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Classroom Case Studies


Sample Assignments

#1 Discovering Ethnographic Research

Using the SAGE Research Methods database, research ethnography as a methodology. Find two different approaches to ethnographic research (e.g. participatory research vs field work). Find articles by researchers about your selected approaches in the SAGE Research Methods database. Compare and contrast the experiences of your selected researchers. Address the following points in a one-page, double-spaced paper:

  1. How did the researchers go about their work?
  2. What are examples of challenges for each researcher’s approach?
  3. What are some strengths of each approach?
  4. Which approach would you use? Why would you choose one approach over the other?
  5. Give examples of a research problem that are best suited for each approach and explain your rationale.
  6. Provide APA citations for the works you are referencing.

#2 Using the Methods Map

Identify a quantitative or qualitative methodology. Using the Methods Map, identify examples of sub-areas and specific characteristics of these methodologies. For example, if you selected Longitudinal Research in the Methods Map, you will see that some sub-areas include cohort studies, panel data and so forth. Select a methodology and two sub-areas and in a one-page, double-spaced paper: 

  1. Describe three key characteristics of the methodology you selected. Describe 2-3 key characteristics of one sub-area.
  2. Give an example of a research study that would be best suited for this methodology or a sub-area and explain your reasoning (e.g. longitudinal research, cohort studies, panel data).
  3. In your discussion, reference at least two different sources in the SAGE Research Methods database that discuss the methodology or sub-areas you selected.
  4. Provide APA citations for the works you are referencing.

#3 Write a Research Proposal

Walk your students through the basic steps of designing a research project by having them select a research topic, then write up a research proposal. SAGE Research Methods can help them with each step.

  1. Write a Research Question—Students often have a good research topic, but sometimes need help refining their research question.  A quick search on SRM gives them info on what makes a good, testable research question.
  2. Conduct a Literature ReviewSAGE Research Methods includes info on how to  conduct a literature review, as well as how to write-up the results.
  3. Choose a method—Stephen Gorard’s video “How do I choose between different research methods?” talks about how to select the right method for your research.
    • Dictionary and Encyclopedia entries are a great way to get a quick introduction to a method and narrow down the best means of testing their research question.
    • If your library has access, SAGE Research Methods Cases can also help select methods. Students can search case studies for research questions similar to theirs and use the same or similar methodology.
  4. Write a Methodology Section—Once they’ve selected a method, books or monographs on that particular method will give students the deeper understanding they need to write a methodology section.

#1 and #2 Created by Edlyn Vallejo Peña, Ph.D., Graduate School of Education, California Lutheran University, and Henri Mondschein, M.A., M.L.S., Ed.D., Pearson Library, California Lutheran University