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Fostering Active Learning in Research Methods Courses Through the Use of Survey Research Projects

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Abstract:

The challenge of poor student engagement is no greater than in political science research methods courses. The goal for instructors is, therefore, to develop pedagogic techniques and class assignments that enhance the learning experience. Scholarship has demonstrated how an “active learning” approach may effectively fill divides and connect mismatches between instructor, student, and the learning process. In this paper, I outline a proposal for active learning and enhancing student engagement in research methods courses through the use of survey research projects. This semester-long group project requires students form groups in which they design and administer public opinion questionnaires that examine the political and - or social attitudes of the university community. Following data collection, students analyze the data and report key findings to the class in a final presentation. Each step along the way requires students apply key concepts in a practical way toward completion of the assignment. While many students are well-versed in substantive subject matters, this is often their first opportunity to actually do political science, to serve as principle investigators by independently answering research questions in a scientifically valid manner. As such, this project may serve as an active learning tool, which is highly instructive and also empowering for both students and instructors.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

group (85), student (78), research (73), polit (45), learn (41), present (34), data (34), 1 (30), project (29), survey (28), activ (27), question (27), support (27), questionnair (25), use (22), scienc (21), 2 (21), 3 (20), task (20), work (20), cours (20),

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Research Methods, Active Learning, Survey Research, Projects
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Name: APSA Teaching and Learning Conference
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http://www.apsanet.org


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MLA Citation:

DeWitt, Jeff. "Fostering Active Learning in Research Methods Courses Through the Use of Survey Research Projects" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, California, Feb 22, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245611_index.html>

APA Citation:

DeWitt, J. R. , 2008-02-22 "Fostering Active Learning in Research Methods Courses Through the Use of Survey Research Projects" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, California Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245611_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The challenge of poor student engagement is no greater than in political science research methods courses. The goal for instructors is, therefore, to develop pedagogic techniques and class assignments that enhance the learning experience. Scholarship has demonstrated how an “active learning” approach may effectively fill divides and connect mismatches between instructor, student, and the learning process. In this paper, I outline a proposal for active learning and enhancing student engagement in research methods courses through the use of survey research projects. This semester-long group project requires students form groups in which they design and administer public opinion questionnaires that examine the political and - or social attitudes of the university community. Following data collection, students analyze the data and report key findings to the class in a final presentation. Each step along the way requires students apply key concepts in a practical way toward completion of the assignment. While many students are well-versed in substantive subject matters, this is often their first opportunity to actually do political science, to serve as principle investigators by independently answering research questions in a scientifically valid manner. As such, this project may serve as an active learning tool, which is highly instructive and also empowering for both students and instructors.

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