Client-Focused Research (CFR) offers an approach to teaching research methods that brings classes into a professional environment by working directly with nonprofit or public sector clients. Students work with clients to define the scope of the research project, design the research methodology, create data collection instruments, gather and analyze data, and report findings. This real-world application of principles taught in research methods classes engages students in addressing client research needs, demonstrates the value of research methods in the world outside the academy, enhances an understanding of political science concepts, teaches skills valuable to employers, and lays the foundation for democratic citizenship, while promoting course learning objectives. This article discusses the authors’ experience with CFR at a mid-sized, public university across a five-year period, and provides a “how to” guide for faculty interested in integrating CFR projects into their research methods classes. A discussion of course evaluation results highlights pedagogical benefits of adopting the CFR model.
- Research methods
- client-focused research
- undergraduate students
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science