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Active Learning Exercises for Research Methods in Social Sciences

Active Learning Exercises for Research Methods in Social Sciences

Edited by:

January 2012 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Based on the premise that when students engage in an activity instead of simply reading about it, they understand it better, this book offers 29 hands-on, active learning exercises for use in research methods courses in the social sciences.

The activities were created by instructors throughout the United States and tested for effectiveness in their classrooms. They include group activities and solo activities, presented in very accessible language for students. Each exercise is directly related to a concept of research methods and aims to help students become better researchers.

Chapter 1. Inquiry and Sampling
Chapter 2. Things that Vary
Chapter 3. Survey Methods
Chapter 4. Qualitative Methods, Observational Methods
Chapter 5. Qualitative Methods, Interview/Focus Groups
Chapter 6. Quantitative Methods
Chapter 7. Mixed Methods

“The key strength is the non formal nature of the dialogue, setting a tone of comfort around a subject that typically creates stress for students. Secondly, students get to test their learning in a non-threatening way using the activities.”

Darnell J. Bradley, Ed.D.
Cardinal Stritch University

“It is organized around an active, student-centered style of learning. It makes use of topics that are relevant to students' lives. It makes abstract and quantitative aspects of methods concrete and approachable.”

Jason Lee Crockett
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

I will use a few exercises from the book that pertain to qualitative methods. If I was teaching a mixed methods course this text would be a must. Is there anyway that as an instructor I can buy the password-protected instructor's resource? I have found that so help in teaching Phil McMichael's Development and Social Change.

Professor Cynthia Caron
International Development, Community, Environment, Clark University
December 11, 2014

I ordered this in hoping to find some excellent teaching strategies for introducing the other books that I require my students to purchase from Sage. Some great ideas for use in the classroom.

Robert Campbell
Education Dept, Argosy University - Phoenix
September 10, 2013

A bit too quantitatively heavy for our focus in research methods.

Dr Maria Hegbloom
Communication Studies, Bridgewater State College
April 12, 2013

I will use this book to complement Creswell's new edition and to bring exercises on research design.

Dr Ernesto Rosario-Hernandez
Psychology , Ponce School of Medicine
April 1, 2013

Haven't taught research methods since receiving review text. Will teach this spring but book already selected. Will use as an adjunct text and consider adopting for future course.

Dr Stephen Thompson
Social Science , National-Louis University
February 14, 2013

The exercises in this book provide a critical bridge between theoretical concepts in research methodology and real world applications at the undergraduate level.

After reviewing this text, I decided to use it for POLS 300, Policy Analysis as a required text, and for POLS 200, Introduction to Public Policy, as a recommended text.

I can't wait to share it with my students.

Tera McCown
Political Science Dept, University of Charleston
July 19, 2012

I didn't find the exercises particularly innovative, useful or clearly explained. They don't seem to be designed to help students learn research methods. Rather, they are mostly internet exercises or filling out worksheets with very generic questions.

Dr Deinya Phenix
Sociology Criminal Just Dept, St Francis College
April 24, 2012
Key features


  • Activities can be done in class or assigned for homework, providing a flexible and dynamic approach to learning.
  • Activities directly related to key concepts in research methods, helping unlock the secrets and strategies of research.
  • A focus on active learning exercises, with an experiential approach removes ambiguity from abstract methods concepts.


A password-protected Instructor's Resourceis available at This site includes an extensive Instructor's Guide created by the editors. This guide is broken down by chapter and provides activities, handouts, and step-by-step instructions for students on how to complete the activities. The editors include tips and tricks on how to best teach the activities, places where students may need help, and extended rationales and learning outcomes from experiences the editors and contributors have had using the activities in their own classes. Also included are handouts for more spontaneous exercises.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.