ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance

Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Quantitative Research Methods 3

Session Organisers Ms Debbie Collins (University of Southampton, UK)
Dr Kevin Ralston (York St Johns University, UK)
TimeWednesday 17th July, 16:30 - 17:30
Room D18

The teaching and learning of quantitative social research methods (SRM) presents challenges to both teachers and learners. The subject matter is often considered difficult and students have to learn to engage in sophisticated decision-making, such as being able to weigh up the pros and cons of particular methods, techniques and designs (Kilburn et al, 2014). Moreover, in learning quantitative SRM ‘statistical anxiety’ is often cited as a barrier (Macher et al. 2015). In an attempt to develop quantitative methods teaching and pedagogic culture, we want to come together as teachers and learners to discuss the challenges of quantitative research methods and the approaches, strategies, tactics and tasks that we use to address them (Nind and Lewthwaite, 2018).
We welcome papers from those involved in the teaching and learning of quantitative methods in social sciences (and related disciplines), and those involved in pedagogic research on teaching and learning quantitative methods. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:
• Principles and approaches that guide and inform your teaching and learning of quantitative research methods, and the strategies and tasks that you use
• Effectiveness and value of different tasks and strategies in facilitating quantitative SRM teaching and learning
• Demonstrating ways in which digital technology can support and or enhance quantitative SRM teaching and learning

Kilburn, D., Nind, M., & Wiles, R. (2014). Learning as researchers and teachers: The development of a pedagogical culture for social science research methods? British Journal of Educational Studies, 62, 191–207.
Macher, D., Papousek, I., Ruggeri, K., Paechter, M. (2015) Statistics anxiety and performance: blessings in disguise. Frontiers in Psychology 6
Nind, M. and Lewthwaite, S. (2018) ‘Methods that teach: Developing pedagogic research methods, developing pedagogy’, International Journal of Research and Method in Education. doi: 10.1080/1743727X.2018.1427057.

Keywords: quantitative social research methods; teaching and learning; pedagogic culture

The Teaching and Learning of Quantitative Social Science Research Methods Online

Ms Debbie Collins (NCRM, University of Southampton) - Presenting Author

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There is a paucity of research on social research methods pedagogy (Earley, 2013; Kilburn, Nind and Wiles, 2014) particularly in the context of online learning. This is troublesome given the proliferation of online quantitative research methods courses. In this paper I look at the specific challenges that arise in teaching quantitative research methods online and the pedagogic responses to these challenges based on data from case studies and semi-structured interviews with teachers and learners. I use Nind and Lewthwaite's (2018) typology of social science research methods pedagogy to explore how quantitative social research methods courses are taught in online spaces. This typology identifies ideas and actions that arise in response to specific pedagogic challenges encountered in different disciplinary, institutional and political contexts. The core categories are: Approach (principles, theory, values which relate to individual teachers pedagogic aspirations and identity that guide the way they go about their work); Strategies (implementation planning: what the purpose or goals are and how these will be achieved at a high level); Tactics (translation of strategies into procedures for the classroom); and Tactics (the requirements/ activities for learners/ teachers).

Web Based Research on Educational Model for Future IT Specialists

Dr Natalia Frolova (NRU HSE) - Presenting Author

The contemporary development of technology enhanced education calls for innovative projects to provide digital natives with brand new educational tools. While going global the system of Russian higher education is to catch up with the leading ones so implementation of new models of future IT specialists training is acute.
The given article puts forward the issues of blended learning and describes the Web based teaching model to be used in the system of higher education as the foundation of preparing IT specialists.
The research examines the pros and cons of various forms of blended learning opposed to the traditional classroom education. This paper includes the research on the efficiency of wiki based model in English teaching experience among 100 students of NRU HSE Nizhniy Novgorod branch where experimental use of wiki is seen as means of improving writing and speaking skills along with developing students’ motivation, self-tracking progress scheme and personalized learning.
The article contains a detailed description of the project, its mission and respondents’ feedback gained via quantitative and qualitative research methods. Based on the professors’ and students’ interviews, questionnaires and observation, it has been found out, that the process of introducing some of the analyzed web based project is subject to some criticism along with numerous benefits, which are also reflected in the results and findings of the study.

A New Approach to Teaching the Re-Use of Survey Data - Online, Interactive “Data Skills Modules”

Dr Vanessa Higgins (UK Data Service, University of Manchester) - Presenting Author

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The UK Data Service national programme of training events has traditionally included the teaching of basic skills in re-using cross-sectional survey data via hands-on computing workshops or shorter online webinars. More recently the service has launched a set of three online, interactive ‘Data Skills Modules’ – covering cross-sectional survey data, longitudinal data and aggregate data respectively.

The cross-sectional survey module is two-hours long and teaches basic skills in how to get to grips with re-using data such as the British Social Attitudes Survey, highlights key design features of survey data, shows learners how to use the data and tests the learner’s knowledge via interactive quizzes. The modules, designed by data specialists in collaboration with an e-learning technologist, contain a mix of videos, written materials, quizzes and activities:

This presentation will describe the context of how the UK Data Service has traditionally taught skills in re-using survey data, the background to the development of the online modules, the content of the cross-sectional survey module, the pedagogical approaches used and how the module can be used in teaching and learning. The presentation will also discuss the pros and cons of this approach to using digital technology to build capacity in the re-use of survey data.