"The authors’ research is well known and among the most important American works being done on how children learn history. It is thus a great idea to gather this pivotal research in one place. The volume offers a new perspective through the authors’ reflections on the research process. It is profound without pomposity, ideal for the intended audience; the tone is just right. There really isn’t another book that does what this one does."

Stephen J. Thornton, University of South Florida

Researching History Education combines a selection of Linda Levstik’s and Keith Barton’s previous work on teaching and learning history with their reflections on the process of research. These studies address students’ ideas about time, evidence, significance, and agency, as well as classroom contexts of history education and broader social influences on students’ and teacher’s thinking. These pieces—widely cited in history and social studies education and typically required reading for students in the area—were chosen to illustrate major themes in the authors’ own work and trends in recent research on history education. In a series of new chapters written especially for this volume, the authors introduce and reflect on their empirical studies and address three issues suggested in the title of the volume: theory, method, and context.

Although research on children’s and adolescents’ historical understanding has been the most active area of scholarship in social studies in recent years, as yet there is little in-depth attention to research methodologies or to the perspectives on children, history, and historical thinking that these methodologies represent. This book fills that need. The authors’ hope is that it will help scholars draw from the existing body of literature in order to participate in more meaningful conversations about the teaching and learning of history.

Researching History Education provides a needed resource for novice and experienced researchers and will be especially useful in research methodology courses, both in social studies and more generally, because of its emphasis on techniques for interviewing children, the impact of theory on research, and the importance of cross-cultural comparisons.

chapter 4|10 pages

Visualizing time

chapter 5|37 pages

“Back when God was around and everything”

Elementary children’s understanding of historical time

chapter 6|40 pages

“They still use some of their past”

Historical salience in elementary children’s chronological thinking

chapter 7|11 pages

Making connections

chapter 8|24 pages

“Bossed around by the queen”

Elementary students’ understanding of individuals and institutions in history

chapter 10|19 pages

“I just kinda know”

Elementary students’ ideas about historical evidence

chapter 12|33 pages

“It wasn’t a good part of history”

National identity and students’ explanations of historical significance

chapter 13|19 pages

Articulating the silences

Teachers’ and adolescents’ conceptions of historical significance

chapter 14|8 pages

Challenging the familiar

chapter 15|33 pages

A sociocultural perspective on children’s understanding of historical change

Comparative findings from Northern Ireland and the United States

chapter 16|22 pages

“You’d be wanting to know about the past”

Social contexts of children’s historical understanding in Northern Ireland and the U.S.A.

chapter 17|11 pages

Border crossings

chapter 18|27 pages

Crossing the empty spaces

Perspective taking in New Zealand adolescents’ understanding of national history

chapter 19|15 pages

Digging for clues

An archaeological exploration of historical cognition

chapter |6 pages