Last week in my Research Methodology classes, my students and I discussed on the topic data collections - the methods that can be used to carry out social science research. We discussed the effectiveness of some of the methods to be used like questionnaires, surveys and interviews. We also talked about how methods support the methodology of the research, for example methods to use to do quantitative research or qualitative research.
At the end of the discussion and lecture, I decided to get my students to work in a small group. Instead of just discussing the points, we tried to construct some interview questions and questionnaires (5 each to be precised). I got my students to think about one issue with some demographic data that they proposed. Then they started to think of the relevant questions to ask through interview and questionnaire.
It was actually their first time to think about drafting the questions. So, I reminded them to be critical when thinking about the questions, the sequence of the questions and the issue that they will investigate. I wanted to see some thinking behind the questions, rather than just seeing random questions without any thinking behind them. Then, I asked them to write their findings in a poster format.
After all the groups finished the task, instead of making them do presentations, I asked them to paste the poster all around the walls in the classroom. Then, I provided them with small colourful cards. I asked them to go around and write their critical opinion of tehir friends' work. I modelled to them how to do it (to comment critically) and then got them to do the same. Some students, at the beginning only made simple comment pasted on the cards, just writing something like: nice, good job and great.
Then I shared with them that critical thinking needs exercise. In the same way that we need to practice to be good at playing football, or practice swimming or dancing to be good at it, so it is with critical thinking. It needs a lot of practice too. After that I could see some changes in their peer evaluation. They included reasons and suggest they way to improve behind the feedback that they gave. They became more focused and objective. They read thoroughly. They talked with each other. They discussed. It was busy! It was full! It was amazing learning experience!
PS: I need a new phone! Anyone interested to donate? haha