Lifelong Learning Centre

Pass the Russian doll to explain research methods

Posted on Friday, 25 October 2013 at 11am
by Lifelong Learning Centre Staff.
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We often find at the Lifelong Learning Centre that our students can find academic concepts such as research methods daunting as they are not familiar with the terminology used. As these concepts can be confusing we are always looking for innovative ways to explain them.

Our Business Management students on the Research Methods module recently participated in an interactive version of the Russian Doll Principle, developed by Clough and Nutbrown* to guide their thinking around research projects. This module gives students a taste of core components of the research project process to equip them for their Work Based Project module in year 3. Using the Principle entailed passing a Russian doll around the cohort and when the music stopped, each layer of an actual Russian doll was opened, revealing a more precise example of a research question. For example, one question started out as ‘An exploration of the effectiveness of Employment Law’ and eventually led to ‘An exploration of the effectiveness of Equality Act 2010’s indirect sex discrimination in a West Yorkshire Local Authority Department’: a much more specific question.

The beauty of the Russian Doll Principle is it doesn’t just work for one subject area. It may be applied to an array of subjects as well as small and large scale research projects including dissertations and theses.

*Clough, P. and Nutbrown, C. 2002 A Student’s Guide to Methodology. SAGE: London.



Categories: Business and Management, Learning, Research