Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon
Chapter 18: Teaching graduate research methods
In fundamental ways, research methods courses and training in graduate programs are the critical lynchpin of a student’s education. At the doctoral level, the yardstick used to measure an academic’s success is his or her ability to engage in enduring and current substantive debates and add to these through the production of new knowledge in the field. Doing so is impossible without quality methods education of some sort, and is therefore essential for the future of any discipline. Methods training is equally, albeit differently, important in master’s level graduate courses. Particularly in terminal degree programs like a Master of Public Administration (MPA), students seek to obtain transferable skills that they can then utilize in applied settings. In addition, there is at least anecdotal evidence about how strong methods education travels beyond the search for a tenure track job. Murakami (2012) writes, ‘the research skills I had accrued as a graduate student were much rarer and more difficult to acquire’ than other skills that non-academics have competing for jobs outside academia (p. 813). Various industries are putting greater emphasis on these transferable skills, with pressure coming from both employers and governments (Clark 2011).
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