A close-up photo of documents lined up

NCRM quick start guides on teaching research methods

On this page, you can browse NCRM's series of eight quick guides on a range of topics related to teaching research methods.

Planning to teach social research methods online – guiding principles

This guide considers aspects of planning to teach social research methods that involve transformation and adaption to the online context, including examples of how online research methods teachers do this. The guide is based on NCRM research with online methods teachers and learners, involving interviews, observations and analysis of course documents. Read this guide.

Teaching social research methods asynchronously online – guiding principles

The COVID-19 outbreak prompted a major shift from face-to-face to online teaching, including of research methods. Much of this is asynchronous. Asynchronous elements can include pre-recorded content, discussion boards, assessment activities and collaborative spaces, which can be combined in different ways, and with synchronous sessions. Teaching social science research methods online presents pedagogic opportunities and challenges that involve teachers adapting and transforming their teaching. The community of inquiry model provides a helpful tool to thinking about adapting and transforming the teaching of research methods to an asynchronous online learning space.

This guide considers the three elements of the model and shares examples of how methods teachers adapt and transform their teaching to students in asynchronous online contexts. It supports the view that ‘There are many ways to get it right online’. The guide is based on NCRM research with online methods teachers and learners, involving interviews, observations and analysis of course documents. Read this guide.

Teaching social research methods online

Teaching social science research methods presents a number of pedagogic challenges – diverse learner groups, structuring and sequencing content, and the practicalities of handling data. When research methods courses are taught online these challenges take on additional dimensions. This guidance speaks to these challenges and is based on findings from NCRM research involving interviewing and observing online teachers, learning technologists and online learners of social science research methods. This guide is designed to help teachers navigate pedagogic decisions by sharing insights from teachers who teach research methods online. It is intended to stimulate debate and the development of good practice. Read this guide.

Teaching the analysis of big qual data

The sharing and re-use of data is priority for funding councils and this has recently led to initiatives in the world of qualitative data. NCRM researchers Lynn Jamieson, Ros Edwards, Susie Weller and Emma Davidson have been developing a new Breadth-and-Depth Method for big qual analysis. Sarah Lewthwaite and Melanie Nind have been working with them to consider the practical challenges of teaching and learning a method like this that is so new. Through a series of cycles of discussion, teaching, reflection and revision, the combined team have developed some guidance for teaching this method. If you teach secondary qualitative data analysis or a related method you might find some of the guidance useful to your own context. Read this guide.

Principles for effective pedagogy

Teaching advanced research methods requires an understanding of methods and methodology alongside knowledge about effective teaching and learning. This guide outlines ten principles for effective pedagogy derived from substantial educational research. James & Pollard developed the principles from synthesis of 100 projects and investments during the decade long ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP). Our commentary prompts discussion about how the principles, often based on research in schools, may apply to the distinctive context of advanced social science research methods teaching. As James & Pollard (2011) contend, by applying the principles to such new contexts we will be enriching, and creating new, pedagogical knowledge. Read this guide.

A glossary for methods teaching

Research methods teachers often come from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines and methodological orientations. Consequently, a lack of shared pedagogic language – terms for the approaches and strategies in teaching - mean it can be difficult to discuss and deepen teaching practice. As dialogue between research methods teachers is a particular pedagogic asset in furthering methods teaching, this Glossary of definitions of some relevant pedagogic terms aims to facilitate conversations among research methods educators. It is based on research undertaken as part of NCRM’s Pedagogy of Methodological Learning study1. The study data indicate some methods teachers are able to talk about learning theory or pedagogy using a common vocabulary, others can describe but not name their approach and others still find it hard to put what they do into words.

This glossary therefore may contain terms that are more or less familiar to you. The approaches overlap but have key characteristics that make them useful for teaching research methods. We invite you to use this Quick Start Guide alongside your own reflections to foster pedagogic conversations with colleagues. Read this guide.

Teaching advanced research methods

Teaching advanced research methods presents a number of distinct pedagogic challenges - from diverse learner groups and the practicalities of handling data, to the challenge of structuring and sequencing course content within an intensive period. This guide is the result of NCRM research involving interviewing and observing teachers, learners and strategic developers of advanced competence in social science research methods. The guidance is based on evidence and collective wisdom pertaining to methods teaching specifically and it is intended to stimulate the development of good practice. Read this guide.

Three approaches used in research methods teaching

NCRM trainers, like all teachers of research methods, grapple with the challenge of supporting learners to develop the methodological competences needed to conduct robust research. The NCRM Pedagogy of Methodological learning project1 has identified a host of teaching approaches being used across the social sciences for methods and methodology. In this guide we outline three broad, respected and inter-related approaches: active learning, experiential learning and student-centred learning. Our aim is to make methods teaching practices more transparent and knowable, and to stimulate debate about how we think about methods teaching and training. Read this guide.