Article Comparison Assignment: Same Question, Different Methods


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Students write a short paper comparing two journal articles in which the authors use different research methods to address the same research question. This assignment is used in an introductory research methods course to encourage students to think about how research methods related to other aspects of the research process: using a particular paradigmatic lens, asking research questions, developing hypotheses, and interpreting findings. Students choose a pair of journal articles from a list provided by the professor. Each pair of articles consists of one primarily qualitative and one primarily quantitative article, each examining very similar research questions. After obtaining and reading these articles, students write a 4-6 page paper in which they examine how different assumptions and questions lead the authors to favour different methods and how the methods chosen shaped the findings. Sample article pairs and feedback form included.


Resource Type(s):
Alexandra Marin 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Research Methods 
Class Level:
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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* The article pairs chosen are hoped to be on topics that students will find substantively interesting. This keeps the number of students writing on each pair relatively balanced. * Citations provided to students do not include page numbers. This is to discourage students from attempting to simply pick...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
1. Use library resources to locate and retrieve sociological journal articles.
Assessment 1:
1. Articles are not provided for students. They must use the library system to locate articles themselves. Students are encourage to avail themselves of opportunities to learn more about the library’s databases and other resources.
Goal 2:
2. Analyze specific pieces of research to uncover the relationships between sociological questions, the methods used to answer them, and sociological findings
Assessment 2:
2. This main goal is assessed using the paper that students write. An feedback guide/rubric is available to students with the assignment. This is used in addition to written feedback, not as a replacement.

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Methods Comparison Assignment - Feedback Form.pdf
Methods Comparison Assignment - Reading Selections 1.pdf
Methods Comparison Assignment - Reading Selections 2.pdf
Methods Comparison Assignment.pdf