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 Heather Sullivan
 Erica De Bruin
Erica De Bruin. Photo: Nancy L. Ford

Teaching Undergraduates Research Methods: A ‘Methods Lab’ Approach,” by Assistant Professor of Government Heather Sullivan and Associate Professor of Government Erica De Bruin, was recently published online as a FirstView article in PS: Political Science & Politics.

The article introduces another way to teach undergraduates about the types of research used in political science. In their methods lab approach, Sullivan and De Bruin say students are instructed about a specific research method and are provided an opportunity to practice it before using the method in their own research. They say that these methods labs “can help students craft more creative research designs as well as understand the strengths and potential pitfalls associated with each method, making the subsequent process of writing a research paper or thesis easier.”

The article includes examples of methods labs and includes a discussion of the authors’ own experiences in implementing the labs. Sullivan and De Bruin also describe how this approach could fit into different types of courses and offer suggestions for developing labs for other types of research methods.

After using this method for two years, the authors note that they have found that “students develop more creative senior thesis projects with more varied research methods than those developed in previous years.”

PS: Political Science & Politics is published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association.

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