A toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a Sociology fieldtrip Alison Anderson and Carole Sutton
Research Methods Skills Deficits <ul><li>Crisis in quantitative skills and reasoning in contemporary social science educat...
McInnes Report 2009 <ul><li>“ Beyond economics and psychology, social science undergraduate quantitative methods teaching ...
McInnes Report 2009 <ul><li>The [substantive course] lecturers never mention anything about stats in our lectures at all. ...
Project Aims  <ul><li>To produce a transferable pedagogic toolkit for embedding more methods teaching (qualitative and qua...
<ul><li>One day structured fieldtrip supported by prior classroom and E-based activities and the provision of tutor and st...
Prior Classroom Based Activities <ul><li>Introductory lecture (ONS neighbourhood stats, national accounts of wellbeing int...
Mini Fieldtrip Activities <ul><li>• Students worked in small groups to read through relevant materials </li></ul><ul><li>•...
Post Mini Fieldtrip Activities <ul><li>Classroom based formative discussion on:  </li></ul><ul><li>comparing and contrasti...
Evaluation <ul><li>Student feedback on the field trip aspects of the toolkit. </li></ul><ul><li>Student completion of an e...
Student Comments on the Value of the Fieldtrip  <ul><li>“ Exploring areas of Plymouth I had never been before and actually...
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Anderson & Sutton: A toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a sociology fieldtrip

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This presentation was delivered during the C-SAP showcase event on 24 October 2011, for more information see csapshowcase.wordpress.com

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  • The project builds upon an earlier C-SAP funded University of Plymouth led project which examined the teaching and use of quantitative methods in British Sociology (Williams et al. 2004). This pilot study found that quantitative methods tended to be perceived in a negative light by undergraduate Sociology students and this view was often perpetuated by staff. Methods module often taught as standalone. 3) A solid foundation in methodology and methods is recognised as a valuable transferable skill when entering the graduate employment market. Indeed data analysis and reporting skills are central to many positions in the private, public and third sector.
  • John McInnes appointed strategic advisor for ESRC in Jan 2009 to enhance undergrad teaching of quantitative methods across the social sciences. Found students had insufficient training and often not enough use of secondary data analysis.
  • Malcolm Williams undertook a survey in 2004. He found that all of the Sociology departs surveyed offered at least some quantitative methods and that this made up between 5 and 15% of the degree. However, staff felt that there was a crisis of numbers in British Sociology, with students unenthusiastic about quantitative methods and with many barriers to effective teaching. Three quarters of Sociology staff surveyed at the British Sociological Association conference thought that students chose a degree in Sociology in order to avoid having to deal with numbers and two thirds thought Sociology students were not numerate. The staff consultation days, undertaken later, reinforced the view that students perceived quantitative work negatively.
  • Two contrasting areas of Devonport and Hartley. Devonport very run down – very high levels of poverty, obesity, social problems. The secret millionaire, Marcelle Spencer, went undercover in Devonport. Was shocked at lack of community. Hartley – leafy middle-class area more open green space
  • Workbook – lots of hands on exercises eg getting students to look at Social Trends and life expectancy rates, Question Bank on health status Risk assessment procedures for field trips will vary by institution and will depend on the type/nature of the field trip. Since this is a local field trip and the walk route is prescribed the risks are limited. Risk assessments involve: Identifying hazards Deciding who might be harmed and how Undertaking an evaluation of the risks and management of risks as a precaution Recording of potential risks/hazards Reviewing process and update
  • The pre-field trip task of exploring the quantitative data and neighbourhood profiles was found to be useful by the students; with some evidence that students were critically reflecting on how the quantitative data relates to their observational data. In addition students were critically reflecting on the relationship between concepts, operational definitions and data collection. There was widespread agreement that the statistical resources provided a valuable evidence base that they would return to in independent study/research.
  • Following the successful pilot fieldtrip we are embedding the fieldtrip into a Stage One module, SOC1503 Key Concepts and Skills.
  • Anderson & Sutton: A toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a sociology fieldtrip

    1. 1. A toolkit for embedding methods teaching within a Sociology fieldtrip Alison Anderson and Carole Sutton
    2. 2. Research Methods Skills Deficits <ul><li>Crisis in quantitative skills and reasoning in contemporary social science education </li></ul><ul><li>While qualitative methods tend to be more intrinsically appealing to students they are often taught in stand alone methods modules </li></ul><ul><li>New more engaging approaches must be developed based upon real-world, policy relevant generic themes </li></ul>
    3. 3. McInnes Report 2009 <ul><li>“ Beyond economics and psychology, social science undergraduate quantitative methods teaching ranges from the absence of any provision at all through to specialist options, mostly taught in Year 2. The latter teaching does not give students enough contact time to develop confidence in their skills, often has an out-dated focus on primary data collection, and does not pay enough attention to secondary data analysis” </li></ul>
    4. 4. McInnes Report 2009 <ul><li>The [substantive course] lecturers never mention anything about stats in our lectures at all. They don’t relate any of it, that’s not their job to relate stats. </li></ul><ul><li>Student comment, Southampton Pilot Project focus group </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve got a bit of a block against it. But it’s not hostility, it’s just I don’t feel all that wonderfully competent in that area myself. </li></ul><ul><li>Staff comment, Southampton Pilot Project focus group </li></ul>
    5. 5. Project Aims <ul><li>To produce a transferable pedagogic toolkit for embedding more methods teaching (qualitative and quantitative) into the UK sociology curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>To provide students with greater hands on, participative, training in research methods skills that will meet the changing needs of employers in the private, public and third sectors. </li></ul><ul><li>To increase the knowledge, application and use of quantitative methods amongst undergraduates within the social sciences. </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>One day structured fieldtrip supported by prior classroom and E-based activities and the provision of tutor and student toolkits </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the two themes of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Health and wellbeing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deprivation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Two contrasting urban areas </li></ul>The Fieldtrip
    7. 7. Prior Classroom Based Activities <ul><li>Introductory lecture (ONS neighbourhood stats, national accounts of wellbeing interactive maps etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Student group completion of the workbook activities </li></ul><ul><li>Group and individual student completion of e-based resources guide </li></ul><ul><li>Completion of risk assessment and tutor led explanation of the mini-field trip </li></ul>
    8. 8. Mini Fieldtrip Activities <ul><li>• Students worked in small groups to read through relevant materials </li></ul><ul><li>• Walking street ethnography – students followed route, took notes and photographic observations </li></ul><ul><li>• Tutor shadowed the student group, observing their progression and where appropriate facilitated the process. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Post Mini Fieldtrip Activities <ul><li>Classroom based formative discussion on: </li></ul><ul><li>comparing and contrasting the two neighbourhood areas </li></ul><ul><li>contribution of the different evidence resources and observations/images to understandings about the two neighbourhoods </li></ul>
    10. 10. Evaluation <ul><li>Student feedback on the field trip aspects of the toolkit. </li></ul><ul><li>Student completion of an evaluation form and follow-up focus group discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Separate evaluation discussion between the two academic tutors. </li></ul><ul><li>When embedded into the formal curriculum this can be followed by a summative assessment (e.g. group report or poster presentation ). </li></ul>
    11. 11. Student Comments on the Value of the Fieldtrip <ul><li>“ Exploring areas of Plymouth I had never been before and actually noticing things I’d never looked at before.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Actually seeing the differences in </li></ul><ul><li>housing for yourself and being there </li></ul><ul><li>makes it easier to grasp the concept. </li></ul><ul><li>It makes it more real and perhaps for </li></ul><ul><li>some people easier to learn.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Being able to explore areas of Plymouth. Getting insights into deprivation.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Actually applying sociological imagination to the real world.” </li></ul>

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