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A toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a Sociology fieldtrip. Carole Sutton & Alison Anderson. Research Methods Skills Deficits. Crisis in quantitative skills and reasoning in contemporary social science education

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a toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a sociology fieldtrip

A toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a Sociology fieldtrip

Carole Sutton & Alison Anderson

research methods skills deficits
Research Methods Skills Deficits
  • Crisis in quantitative skills and reasoning in contemporary social science education
  • While qualitative methods tend to be more intrinsically appealing to students they are often taught in stand alone methods modules
  • New more engaging approaches must be developed based upon real-world, policy relevant generic themes
project aims
Project Aims
  • To produce a transferable pedagogic toolkit for embedding more methods teaching (qualitative and quantitative) into the UK sociology curriculum
  • To provide students with greater hands on, participative, training in research methods skills that will meet the changing needs of employers in the private, public and third sectors.
  • To increase the knowledge, application and use of quantitative methods amongst undergraduates within the social sciences.
the fieldtrip pilot
The Fieldtrip - Pilot
  • One day structured fieldtrip supported by prior classroom and E-based activities and the provision of tutor and student toolkits
  • Based on the two themes of:
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Deprivation
  • Two contrasting urban areas
prior classroom based activities
Prior Classroom Based Activities
  • Introductory lecture (ONS neighbourhood stats, national accounts of wellbeing interactive maps etc)
  • Student group completion of the workbook activities
  • Group and individual student completion of e-based resources guide
  • Completion of risk assessment and tutor led explanation of the mini-field trip
mini fieldtrip activities
Mini Fieldtrip Activities

• Students worked in small groups to read through relevant materials

• Walking street ethnography – students followed route, took notes and photographic observations

• Tutor shadowed the student group, observing their progression and where appropriate facilitated the process.

post mini fieldtrip activities
Post Mini Fieldtrip Activities

Classroom based formative discussion on:

  • comparing and contrasting the two neighbourhood areas
  • contribution of the different evidence resources and observations/images to understandings about the two neighbourhoods
evaluation
Evaluation
  • Student feedback on the field trip aspects of the toolkit.
  • Student completion of an evaluation form and follow-up focus group discussion
  • Separate evaluation discussion between the two academic tutors.
  • When embedded into the formal curriculum this can be followed by a summative assessment (e.g. group report or poster presentation).
evaluation student comments
Evaluation & Student Comments

“Exploring areas of Plymouth I had never been before and actually noticing things I’d never looked at before.”

“Actually seeing the differences in

housing for yourself and being there

makes it easier to grasp the concept.

It makes it more real and perhaps for

some people easier to learn.”

“Being able to explore areas of Plymouth. Getting insights into deprivation.”

“Actually applying sociological imagination to the real world.”

going live embedded 2011 12
“Going Live” Embedded 2011/12

Sociological Key Concepts & Skills (Stage 1)

Tutorial system

  • Pre-field work tasks
  • Facilitate problem based learning approach

Assessment

  • Group Poster(20%) & student presentation (20%)
student feedback
Student feedback
  • Learning task enabled students to ‘get to know each other better’
  • New perspectives on Plymouth and what it has to offer
  • Creating the poster
  • Materials too long
  • Group work and freeloaders
  • Some organisation aspects
staff feedback
Staff feedback
  • Positive activity
  • Group size 3-4 worked
  • Students generally enjoyed the activity
  • Reverse schedule: Field work first
  • Experiential aspects vs Quantitative Sources
  • Revisions to materials
  • Assessment
  • Resources
future directions
Future Directions
  • Continue in 2012/13
  • Workbook changes
  • Module management
  • Assessment
slide17

Thanks for listening!

For further details about the project:

Email:

csutton@plymouth.ac.ukaanderson@plymouth.ac.uk

Copies of the materials are available on jorum http://resources.jorum.ac.uk/

Suggest waiting for the updated versions!!