What is it about?

This research looks at the impact of restructuring a graduate research methods module into a two-week block and utilizing a student-centered approach. The impact on student’s grades for the module and their readiness and preparedness to undertake their own research was assessed. It was found that students who undertook the new format achieved better scores than a previous cohort and student’s achieved better grades for the module in relation to other modules they had undertaken. Faculty also reported that students were more prepared to undertake their own research after completing the research methods module in the new format. However, there was a wider standard deviation of grades for students on the new module. This indicated that some students struggled with the new format.

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Why is it important?

It has been highlighted that many students struggle learning research methods. It has been suggest that this is part due to students perceiving the material to be complex and technical in nature and a belief that learning research methods is difficult and largely irrelevant. This research found that teaching research methods through a student-centered approach and in a condensed manner improved the grades of students and better prepared them to carry out their own research.


The research undertaken largely indicated that adopting a student-centered approach and condensing the material positively impacted the grades. However, it is not possible to separate the impact that the student-centered approach and condensed nature of the course had. It should be noted from the increased standard deviation of the grades that some students struggled with the module. It is believed that this was because some students did not engage well with the student-centered approach, whilst others struggled with the intensive nature of the condensed format.

Professor Robin Bell
University of Worcester

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The continuing search to find a more effective and less intimidating way to teach research methods in higher education, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, September 2014, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/14703297.2014.956780.
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