Sociology students’ responses to pragmatic teaching of quantitative and qualitative research methods.
“The deficit in quantitative methods traces to undergraduate programmes in sociology, which typically require little or nothing of the students in statistics, and indeed do not even offer much in the way of statistical coursework. One explanation is that students who elect sociology are drawn from those who were not mathematically inclined in school, and hence were channelled away from math and science at age 16.” (BSA, HaPS and ESRC, 2010, p23).
Denise Hale and Harshad Keval Canterbury Christ Church University
How do you feel about studying quantitative methods?
Delighted 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Terrible
NB: The Delighted-Terrible scale was evaluated by Andrews and Withey (1976)
Less independent study
Outcomes for the class test, project & module:
Number of students by class of degree
10 items from Williams et al (2008) survey of undergraduates
Respondents are students from 2 modules within Sociology
‘ On the whole, I am not good at maths’
Delighted – Terrible Frequencies*
How do you feel about the prospect of further study of quantitative methods?
How do you feel about the prospect of further study of qualitative methods?
* Original 7-point scale reduced to 3 categories: Delighted (D), Neutral (N) and Terrible (T)
Free choice of research topic led to
Merit of traditional methods: lectures & worksheets
A greater proportion of taught sessions is needed to support students on a demanding module during the ‘sophomore slump’
Andrews, F. M. and Withey, S. B. (1976), Social Indicators of Well-Being, New York: Plenum Press.
BSA, HaPS and ESRC (2010) International Benchmarking Review of UK Sociology.
Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods (3rdEdn). Oxford University Press
Byrne, D. (2012) UK Sociology and Quantitative Methods: Are We as Weak as They Think? Or Are They Barking up the Wrong Tree? Sociology, 46(1), 13-24.
Hammersley, M. (2012) Is it possible to teach social research methods well today? HEA Social Sciences teaching and learning summit: Teaching research methods. University of Warwick, 21-22 June 2012.
Lalonde, R. N. and Gardner, R.C. (1993) Statistics as a Second Language? A Model for Predicting Performance in Psychology Students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 25(1), 108-125
Matthews, B. and Ross, L. (2010) Research Methods. A Practical Guide for the Social Sciences. Longman.
Norris, G., Qureshi, F., Howitt, D. and Cramer, D. (2012) Introduction to Statistics with SPSS for Social Science. Pearson.
Williams, M., Payne, G., Hodgkinson, L. and Poade, D. (2008) Does British Sociology Count? Sociology Students’ attitudes toward Quantitative Methods. Sociology, 42(5), 1003-1021