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The Importance of Teaching Research Methods to Undergrads
Unformatted Document Text:  1 I counted taking and passing the Research Methods course as the treatment, thus failing or withdrawing from the course was not considered part of the treatment. Any grades in political science course between failing the Methods course and retaking it and receiving a passing grade were all considered part of the observation before treatment. While it may be considered that taking the course regardless of performance constitutes exposure to the treatment, I would argue that if the student did not pass the course, then he or she would not have adequately gotten the elements of the course necessary to produce benefits. 2 This percentage comes from surveys of the Research Methods students of Fall 2007 and Winter 2008. 3 This percentage is far greater than for any other element in the course. For example, only 29.5% said they were looking forward to generating and testing hypotheses. Meanwhile, 38% said they were interested in learning about different research designs, and 46.5% reported interest in gaining hands-on experience conducting research. 4 The coefficient for confidence in logic skills was -11.7, with a standard error of 2.7, significant at the p < .001 level. For confidence in math skills, the coefficient was -4.3, with a standard error of 2.2 and a p-value equal to .057. For confidence in writing skills, the coefficient was 2.0, with a standard error of 3.1, and a p-value equal to .5. References Adams, Greg. 2001. “Teaching Undergraduate Methods.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 2-4. Alvarez, R. Michael, ed. 1992. “Methods Training: Student Perspectives.” Political Methodologist 5 (spring): 2-9. Brandon, Amy, Mitchell Brown, Christopher Lawrence, and Jennifer Van Heerde. 2006. “Teaching Research Methods Track Summary” in “2006 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summaries” PS: Political Science and Politics (July), p. 535. Brown, Mitchell, Leland Coxe, and David Richards. 2007. “Track One: Teaching Research Methods” in “2007 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summaries” PS: Political Science and Politics (July), p. 575-576. Clawson, Rosalee, Aaron Hoffman, and James A. McCann. 2001. “If Only We Knew Then What We Know Now: A Few Reflections on Teaching Undergraduate Quantitative Methods Courses.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 4-5. Hojnacki, Marie. 2001. “Teaching Undergraduates About the Quantitative Study of Politics.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 5-6. Janda, Kenneth. 2001. “Teaching Research Methods: The Best Job in the Department.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 6-7. Lewis-Beck, Michael S. 2001. “Teaching Undergraduate Methods: Overcoming ‘Stat’ Anxiety.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 7-9. Stone, Peter. 2001. “Making the World Safe for Methods.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 9- 10. van Gelder, Tim. 2001. “Critical Thinking: Some Lessons Learned.” Adult Learning Commentary. 12 (May): 1.

Authors: Gjestland, Jade-Celene.
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1
I counted taking and passing the Research Methods course as the treatment, thus failing or withdrawing from the course
was not considered part of the treatment. Any grades in political science course between failing the Methods course and
retaking it and receiving a passing grade were all considered part of the observation before treatment. While it may be
considered that taking the course regardless of performance constitutes exposure to the treatment, I would argue that if the
student did not pass the course, then he or she would not have adequately gotten the elements of the course necessary to
produce benefits.
2
This percentage comes from surveys of the Research Methods students of Fall 2007 and Winter 2008.
3
This percentage is far greater than for any other element in the course. For example, only 29.5% said they were looking
forward to generating and testing hypotheses. Meanwhile, 38% said they were interested in learning about different research
designs, and 46.5% reported interest in gaining hands-on experience conducting research.
4
The coefficient for confidence in logic skills was -11.7, with a standard error of 2.7, significant at the p < .001 level. For
confidence in math skills, the coefficient was -4.3, with a standard error of 2.2 and a p-value equal to .057. For confidence
in writing skills, the coefficient was 2.0, with a standard error of 3.1, and a p-value equal to .5.
References
Adams, Greg. 2001. “Teaching Undergraduate Methods.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 2-4.
Alvarez, R. Michael, ed. 1992. “Methods Training: Student Perspectives.” Political
Methodologist 5 (spring): 2-9.
Brandon, Amy, Mitchell Brown, Christopher Lawrence, and Jennifer Van Heerde. 2006.
“Teaching Research Methods Track Summary” in “2006 APSA Teaching and Learning
Conference Track Summaries” PS: Political Science and Politics (July), p. 535.
Brown, Mitchell, Leland Coxe, and David Richards. 2007. “Track One: Teaching Research
Methods” in “2007 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summaries” PS: Political
Science and Politics
(July), p. 575-576.
Clawson, Rosalee, Aaron Hoffman, and James A. McCann. 2001. “If Only We Knew Then What
We Know Now: A Few Reflections on Teaching Undergraduate Quantitative Methods
Courses.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 4-5.
Hojnacki, Marie. 2001. “Teaching Undergraduates About the Quantitative Study of Politics.”
Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 5-6.
Janda, Kenneth. 2001. “Teaching Research Methods: The Best Job in the Department.” Political
Methodologist 10 (fall): 6-7.
Lewis-Beck, Michael S. 2001. “Teaching Undergraduate Methods: Overcoming ‘Stat’ Anxiety.”
Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 7-9.
Stone, Peter. 2001. “Making the World Safe for Methods.” Political Methodologist 10 (fall): 9-
10.
van Gelder, Tim. 2001. “Critical Thinking: Some Lessons Learned.” Adult Learning
Commentary. 12 (May): 1.


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