The ability to engage with empirical research in a meaningful way is a vital skill for public administration (PA) students and graduates. Yet, while research methods are essential skills for PA students, it is widely acknowledged that teaching research methods in the context of social science programmes and PA in particular faces challenges. To address these challenges, namely negative perceptions of research methods in combination with misconceptions about the value of methodological knowledge and skills and the resulting lack of engagement, different approaches have been put forth. These comprise stronger links between the course content and research methods as well as the integration of hands-on experiences. This article presents a reflective analysis of a collaborative approach, which integrates hands-on experience while highlighting the value of methodological skills and knowledge for public sector organisations and linking research methods to students’ future careers.