Pedagogy of methodological learning: Expert panel interviews and methods teacher focus groups

Nind, Melanie and Lewthwaite, Sarah (2018). Pedagogy of methodological learning: Expert panel interviews and methods teacher focus groups. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-853130

The pedagogy of methodological learning is a three-year research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a package of research by the National Centre for Research Methods. It is intended to promote pedagogical development for advanced social science research methods. Advanced research requires a unique combination of theoretical understanding, procedural knowledge and skills competence; nonetheless, there has been little research about pedagogy associated with this. In the UK, doctoral researchers have learned through an apprenticeship model of supervision, with taught courses and formal training becoming a more recent requirement. Subsequent capacity building has focused on the incorporation of core and advanced training tailored toward the professional and methodological development of researchers. The lack of ‘pedagogic culture’ i.e. lack of debate, investigation and evaluation regarding how research methods are taught and learned is problematic. Little is understood about how best to respond to the distinctive pedagogical challenges in this field. This research seeks to: • advance an emerging pedagogical culture and content knowledge for social science research methods teaching; • create a typology of pedagogical approaches for social research methods teaching to inform national policy and practice; • develop a coherent theoretical framework for methods teaching to inform national practice. To this end, the project deploys four complementary components: 1) expert panel method, including interviews with a panel of international experts in research methods teaching and follow up focus groups with UK methods teachers; 2) diary methods and longitudinal analysis by and with researchers at different stages of doctoral and post-doctoral research careers about their methods learning experiences; 3) video-stimulated recall and reflection by researchers, teachers and learners in response to specific methods training events; 4) case studies of methodological and pedagogical innovation. Data from our Expert Panel methodological strand is available through the archive where exit consent has been possible. We have found encouraging aspects of pedagogical scholarship and increasing attention to the specifics of teaching and learning for particular research methods, approaches or techniques. We have developed methodological tools that will help in the ongoing research and we identify practical messages for methods trainers. This research will substantially advance and stimulate this nascent field, to inform teaching and learning, policy and practice within and beyond the National Centre for Research Methods.

Data description (abstract)

These data comprise qualitative transcripts from semi-structured individual interviews with eight international experts in social science research methods teaching as part of expert panel research. These interviews took place via Skype, phone and face-to-face over the course of Spring-Summer 2015. In addition, there are transcripts of five focus groups with a total of 17 experienced teachers of social science research methods based in the UK, conducted in 2016.

Creator NameEmailAffiliationORCID (as URL)
Nind, of Southampton
Lewthwaite, of Southampton
Research funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/L008351/1
Topic classification: Education
Keywords: educational research, social sciences, social research, teachers, higher education, learning, teaching methods, learning methods, methodology
Project title: "Pedagogy of Methodological Learning" National Centre for Research Methods 2014-2019
Grant holders: Melanie Nind
Project dates:
1 January 201531 March 2018
Date published: 19 Jun 2018 14:44
Last modified: 27 Jun 2018 14:16

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