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ERIC Number: EJ1153676
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0144-7394
"I'm Not a Natural Mathematician": Inquiry-Based Learning, Constructive Alignment and Introductory Quantitative Social Science
Clark, Tom; Foster, Liam
Teaching Public Administration, v35 n3 p260-279 Oct 2017
There is continuing concern about the paucity of social science graduates who have the quantitative skills required by academia and industry. Not only do students often lack the confidence to explore, and use, statistical techniques, the dominance of qualitative research in many disciplines has also often constrained programme-level integration of more quantitative material. However, whilst the topic of statistical literacy is relatively well researched within the more general educational literature, the evidence-base with respect to the effectiveness of teaching and learning of quantitative research methods in the social science remains somewhat limited. This paper describes the development, integration and evaluation of a series of student-led inquiry-based quantitative workbooks within a sociology/social policy undergraduate degree. It outlines how the workbooks were constructively aligned within a "methods spine" and offers some insight into quantitative teaching and learning generally. The paper also discusses some of the opportunities and challenges of taking both an aligned and IBL approach to the teaching of quantitative methods. In doing so it adds to growing evidence that 'problem-based pedagogies' tend to increase educational gain over and above more didactic approaches to learning and teaching. It highlights three key findings: programme-level approaches to curriculum design can be crucial in improving quantitative skills, particularly where they are tailored to student needs; a general indifference to quantitative methods is likely to be due to a process of disenfranchisement that happens before and during students' engagement with university; and, meaningfully engaging students as partners in the process of designing, integrating and evaluating curricula can help to overcome some of the barriers associated with the learning and teaching of quantitative skills.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A