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Towards an interpretations heuristic :a case study exploration of 16-19 year old students' ideas about explaining variations in historical accounts

Chapman, Arthur John (2009) Towards an interpretations heuristic :a case study exploration of 16-19 year old students' ideas about explaining variations in historical accounts. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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This thesis is a case study exploration of a group of 16-19 year old students' understandings of historical accounts. The thesis builds on prior research by the author, completed in the Institution Focused Study element of the EdD, and aims to add to existing understandings of the ways in which history students conceptualise historical accounts and controversies and the discipline of history. Twenty-four students in one institution, twelve in the first and twelve in the second year of their advanced level history studies, completed three written tasks over the course of an academic year. Twelve of the twentyfour students, six from each year, were interviewed. The written tasks and the interviews were designed to generate data on student understanding of historical accounts. Each written task focused on paired texts in which two historians made differing claims about an historical topic and the students were asked to answer the same four questions in each task. The interview questions mirrored the written task questions but were general in nature, looking at historical disagreement rather than at a particular controversy. Data analysis focuses on the students' ideas about explaining why historical disagreements arise, one of the questions that the research instruments explored. Data is analysed qualitatively, through a process of inductive coding, and a model of five ideal typical approaches to explaining why historical disagreements arise is posited and tested against the data. The purpose of the analysis is to inform pedagogy and to suggest ways in which students' thinking can be progressed. The discussion of the data links the ideal typical model to existing research, practitioner and historiographic literatures on historical interpretations and implications for practice and for further research are identified and discussed. A heuristic, for use in teaching and assessment focused on historical accounts, is outlined.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis: (EdD) University of London Institute of Education, 2009.
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Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2014 10:56
Last Modified: 26 May 2015 14:06
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