Do we need to provide methods training to Political Science students? If so, what sort of training should we provide? In this chapter, we turn our attention to these and other questions about teaching research methods in Political Science by exploring the place of methods training within the undergraduate Political Science curriculum. We argue that, in designing methods curricula, it is crucial to consider three trade-offs, namely 1) the balance between integrating methods in and ‘contaminating’ the goals of substantive courses, 2) the need to gradually emerge students in methods, starting with generic academic skills, and 3) the importance of constructively aligning methods training with the overall objectives of the program. Drawing on a literature review combined with descriptive statistics from our own dataset of 144 undergraduate curricula, we find considerable variation between programs in Europe and North America. This concerns whether or not methods are taught, what type of methods are taught, as well as whether or not students can apply their skills in a final research project. Our findings also show that programs differ as to how they have dealt with the aforementioned trade-offs. Given that research methods are generally seen as an important element of political science, this raises questions about the coherence of the discipline and the importance of a core curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Research Methods in Political Science
EditorsJeffrey L. Bernstein
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)978 1 83910 121 2
ISBN (Print)978 1 83910 120 5
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

SeriesElgar Guides to Teaching


  • Curriculum design
  • Political Science

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