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Research Methods in the Introductory Course: To Be or Not to Be?

William T. Markham
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 19, No. 4 (Oct., 1991), pp. 464-471
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1317888
Page Count: 8
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Research Methods in the Introductory Course: To Be or Not to Be?
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Abstract

Introductory sociology courses usually fail to provide adequate information about gathering, interpreting, presenting, or evaluating data, a situation that is good for neither students nor society. Tradition, students' predispositions and preparation, lack of materials, and lack of support from colleagues all work against teaching research methods to beginning students. Nevertheless, students need to be familiar with the basics of the entire research process and able to spot simple errors in research. In order to teach methods well to introductory students, instructors need to devote significant time to the topic, use thorough, complete, and well-written materials, assign homework, space instruction in methods throughout the course, integrate methodological issues into discussions of substantive topics, use well-chosen extended research examples, and employ computer software judiciously. By using such techniques, it is possible to teach methods in the introductory course successfully and to minimize students' resistance.

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