Playing with numbers: Using Top Trumps as an ice-breaker and introduction to quantitative methods

Cohen, R. L. (2014). Playing with numbers: Using Top Trumps as an ice-breaker and introduction to quantitative methods. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 6(2), pp. 21-29. doi: 10.11120/elss.2014.00030

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Abstract

Statistics anxiety has been widely documented among both postgraduate and undergraduate social science students and shown to be an obstacle in engaging students in quantitative methods. This article builds on previous studies that have highlighted the utility of fun and games in productive learning and overcoming anxiety. A personalised version of the game Top Trumps was developed for use with a class of postgraduate sociology students in the UK. This game provides an ideal way for students to inductively learn about basic statistical concepts, such as range and dispersion. The game also creates opportunities to engage students in critical discussion of measurement and social categorisation. The article suggests that the employment of such hands-on learning exercises, especially when used in the first week of a quantitative methods module, can stimulate student interest, ameliorate statistics anxiety and encourage critical discussion, thereby positively impacting learning goals in the rest of the module. The article ends by briefly outlining how to adapt the game for use within an undergraduate module.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Cohen, R (2014). Playing with numbers: Using Top Trumps as an ice-breaker and introduction to quantitative methods. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 6(2), pp. 21-29., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.11120/elss.2014.00030
Uncontrolled Keywords: Quantitative methods, sociology, games, play, statistics anxiety
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/3782

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