Problem based learning (PBL) is an instructional method aimed at engaging students in collaboratively solving an ill-structured problem. PBL has been presented and researched as an overhaul of existing curriculum design, yet a modified version may be attractive to college instructors who desire active learning on the part of their students, but who cannot completely reorganize their current course design. A brief case using principles of PBL was constructed for use in an undergraduate research methods class. Instructor planning and student reflections highlight roles and skills demanded in the PBL classroom. Planned conceptual issues were successfully covered during the brief PBL case. In addition, important yet unforeseen topics emerged during the discussions and were seen as helpful for the activity and instructional objectives. Reported student perspectives indicated that the objectives of the PBL activity were successfully accomplished: students learned research concepts, engaged in discussion with peers, and were actively involved with and motivated by the authentic activity. This work supports the suggestion that a brief version of PBL may be an attractive option to instructors interested in having students be more actively engaged in the classroom. Further research on variations of PBL is encouraged.