Dean's Lecture Series 2015-2016 Opening


KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 14, 2015) — Dr. Gail Markle, an associate professor of Sociology opened the Dean's Lecture Series last Thursday, September 10th, with a presentation about Undergraduate Social Science Research Methods. After teaching the course for many years, Dr. Markle decided to study achievement outcomes of students taking to course regarding student anxiety, GPA and perceived learning.

Unfortunately, methods courses have a high rate of student withdrawals. The ultimate goal of Dr. Markle's study was to determine if there might be a way to increase student retention in these courses early in their college careers. Through a mixed methods design in coordination with the Burruss Institute and the Office of Institutional Research, 681 students were anonymously surveyed about their experiences in the course.

The survey results suggested that while students might make high grades in the course, their perceived learning might be low. Additionally, students were unable to connect the methods they were learning in the course to "real world" career skills. When discussing the results of her study, Dr. Markle addressed the need to shift the perception of research methods courses from being intimidating and math heavy to developmentally crucial and comprehensive.

In short, research methods can get you a job because research methods teach critical thinking skills, and critical thinking skills are in high demand on the job market.