in that as well. However, only 21% said they felt they had actually learned more about causal logic and argumentation due to the course. This suggests we can do more to show them how the course teaches skills in logic. 6. They respond well to sympathy and patience from instructors. Of course, as instructors, we know we should exhibit patience and work to maintain a positive relationship with our students. However, I include this in my findings because it appears this class presents a little extra challenge for instructors, especially if you’re sensitive to student feelings about the course. It can be easy to get frustrated or bogged down when a large number of your students are frustrated or come into class full of negativity. So it becomes even more important that we maintain our own positive and encouraging demeanor to continue motivating the students even when they want to give up. If students sense you are on their side no matter what, they appreciate it and are often compelled to keep trying. 7. What they really need is time. Since many of the concepts are new or foreign to the students, several have said they wished they had had more time—they felt they were on the cusp of really “getting it”, but were also overwhelmed by all they had to do. Some said they really would have liked to have more practice problems to do or more time to work with the material. One girl reported that “now that I know what I’m doing, this is actually very fun.” Thus they actually would prefer learning the concepts more deeply and just need more opportunity to do so. This finding makes quite a bit of sense, considering that what they are really learning are skills which require practice, not just rote memorization. This is one important difference between Research Methods and other courses: Methods is about learning skills. It’s not about memorizing the differences between 11

Authors: Gjestland, Jade-Celene.
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of the most important things we want to encourage is critical thinking and analysis and it appears
students are also quite interested in that as well. However, only 21% said they felt they had
actually learned more about causal logic and argumentation due to the course. This suggests we
can do more to show them how the course teaches skills in logic.
6. They respond well to sympathy and patience from instructors.
Of course, as instructors, we know we should exhibit patience and work to maintain a
positive relationship with our students. However, I include this in my findings because it appears
this class presents a little extra challenge for instructors, especially if you’re sensitive to student
feelings about the course. It can be easy to get frustrated or bogged down when a large number
of your students are frustrated or come into class full of negativity. So it becomes even more
important that we maintain our own positive and encouraging demeanor to continue motivating
the students even when they want to give up. If students sense you are on their side no matter
what, they appreciate it and are often compelled to keep trying.
7. What they really need is time.
Since many of the concepts are new or foreign to the students, several have said they
wished they had had more time—they felt they were on the cusp of really “getting it”, but were
also overwhelmed by all they had to do. Some said they really would have liked to have more
practice problems to do or more time to work with the material. One girl reported that “now that
I know what I’m doing, this is actually very fun.” Thus they actually would prefer learning the
concepts more deeply and just need more opportunity to do so. This finding makes quite a bit of
sense, considering that what they are really learning are skills which require practice, not just
rote memorization. This is one important difference between Research Methods and other
courses: Methods is about learning skills. It’s not about memorizing the differences between
11


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