Active Learning in the Teaching of Qualitative Methods in Political Science

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Sanjay Jeram, Department of Political Science

Project team: Marcus Macauley, Steven Nuss, and Monica Petek, research assistants

Timeframe: January 2018 to June 2019

Funding: $6000

Course addressed: POL 200 – Investigating Politics

Final report: View Sanjay Jeram's final report (PDF)

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”?

Knowledge sharing: I had originally planned to present a paper based on this research at CPSA in Summer 2019 but had to delay until 2020. Following the conference presentation, I will submit a manuscript to the Journal of Political Science Education or a similar outlet.

Keywords: Qualitative methods; pedagogy; scaffolding; active learning; political science; tutorial activities