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100 Activities for Teaching Research Methods

A sourcebook of exercises, games, scenarios and role plays, this practical, user-friendly guide provides a complete and valuable resource for research methods tutors, teachers and lecturers. Developed to complement and enhance existing course materials, the 100 ready-to-use activities encourage innovative and engaging classroom practice in seven areas: finding and using sources of information planning a research project conducting research using and analyzing data disseminating results acting ethically developing deeper research skills. Each of the activities is divided into a section on tutor notes and student handouts. Tutor notes contain clear guidance about the purpose, level and type of activity, along with a range of discussion notes that signpost key issues and research insights. Important terms, related activities and further reading suggestions are also included. Not only does the A4 format make the student handouts easy to photocopy, they are also available to download and print directly from the book's companion website for easy distribution in class.
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION SECTION 1: FINDING AND USING SOURCES OF INFORMATION Activity 1: Distinguishing between Primary and Secondary Sources Activity 2: Finding and Using Primary Sources Activity 3: Improving Observation Skills Activity 4: Assessing Prior Experience and Learning Activity 5: Reflecting on Your Enquiry Skills Activity 6: Using the Internet for Background Research Activity 7: Evaluating Sources Activity 8: Recognizing Statistics, Facts, Arguments and Opinions Activity 9: Discovering Questionable Statistics Published Online Activity 10: Managing Critiques and Reviews Activity 11: Critiquing Quantitative Research Papers Activity 12: Critiquing Qualitative Research Papers Activity 13: Evaluating Science in the Media Activity 14: Recognizing Media and Political Bias Activity 15: Recognizing Research(er) Bias SECTION 2: PLANNING A RESEARCH PROJECT Activity 16: Choosing a Research Topic Activity 17: Producing Aims and Objectives Activity 18: Developing a Research Question Activity 19: Designing a Research Project Activity 20: Choosing Research Methods Activity 21: Using Multiple or Mixed Approaches Activity 22: Knowing About Probability Samples Activity 23: Knowing About Non-Probability (Purposive) Samples Activity 24: Choosing Sample Size Activity 25: Avoiding Sampling Problems Activity 26: Justifying Your Research Topic Activity 27: Defending Methodology Activity 28: Costing a Research Project Activity 29: Producing and Justifying Your Budget Activity 30: Producing a Research Proposal Activity 31: Obtaining Funding Activity 32: Working Collaboratively With Others SECTION 3: CONDUCTING RESEARCH Activity 33: Understanding the Process of Science Activity 34: Knowing About Real-World Scientific Research Activity 35: Avoiding Mistakes in Experiments Activity 36: Undertaking Ethnographic Work Activity 37: Conducting Interviews Activity 38: Constructing Questions Activity 39: Producing an Interview Schedule Activity 40: Running a Focus Group Activity 41: Establishing Rapport Activity 42: Listening to Interviewees Activity 43: Understanding Group Dynamics Activity 44: Recording Techniques Activity 45: Using Observation Techniques Activity 46: Using Visual Methods Activity 47: Designing Questionnaires Activity 48: Administering Questionnaires Activity 49: Improving Response Rates Activity 50: Using the Internet as a Tool for Research SECTION 4: USING AND ANALYSING DATA Activity 51: Reading Scientific Material Activity 52: Improving Data Search Techniques Activity 53: Storing and Using Data Activity 54: Making Use of Statistics Activity 55: Choosing Software for Statistical Analysis Activity 56: Finding and Using Datasets Activity 57: Analysing Quantitative Data Activity 58: Operationalizing and Classifying Activity 59: Ensuring Validity and Reliability in Quantitative Research Activity 60: Understanding Data Management Activity 61: Analysing Qualitative Data Activity 62: Analysing Visual Data Activity 63: Coding and Categorizing Qualitative Data Activity 64: Evaluating Qualitative Analyses Activity 65: Drawing Conclusions from Qualitative Data Activity 66: Knowing About Data Protection SECTION 5: DISSEMINATING RESULTS Activity 67: Presenting to a Lay Audience Activity 68: Dealing With the Media Activity 69: Presenting Conference Papers Activity 70: Writing Journal Papers Activity 71: Disseminating via Social Media Activity 72: Publishing Online Activity 73: Writing an Impact Statement Activity 75: Planning and Writing a Dissertation Activity 74: Overcoming Writer's Block SECTION 6: ACTING ETHICALLY Activity 76: Recognizing Ethical Issues Activity 77: Understanding Legal Requirements Activity 78: Avoiding Plagiarism Activity 79: Producing a Code of Ethics Activity 80: Understanding Issues of Informed Consent Activity 81: Treating Participants with Respect Activity 82: Avoiding Conflict of Interest Activity 83: Understanding Biased Financial Relationships Activity 84: Recognizing and Managing the Funding Effect Activity 85: Knowing about the Ethical Approval Process Activity 86: Collaborating and Co-Operating Ethically Activity 87: Conducting Research that Involves Risk Activity 88: Conducting Research with Vulnerable People Activity 89: Conducting Research with Children SECTION 7: DEVELOPING DEEPER RESEARCH SKILLS Activity 90: Knowing About Epistemology and Ontology Activity 91: Asking Epistemological Questions Activity 92: Understanding Methodology Activity 93: Asking Methodological Questions Activity 94: Locating Epistemological and Methodological Standpoint Activity 95: Understanding Theoretical Perspective Activity 96: Reasoning Inductively and Deductively Activity 97: Recognizing Problems with Reasoning Activity 98: Hypothesizing and Theorizing Activity 99: Generating Theory Inductively and Deductively Activity 100: Identifying Effective Theory

About the Author

Dr Catherine Dawson studied at university in the UK for an undergraduate degree in Combined Humanities, a Master's Degree in Social Research and a PhD that looked at the learning choices of adults returning to education. She has worked as a research assistant, research associate and tutor at various UK universities and as a research and training officer in both the public and private sectors. Over the years she has developed and taught research methods courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students and has designed and delivered bespoke research methods training sessions to employees at all levels in the private sector. During her career she has undertaken a wide variety of publicly and privately funded research projects. Catherine currently works as a freelance researcher and writer, concentrating on research methods, study skills and student finance.


Every university with a Social Science department has to deliver research methods in some capacity, but there is no need for us all to sit in our institutional silos and reinvent the wheel. Dawson provides a huge and varied list of pre-designed activities for methods teachers to draw upon covering the whole research process and an eclectic range of methodological approaches. The activities are pedagogically engaging, comprehensively resourced and provide us with an opportunity to rethink how social science research methods can be taught in a more interactive and engaging way. -- Dr Luke Sloan Catherine's book is a fantastic resource for anyone who is teaching research methods in the social sciences. Covering all aspects of the research process, it is packed full of innovative ideas, useful tips, and structured activities for use within the classroom. If you are a tutor, teacher, or lecturer who is looking to provide interesting and engaging content for your students, this book is an absolute 'must have'. -- Tom Clark

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