OUT OF THE CLASSROOM, ONTO THE STREETS: LEARNING SOCIAL RESEARCH BY DOING SOCIAL RESEARCH
This paper reports and assesses a semester-long activity-based approach to learning social research methods. Unlike more typical research methods classes which depend on lectures, readings, and tests, this class used a series of projects that moved students out of the classroom into a progressive series of research activities using Istanbul itself as the primary locale for learning. From the first session of the semester, two related research questions, “What makes a successful street beggar?” and “How do people in Istanbul interact with street beggars,” guided a collaborative research project involving more than forty students and their instructor. Students used observation, role-taking, interview construction and gathering interviews, survey construction and administration, and data analysis as research tactics to address the research questions. Students report that they learned more through these activities than through usual classroom learning and they endorsed the approach for their other classes. Suggestions for adapting this approach for other classes are listed.
Keywords: classroom, streets, learning, social research
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