Graduate Teaching Assistant: Principles of Research Methods

In Fall 2018, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with Mark Taylor of the Sheffield Methods Institute on his Principles of Research Design course, a first-semester course for masters and first-year PhD students.

Mark taught this course as a weekly seminar, requiring that students write weekly reflections on the assigned readings to inform participative weekly class sessions. The two-hour class sessions were seminar style, blending short lectures interspersed with small group discussions. The course covered the fundamentals of designing a rigorous research process; and before the semester, Mark invited me to make any contributions to the syllabus and I did, adding (for example) readings on the politics of citation practices. In each session, Mark would lead the lecture presentations and I would help facilitate the small group discussions, moving between the small groups and listening to the students’ reflect on set topic questions and their readings, and answering questions and clarifying understandings. This was a fantastic learning and teaching experience, providing me the opportunity to work with students from across social sciences disciplines, and build experience in facilitating student discussions and teaching in small-group settings.