Teaching methods: pedagogical challenges in moving beyond traditionally separate quantitative and qualitative classrooms

Ferrie, J. and Spreckelsen, T. (2023) Teaching methods: pedagogical challenges in moving beyond traditionally separate quantitative and qualitative classrooms. Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2), pp. 16-36. (doi: 10.56230/osotl.64)

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Teaching methods is tough. But why exactly is this so? In the social sciences, research methods courses may be the most important and yet the most undervalued. QAA benchmark statements that deliver UK national standards all signify that methods teaching is essential. In terms of applicability, learning how to evaluate and produce knowledge has high relevance for employability. In the UK, methods courses, compared with disciplinary courses, tend to have lower investment with relatively small and early-career teaching teams and taught to large groups of students (Ferrie et al., 2022) despite being considered ‘core’. This paper draws together literature on the pedagogy of methods with reflexive practice to critically consider what methods educators and learners can do to engage optimally with the learner experience. This paper begins by considering how teaching of numeric- and text-based data produces a different learning environment to disciplinary learning, before considering how they are different to each other. The paper will then outline two pedagogic devices that have helped students early on in their understanding of research practice, grasp something of an holistic understanding of how research methods operate. The ‘pine tree and the oak tree’ analogy helps students transform their learning practices. The ‘dirty greenhouse’ analogy, used with undergraduates and postgraduates (in large joint Social Sciences course at a large UK university), helps students scaffold their learning and get a quick grasp on what the value of methods courses are. The paper will argue that students are aided by having visual frameworks that help them: transcend the quantitative/qualitative binary while also; enhancing their critical approach to knowledge production and understanding better what a ‘defence’ in our research writing aims to do.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Quantitative, qualitative, pedagogy, research methods, social sciences.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ferrie, Dr Jo and Spreckelsen, Dr Thees
Authors: Ferrie, J., and Spreckelsen, T.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Publisher:Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
ISSN (Online):2752-4116
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 Jo Ferrie, Thees Spreckelsen
First Published:First published in Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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