Teaching Research Methods: Alternatives to Assigning Research Papers
As a longstanding psychology faculty member at my institution, I routinely teach junior-level classes on research methods in the social sciences. Successful completion of an undergraduate course in research methods is vital not only in my field but in many others where, if not expected to conduct research, students (especially those headed for graduate school) must understand applied research mechanisms and processes. Many college graduates in a variety of professional positions need to be able to make informed decisions about research findings. However, the technically complex content of a research methods course often makes it difficult to keep students interested and motivated, and, at the same time, provide meaningful learning experiences. In meeting these challenges, I find it useful to integrate constructivist learning assignments into the course.