Active Learning in the Teaching of Qualitative Methods in Political Science

Grant recipient: Sanjay Jeram, Department of Political Science

Project team: Marcus Macauley and Monica Petek, research assistants

Timeframe: January 2018 to March 2019

Funding: $6000

Course addressed: POL 200 Investigating Politics

Description: This project examines whether students a) advance further in developing research skills and b) feel more confident about engaging in research when they are exposed to more hands on exercises (i.e. “active learning”) rather than passively absorbing information. The intention is not to entirely reconceptualise the course, but supplement the content with interactive and engaging complementary activities.

Questions addressed:

  • Is incorporating these activities and assignments manageable?
  • Do the students feel empowered and able to use qualitative methods?
  • Does students’ work improve? 
  • Do the activities and assignments seem to “work” on a “mechanical level”?

Dissemination: I plan to present my findings at the annual SFU Symposium on Teaching and Learning and at the teaching & learning section at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association in Vancouver, UBC

In addition, I would be happy to share my activities with sessional instructors assigned to teach this course. I would also like to organize a methods instructor symposium across the social sciences to solicit and share ideas.