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Developed as a staff-student collaboration, “Curveball” is a research methods game which can be used in class to liven up research methods teaching, to allow students to apply their knowledge and for tutors to identify gaps in student knowledge. The game is for groups of students which tests methodological, analytical, and ethical knowledge and understanding of a research project by encouraging problem solving and reflexivity. The aim is for each group to design a research project which considers method of data collection, sampling, and analysis. Throughout this process the groups will be ‘thrown’ a number of Curveballs which they needs to address in relation to the research design. At intervals, the groups will present their research project to the class including a brief explanation of the problems/issues which emerged as a result of the Curveballs, and the lessons that have been learnt in the process. A winner can be declared on merit of their reflexivity and sensitivity to research problems.

Learning Outcomes

  • Collective design of a research project within given fields
  • Develop an understanding of the methodological and ethical problems that arise in doing empirical research and find solutions
  • Develop a reflexive approach towards social research

The students involved in the project were a mixture of final and second year student who collectively worked on designing games that will assist other students to develop good research questions and topics by thinking through and overcoming ethical and methodological obstacles often encountered in undergraduate research.

The game has been played at UK, Swiss, Spanish and Bolivian universities over the past few years and can be purchased by contacting Dr Natalia Gerodetti.

Curveball board game
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