Research Methods Beyond the Classroom

Carolyn Forestiere is an associate professor of political science at UMBC.

I have always wanted to introduce some form of civic engagement in my courses, but I never thought that the subject matter that I teach – Research Methods in Political Science – could be adapted to the overall goals of the BreakingGround initiative. After attending the BreakingGround Workshop in the Spring of 2012, I realized that with some innovative thinking, virtually any course can be adapted.

I have been teaching Research Methods since 2006. Part of the students’ regular coursework included developing survey and interview questionnaires that students deliver to each other as a means for them to create their own data set to analyze. In the workshop I decided I could add great depth to my course by a identifying a group of people outside of the university that my students could interview. To serve as a foil for my young college-aged students, I decided to bring them to a retirement community in the Catonsville area. The objective of the exercise will be to gather original data for analysis from the residents at local retirement communities and to garner a sense of empathy for different groups of people. [Read more…]