Fast Food Delivery: Operationalization and Research Design
By Michael E. Thunberg, Norwich University
Active learning is an important component of political science instruction in which instructors use innovative active-learning techniques across the subfields. These methods are crucially important in methods courses, which contain some of the most difficult and important topics for the discipline, making it optimal for conveying challenging concepts using active-learning approaches. This article describes an active-learning exercise to engage students with operationalization, research design, data collection, and analysis. Students develop an observational study for a “fast” food delivery service. They operationalize the dependent variable—“fast delivery”—and determine which independent variables will impact delivery speed. Students collect data when the instructor orders food and has it delivered to the classroom. This exercise moves away from abstract concepts found in political science journals and makes research design more concrete, relatable, and engaging.