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Historical Research

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Geoff Webber

on 5 April 2014

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Transcript of Historical Research

Before selecting a problem to investigate, determine whether you will be able to access the necessary primary and secondary sources.

Instead of relying exclusively on secondary sources, try to confirm and extend your findings by checking relevant primary sources.

Subject your historical data to internal and external criticism.

Consider whether and how your personal values and experience influenced your selection and interpretation of historical data.

Avoid presentism in interpreting events from another historical era.

Even if your interpretations focus on a single cause of a historical phenomenon, consider the ways in which other factors might have influenced it.

Keep in mind any limits that your data impose on the generalizations you wish to make about a historical phenomenon.

In reporting your historical facts and interpretations, organize them into meaningful chronological or thematic patterns.

Five Methods Determined by Gall, Gall & Borg
Moehlman, A. et al. (1969)
Research Methods Outlined!
Subject Matter of Historical Research
$1.25
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Overview of Historical Research
Historical Research Quarterly
Impact of Historical Education felt Globally
Debate rages over "antiquarians"
$1.25
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Historical Research Quarterly

Use of concepts

Interpretation in Historical Research
- Organize and Interpret Data

"Concepts are terms used to group objects, events, individuals which share a commone set of attributes" (Gall, Gall, Borg, 2007, p. 544).

- Problems With Defining Concepts

Define "Teacher" - How can different interpretations of this term change the study of the research?


QUEBEC SEPARATES - TO USE THE (€) EURO
Prime Minister Trudeau "Betrayed"
Classify Problems & Topics Into 5 Types: Beach
The first step in planning a historical research study is to define the problem. Mark Beach identifies 5 types of problems and topics for historical inquiry:

1) Social issues
Current social issues most popular source of historical problems in education.
2) Study of specific individuals, educational institutions, and social movements
Motivated to fill the gaps about what is know about the past. Gaps often provide the basis for a historical study.
3) Exploration of relationships between events
an attempt to interpret ideas or events that previously were not viewed or treated as related, but have reflect
4) Synthesis of data
a merging of old data with new historical facts
5) Reinterpretation of past events
revisionist historians do critiques of existing histories, subjecting them to new interpretive frameworks.

Gall, Gall, and Borg suggest that before defining a historical problem it is advisable to talk to an experienced researcher. Criterion to consider when deciding on a problem or topic for historical research is whether key sources that you wish to investigate are available and interpretable (i.e. language, accessibility)


URGENT: Historical Research Deemed Relevant
No Longer a Thing of the Past

A tool for planning the future -
Futurology

A Subject in the Curriculum & A Foundation for knowledge
A subject in the curriculum
"Historians of education have had perhaps their greatest influence on educational practice through their involvement in the training of educators" (p. 530). (shallow history)
A foundation for developing new knowledge and policies related to education
What underlies the teaching & learning process
The Stages of Historical Research
Historiography
“One of the appeals of history of education to its scholars is that it gives a lifelong fishing license to study almost any topic"
Aimless Searching, Sources Overlooked!
Definition
Practices, trends, beliefs and issues in education
Methodology
Qualitative
Paradigm
Various
Methods
Interpretation
Historians need to have some idea of what they are looking for before beginning a search for sources that will provide the needed data.
Record Now or Later - That is the Question
Is this information useful, now or later?

What must I consider?
- Hint: 2 things

- "Literary property" =
? $
- Quantitative History = Stats and Data, but for what purpose?
Possibly the "Common Man"?
'The historian's goal resembles that of a therapist - to liberate us from the burden of the past by helping us understand it" (Sol Cohen, p. 530).







A Variable of Research Findings & A Basis for Evaluation
A variable affecting the validity of research findings

history can be a sort of extraneous variable when assessing value or meaning.
Need to know unique context and history in order to fairly evaluate or understand effectiveness (e.g. incident reports and risk management plan).



A basis for evaluating educational programs

revisionist history, reveals unjust aims or effects in common or popular history.

South Texas Example Demonstrates Chronological Format
Miguel Guajardo and Francisco Guajardo

Cultural reproduction in South Texas before, during, and after desegregation (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954); inequality in educational opportunity for non-whites

Conducted over 200 oral histories of elders, community members, and walkout participants at Edcouch-Elsa High School in 1968

Used stories and photographs to describe the living conditions in Edcouch, Elsa, and surrounding communities as early as the 1920’s:

“…my father…wanted to ask the bus driver to drive closer to our home… the driver said, “No! Mexicans aren’t supposed to get educated anyway. You are meant to work in the fields.”

The authors used the framework of micro-macro integrative theory to analyze their data by constructing constant communication between micro (local) stories and macro (national) events related to the 1954 Brown decision.
Events leading up to the walkout at Edcouch-Elsa High School in 1968 were presented in chronological order:

1942 protest following denial of enrollment of Mexican-American students to superior educational facilities in Edcouch-Elsa

Mexican-American representation on school boards following WWII

1968 discouragement of Mexican-American students by a teacher at Edcouch-Elsa High School

Formatting Historical Research
Creative authors now have two choices!
Chronological
Historical facts are presented within distinct time periods

Inferences and conclusions are drawn after data has been presented

Drawback
Difficult to demonstrate continuity across common themes
What should my report contain?
Writing Historical Research
Discussion
Majority of report based on discussion of data from preliminary, primary, and secondary sources.

Other historians interpretations of similar data

Description of historiography used, especially if the results of the research, or methods used to collect data, are unusual

Wording
May be influenced by the researcher’s interpretational framework

* Major university

Strong affective or value connotations should be substantiated by referencing sources


Recording / Evaluation / Interpretation
Why Evaluate? What Criticisms?
Just in! Forgeries Found - Previously Regarded as True and Authentic! Whom is at Fault?
Internal criticism
Can researches study
everything?
Generalizability
Cannot do the Impossible
"More is better"
My evidence is limited, now what?
Historians as interpreters
Oceans being questioned
Interpretational Framework
- Your individual history does apply!
Revisionist / Reconstructionist Historians
- Holocaust never happened!
Presentism
- "School Choice" - what does this mean to you?


Causal Inference in Historical Research
The study of causes

"The Study of History is the Study of Causes" (Gall, Gall, Borg, 2007, p. 546).

Causal inference
- Reaching the conclusions that: "one set of events brought about, directly or indirectly, a subsequent set of events" (Gall, Gall, Borg, 2007, p. 546).

Consensus
- Does history
repeat?

Eclectic view
- "A" cause but not "The" cause
- Public Education - how / why?






David Tyack in Gall, 2007, p. 534
O
ne can suppose that certain kind of sources would exist if he thinks carefully about his subject, the persons involved, the government and institutions concerned, and the kind of records that would naturally grow out of the events the he will be studying"
(Brooks in Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007, p.536)
Phillip C. Brooks suggests resourcefulness and imagination is needed in historical research. Careful reflection of the study can produce likely options for source material. Given that selection of sources cannot be determined
entirely in advance, it is suggested to create a tentative plan and revise it as the interpretive framework develops. Change will occur as historical sources re-veal other
pertinent sources previously unanticipated.
Sources specific to historical research provided by Gall, Gall, and Borg
Preliminary sources
are indexes to primary and secondary sources; they include bibliographies. In historical research most bibliographies will index secondary sources and some primary.

Secondary sources
are documents in which individuals give accounts for an event at which they were not there. Accounts are based on descriptions of records prepared by others (historians are rarely direct witnesses to events described).

Primary sources
in historical research are a record created by those who witnessed or participated in the historical event.

In historical research, data regarded as true are considered historical facts; the ultimate basis for the information included in historical reports (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007, p.537). It is important to consider checking the primary sources
Just the facts Ma'am!
used to derive historical facts in other research. Consider the historian's reputation, interpretive framework, and access to primary source documents.
4 types of primary sources
.
1) written documents or records
2) quantitative records
3) oral records
4) relics

In your historical research, you will find documents and records, taking many forms to be most common.
Evaluating authenticity & genuineness of source documents in question!
The intentional or unpremeditated nature of a document needs to be considered.

Intentional documents
are written to serve as a record of the past.

Unpremeditated documents
serve an immediate purpose without expectation of holding historical record.
Historical researchers might not know what information proves useful at a later phase of a study.
New knowledge found in Primary Sources
Don't do it alone: Gall, Gall, & Borg
Carpe Diem, Time Is Everything
When recording information from historical sources, the researchers use of time becomes very important. Consider at the interpretational phase when a researcher may need to search for new facts not previously viewed as relevant earlier in the study or pulling information from a document with limited access or requires traveling to see.
Gall, Gall, and Borg suggest that two things should be considered when deciding what information to record:
1) Decide whether the material will be accessible
2) Consider the reproducibility of the document

Not only do copyright laws play a role but the physical condition of the document itself may deny reproduction. Consider the tools you may need to capture document contents (photocopier, large sized scanners, digital cameras). In historical research, use of technology is key to success.



History Research Becomes All About The Numbers
Historical research can use quantitative data and methods of analysis to make generalizations (quantitative history). The popularity of this methods is due to the generalizability of large amount of carefully selected data. Again, thinking about the kinds of data needed is important, time can be wasted on irrelevant data.
1. The walkout at Edcouch-Elsa represents a tipping point in the balance of power from white to brown in South Texas…Mexican-American students challenged the power structure in schools and the community at large.

2. New policy does not always equate to change; “appropriate representation and advocacy are important if Latino communities are to exercise the power to affect policy and affect change.”

3. People who are most affected by policy should be part of creating it…those who research the policy should have a stake in how the past is told, and how the future is shaped.

By integrating macro and micro forces during the relevant period, the authors are able to generalize their findings to other school systems and other ethnicities

Wolfe and Poynor Conclude Their Challenge
The Pendulum Swings to a Halt
Wolfe and Poynor use Stahl’s pendulum metaphor regarding whole language instruction as a framework to describe the whole language instructional movement as a missed opportunity for teachers to take control over implementation and research of methodological research in education.

“Instead, publishing companies absorbed the surface of whole language and sold it back to teachers, undermining the theoretical, pedagogical, and socio-political nature of the movement.”

The authors warn that the use of pendulum metaphors diminishes teachers’ responsibility to work toward innovation:

“We must not allow this new story, in which the inevitable presence of politics in schooling is acknowledged and made central, to be masked or silenced by reductionist metaphors.”

The authors use of theory, documentation of significant events, and descriptions of the pro and con standpoints provide a rich model of historical analysis.

Meredith D. Gall, Joyce P. Gall, Walter R. Borg
Recommendations for Historical Research
Oral history, Relics, and Archives examined.
Relics:
any object whose physical and visual properties give information about the past.
Three additional primary sources identified by Gall, Gall, and Borg are
oral history
,
relics
, and
archives
.
An oral history can be taken from preserved records (tales, songs) or interviews with witnesses to an event.
Archives are locations that house public documents, protecting and preserving them.
Historical research may require the assistance of others
"[we] needed to obtain permission from the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, to reprint an inmate's original drawing"
(Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007, p.538)
Because repositories vary in ease of access and have large indexes, an archivist may be needed for assistance.
When interpreting quantitative data,Gall, Gall, and Borg say that a historian, "almost certainly will need to enlist the aid of a staff member" (2007, p.539).
Gall, Gall, and Borg's Appendix Removed
Contents reveal preliminary and secondary sources on the History of Ed.
For an annotated list of preliminary and secondary sources on the History of Education, refer to appendix D on page 629 of Gall, Gall, and Borg 2007.
Historian seeking assistant for short term relationship
, experience in archives, databases, and interpreting quantitative data an asset. Must like reading, reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating. Long term relationship possible as research continues.
Paula Wolfe and Leslie Poynor

Challenged characterization of whole language instruction (by previous author Steven Stahl) as an innovation for which implementation rises and falls like a pendulum

Begin their analysis by quoting the authors of a book on whole language in stating that “…there is a tendency in the culture to use metaphors that turn human life into machines or packages.”

Analysis deconstructs the pendulum metaphor and explains the theoretical basis and goals of whole language instruction.


Revisionist Historians Challenge Pendulum Metaphor
Whole language lost opportunity for educators?
To clarify the historical controversy between whole language and other forms of reading instruction, the authors conduct a meta-analysis comparison of whole-language, basal, and eclectic modes of instruction, asserting that:

Whole language emphasizes entire works of literature as opposed to abridgements; student choice in literature as opposed to teacher-selected works; integrated language experiences as opposed to direct, sequential instruction.

The authors’ analysis proposes that the rise and fall of whole language to other socio-political reform movements linked to hegemonic control, based on four factors.



1.
Expanding political opportunities
During the 1970’s, challenges to “the way it is” allowed people to question values, traditions, and politics, opening the door for whole language advocates.

2.
Shared cognitions
“A change in practice and belief for an increasing number of teachers” regarding whole language instruction occurred at a conference at the University of Pittsburgh. (1976)

3.
Mobilization of indigent organization resources
In 1982, a catalog of Heinemann Education Books included several whole language texts, “mark[ing] the beginning of an active campaign to publish [and distribute] whole language texts…that had been difficult to purchase in the United States.”

4.
Shifting response of other organized groups to the movement
The educational establishment identified whole language as a method, rather than an alternative theoretical stance on learning which “allowed researchers, such as Stahl, to describe the process of innovation as a swing between two endpoints of the methodological pendulum.” A problem, they assert, because “components can be tested while theories cannot.”


Four Factors Control Sociopolitica Reform
1. List two types of sources and show how they work together,

2. Explain the statement, "history means interpretation,"

3. Distinguish between subjectivity and bias in the reporting of historical events,

4. Consider your own research. Predict how historical researchers will respond to your ideas, opinions, and data in fifty years?
Opinion Column
Bibliographies
General education history
Historical biographies of major contributors to education
History of major branches of education
Cultural history of education
History of educational planning and policy
Historical critiques of education
Comparative history of international education
History of contemporary problems in education
Campbell, D. T. & Stanley, J.C. (1963).
Experimental Design and Quasi-experimental Design for Research.
Historical Criticism - "the ability to judge authenticity and validity of historical sources, requires attention to detail" (Gall, Gall, Borg, 2007, p. 540).

External Criticism - Claimed origin matches Actual origin

Forgery - Grew Owl
Internal Criticism - Are the statements and claims accurate? (ex. infomercials)
Whose interpretation can I believe?
Bias
Variables and Evaluations
Before selecting a problem to investigate, determine whether you will be able to access the necessary primary and secondary sources.
Instead of relying exclusively on secondary sources, try to confirm and extend your findings by checking relevant primary sources.
Subject your historical data to internal and external criticism.
Consider whether and how your personal values and experience influenced your selection and interpretation of historical data.
Avoid presentism in interpreting events from another historical era.
Even if your interpretations focus on a single cause of a historical phenomenon, consider the ways in which other factors might have influenced it.
Keep in mind any limits that your data impose on the generalizations you wish to make about a historical phenomenon.
In reporting your historical facts and interpretations, organize them into meaningful chronological or thematic patterns.
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