The Best Breakfast in Town: A Comprehensive Research Methods Project
by Amanda M. Rosen, Webster University
In ‘The Best Breakfast in Town: A Comprehensive Research Methods Project’ Amanda Rosen describes a unique project designed to overcome instructor and student anxiety in the typical undergraduate research methods course. Students design and carry out a study to determine the ‘Best Breakfast in Town’. The project uses existing student knowledge about a topic they know well—eating breakfast—to focus their attention solely on learning their new skills in methodology. Likewise, the use of a non-political topic demonstrates the value of methodology to their lives outside the classroom. The article offers a step-by-step framework for the project, where they complete literature reviews, design a study, collect and analyze data, and present their results. Students work throughout the course both individually and in groups, and ultimately critique their decisions at the end by acting as journal editors tasked to evaluate their project. Instructors can easily adapt the Best Breakfast in Town project according to their course size, modality, time frame, and preferred choice of topic. Initial assessment indicates that this can be a very valuable and even fun approach to teaching methodology to political science students.