Does Active Learning Improve Students' Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Research Methods?

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Journal of College Science Teaching

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

We incorporated an active, collaborative-based research project in our undergraduate Research Methods course for first-year sports medicine majors. Working in small groups, students identified a research question, generated a hypothesis to be tested, designed an experiment, implemented the experiment, analyzed the data, and presented their findings to the college community. We used a survey to assess students' perception of and attitudes about research and research methods before and after the semester. In addition, students reflected on the research experiment through a weekly discussion and dialogue on Blackboard. Students were responsible for a final oral presentation and a poster presentation. Incorporating a participatory, collaborative, and active learning component to this course allowed students to grasp relevant research methodology theories and principles, acquire competency in research methodology techniques, develop interpersonal and professional skills, and improve their attitude regarding science and the research process. The results suggest participation in a research project can be an effective way to enhance first-year student learning and attitudes regarding research methodology.