Integrating Online Surveys into the Teaching of Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Research methods courses which emphasize survey research and analysis often ask students to conduct and administer surveys haphazardly on campus or in the community. Some programs go a step further and conduct telephone surveys in a more controlled and supervised environment. Birmingham-Southern College, for more than twenty years, has used the latter in administering a statewide telephone survey in Alabama. This year we paired traditional telephone interviewing with a matching online statewide survey. When we combined both surveys and applied appropriate weights, we were satisfied that we had a representative sample. We were able to demonstrate to students key differences in results between the telephone survey and the online survey. We describe these differences and discuss the merits of incorporating online surveys into an undergraduate research methods course as a tool for teaching students the advantages and disadvantages of different types of survey methodology.
Keywords: Pedagogy, Research Methods in the Social Sciences, Online Surveys, Research Methodologies
Dr. Natalie Davis
Professor of Political Science and Chair, Department of Political Science, Sociology, and Economics, Birmingham-Southern College
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Political Science, Sociology, and Economics, Birmingham-Southern College