a1 University of Colorado, Denver
a2 University of Colorado, Denver
Engaging students in the design, administration, and postelection analysis of an exit poll can be an excellent experiential learning activity. Lelieveldt and Rossen (2009) argue that exit polls are a “perfect teaching tool” because they provide students with a cooperative (rather than competitive) learning experience; help students better connect theory, methodology, and course substance; and allow students to move outside of the classroom by branching out into the community. As professors at the University of Colorado, Denver (UCD), we have organized student exit polling during the 2008 and 2010 elections in the Denver area for research methods and elections classes. Although we have found these exit polls to be rewarding experiences for instructors and students alike, the reality is that conducting an exit poll with a group of polling neophytes, in the confines of a single semester, can be challenging. In this article, we discuss strategies and issues for instructors to consider when using an exit poll as an experiential learning exercise.
Michael J. Berry is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Denver. He can be reached at Michael.Berry@ucdenver.edu.
Tony Robinson is an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Denver. He can be reached at Tony.Robinson@ucdenver.edu.