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Research Methods Teaching: Effective Learning Through a Discipline Embedded Approach UALTC , January 2010. Cristina Leston-Bandeira Department of Politics and International Studies. Contents. Methods and Politics Approaches to teaching methods in politics

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Research Methods Teaching: Effective Learning Through a Discipline Embedded ApproachUALTC, January 2010

Cristina Leston-Bandeira

Department of Politics and International Studies

contents
Contents
  • Methods and Politics
  • Approaches to teaching methods in politics
  • Context for new provision in methods
  • Engaging students
  • Outcomes
  • Challenges
methods and politics
Methods and Politics
  • Very strong divide: Quantsvs Qualitative
  • Strong differentiation of those who can
  • Roberts agenda / ESRC investment
  • 2007 international benchmarking
  • Politics students’ characteristics
approaches to teaching methods in politics
Approaches to teaching methods in politics
  • Compulsory in only third of Departments
  • Main focus: method, quantitative
  • Differentiated from politics
  • Difficult to teach, not engaging
context for new provision in methods
Context for new provision in methods
  • Standardisation of programmes structure
  • Need for provision in methods, but how?
  • What for? Sophisticated use of quants or development of research skills?
  • Second year compulsory module
  • Focused on the research process
  • Long-thin
  • Blended teaching
  • Integration with discipline
paths of research in politics
Paths of Research in Politics
  • A means to develop their interests in politics
  • Choice, definition and implementation
  • Research Proposal (20%) + Research Report (80%)
  • Cater for individual topics
  • Individual support
  • Variety of methodologies
paths of research in politics1
Paths of Research in Politics
  • VLE: at the centre
  • Lectures: preparatory tasks with associated activity
  • Workshops
  • Multiple handouts
    • The Ethics Issues
    • The Rough Guides
engaging students
Engaging students
  • Workshops
    • Essential
    • Individual support
    • Browsing through past work
  • Blogger
    • For diary logs
    • Reflective Statement
  • Wikifor reliable weblinks
  • Defining Research Question
    • Through Forums
  • Lecture tasks
    • Linked to their research interest
    • Basis for activity in lecture
  • FAQs in Forum
    • Continuity of support
    • Meeting diversity of research styles
outcomes
Outcomes
  • Innovative, varied and excellent research projects
    • Effect of Margaret Thatcher on Popular Culture
    • Does Blair answer the question?
    • The development of the Burmese movement for democracy
    • Why were Obama’s speeches so inspirational?
  • Very good feedback (GPA= 3.30)
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“Interesting module - refreshing to have a module in which I can have independence to do my own work.”

  • “The mini tasks set for each lecture were useful in increasing my understanding of various aspects of research and motivation to do the module.”’
  • “The activities were interesting in the lectures.”
  • “Workshop style structure was very useful.”
  • “Doing research on my own was different and very interesting. I really feel I have learnt a lot of new things which will help me with the rest of my degree and the help and support has been fantastic.”
outcomes1
Outcomes
  • Many of the topics and/or methods further developed at dissertation and/or placement projects
  • Model replicated in new research based modules
challenges
Challenges
  • To deal with 70+ different topics
  • Time! Ideally, 20 students per tutor
  • Keep continuity of contact through VLE
  • Keep setting targets and chasing progress
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Paths works because it engages students in the process of doing research
  • Development of research skills led by interest in politics
  • Acquisition of research skills which can be further developed into any methodological style
  • Blended learning approach: key
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