Practical Studies in Social Research is a course in which students visit various fields in accordance with their own research themes and awareness of issues. There, they draw on a broad range of methods, including observation, interviews, and surveys to gather valuable findings only obtainable from the field.
One past theme involved construction plans for a major road. Students studied the process of communication between government administrators undertaking the project and local residents and summarized their findings in a report. For example, even though administrators promoting the project had implemented systems for participation in project planning and discussions by residents, from observing and listening to actual dialogue with residents and interviewing participants, it became clear that the road plans actually incorporated very little feedback from residents. Research in the field like this makes it possible to consider the social significance of road construction and related issues from multifaceted perspectives.
Tamagawagaku is an interdisciplinary education and research project organized by the College of Arts and Sciences in which all majors take part. Taking advantage of the College’s fusion of arts and sciences, it closely analyzes the Tamagawa region with the participation of all students and faculty members. In 2012, it undertook a study of communication via the mobile phones of current Tamagawa University students. Through this approach to learning, students improve their practical research skills from a variety of perspectives off campus. The new knowledge that they discover through joint research with their faculty members is a direct result of the interdisciplinary education and research opportunities available only in the College of Arts and Sciences.
This program involves off-campus activities and practical study by students of topics that fall outside campus coursework. The credits earned by students are determined based on the time spent in these activities. Some off-campus studies focus on a single activity over a long period, while others involve earning credits through a combination of different activities.
Starting in their third year, students take Liberal Arts Seminars to learn research methods in various areas of specialization. They also develop the ability to identify and solve issues and the intellectual skills needed for these purposes. The results of these activities are compiled in a project submitted by students during the fall semester of their fourth year and presented through poster sessions. Liberal Arts Seminars are held across a broad range of areas in the College of Arts and Sciences, each involving unique and lively activities.
These research activities stress experiences based on experimentation, observation, and studies across a broad range of themes closely related to our lives, all of which include biological and physical phenomena along the axis of the natural sciences. Based on their experience with a broad range of natural phenomena, students gain a new understanding of science and nature, learn to identify various issues related to contemporary society, and seek to find solutions from a scientific perspective.
In the Hokkaido Project, students visit an elementary school near Hakodate, Hokkaido during summertime to take part in foreign-language activities and Japanese-language courses. The goal is to enable growth through experiencing exchange with the community by planning and implementing on their own learning activities both inside and outside the classroom.
Based on plans that they develop in advance, students learn and put into practice efficient methods of teaching elementary school students the linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This experience also provides opportunities for interaction with pupils of varying ages as well as local teachers and members of the community. The project has already been completed eight times and has been covered in local newspapers and other media. The College is considering developing these activities over many other regions so that students can get a true feel for regional differences in culture, language, and customs.