Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant Supports Creation of Innovative Research Methodology Course

Advanced Methods at Purdue (AMAP) is a cross-departmental initiative connecting behavioral, health and social sciences at Purdue. By providing collaborative opportunities between the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Health and Human Sciences, AMAP seeks to spread methodological expertise and promote transdisciplinary interaction.

James McCann, co-director of AMAP and a professor of political science, commented on the importance of this transdisciplinary work.

Pictured: Headshot of James McCann, co-director of AMAP

“As career professionals, we tend to specialize in a certain area — and for good reason. That being said, it’s easy to lose sight of what connects our fields. The motivation behind AMAP is to get people to see common elements that span disciplines.

”Some of the ways AMAP accomplishes this is by providing a comprehensive array of opportunities like seminars, workshops and a graduate student certification program. These opportunities focus on research methodology while fostering interdisciplinary connections. By facilitating collaboration, AMAP is bridging the gaps between traditionally disparate fields, fostering innovation and the cross-pollination of ideas at the university.

Recently, AMAP received a grant from the Innovation Hub to create a new course for undergraduate and graduate students looking to learn the fundamentals of research methodology.

Co-directors McCann, Sharon Christ, Kristine Marceau and Trent Mize started this course to help students better apply the fundamental principles of research in a transdisciplinary context. Jeremy Foote and Donna Xu also collaborated on the development of the course and taught it in Spring 2024. Their collective goal is to provide students with the opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas and learn from one another all while developing a better understanding of how to conduct research.

McCann elaborated on how it’s essential for Purdue’s future.

“When you’re setting up a research project, there are so many design elements to account for. You need to make sure you have proper standards for making an inference, you need to sample cases appropriately, and guard against making biased conclusions,” said McCann. “The intention of this broad-based course is to expose students to the research design fundamentals that are most common across the social, behavioral and health sciences.”

This course would not have been feasible without support from a Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant, which is administered through the Innovation Hub Grant program. These grants sponsor creative pedagogical transdisciplinary approaches in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Innovation Hub grants also create opportunities for departments and units on campus to cultivate new connections across diverse fields of study. 

“This grant covered the necessary research and development, summer salaries and other funding needed to make the course even possible,” McCann concludes. “These grants help with funding the development of innovative ideas here at the university and push us to find new ways to collaborate and impact communities.”

To learn more about Innovation Hub Grant programs, visit the Innovation Hub website

Last updated: April 9, 2024

Author: Owen Hughes, Communication Assistant for Teaching and Learning, hughe357@purdue.edu