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Teaching controversial and contemporary topics in economics using a jigsaw literature review activity

Patrick Button, LaPorchia Collins, Augustine Denteh, Mónica García-Pérez, Ben Harrell, Elliott Isaac and Engy Ziedan

The Journal of Economic Education, 2021, vol. 52, issue 4, 286-295

Abstract: Most courses are taught almost exclusively using lecture and, despite gaps in textbook coverage of empirical economics, do not incorporate academic readings. The authors of this article present a “jigsaw literature review” cooperative learning activity to address these shortfalls. The jigsaw guides students through formulating a position by synthesizing key ideas from readings with diverse perspectives on a common topic. The authors provide detailed guidance on conducting the activity in upper-level economics courses, based on their experiences while teaching labor economics, public economics, urban economics, health economics, and econometrics. They argue that their activity provides a meaningful way to integrate recent research, policy topics, and diversity issues while promoting student-student interactions. Sample course materials and additional resources are provided for ease of implementation.Supplemental data for this article is available online at

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2021.1963373

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:52:y:2021:i:4:p:286-295