Reverse Research Design: Research Design in the Undergraduate Classroom
By Phillip M. Ayoub, Occidental College
Teaching research design is a core component of a political science curriculum. In our pedagogy, we often do two things separately: expecting students to (1) read and digest the work of established scholars, and (2) explore their own interests in the form of a research design or research paper. In a reverse research design, I bridge these two components with a pedagogical tool. I use a published book or article relevant to the course and students retrace the published author’s process, placing themselves in the author’s shoes. Rewinding some years, students imagine that they are this author writing a grant proposal to conduct the (now-completed) study. This helps students to work through the steps of research design, putting aside until later the more intimidating hurdle of articulating their own research question and project. This article explains reverse research design and describes the teaching resources and methods for implementation.