Bridging the Gap: 'In between' Research Methods Course and Senior Thesis
12 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2010
Recently, discussions about teaching research methods among APSA Teaching & Learning Conference participants have focused on understanding the relationship between methods courses and the broader discipline, including the need to integrate qualitative methods and other approaches beyond the traditional statistical approaches still common in the majority of undergraduate research methods courses. This paper seeks to contribute to this conversation, based on my own experience as a comparativist teaching research methods courses at small, liberal arts institutions. My own, limited experience suggests that teaching the basic elements of research design and qualitative techniques is as important (if not more important) than teaching statistical techniques—and that it is important to do so across the discipline. From this, I propose a brief outline of objectives critical to writing a successful senior or honors thesis in political science that can—and should—be taught both in research methods courses and across the discipline’s curriculum.
Keywords: teaching, research methods, undergraduate thesis, political science
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