Effectively Teaching Research Methods as a Series of Simulation Exercises


This chapter explores a research methods course that moves away from a “final big project” approach and instead structures the learning around a series of miniature simulations. These simulation exercises occur once every two weeks throughout the semester. In simulation sessions, students are randomly grouped with three or four other students. The group is given a fictional role (e.g., consulting firm) and scenario and must use the entire 75-minute session to accomplish a specific research-related task or solve a research-related challenge. The group then simultaneously co-author a report on their findings within a single Google Docs file. After providing course background and a simulation example, the chapter presents data designed to capture the effec- tiveness of simulations conducted in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

J. Bernstein (ed.), Teaching Research Methods in Political Science. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing