Developments and Trends in Historical Research as Reflected in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, Volumes 21-30 (1999-2009)

By McCarthy, Marie | Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Developments and Trends in Historical Research as Reflected in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, Volumes 21-30 (1999-2009)


McCarthy, Marie, Journal of Historical Research in Music Education


Historical research in music education is a relatively new scholarly endeavor. Beginning formally in the 1950s, under the leadership of Allen P Britton, this mode of inquiry was established within the field. By 1980 the study was sufficiently developed that George Heller decided to found a journal for the dissemination of historical research, The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education. In 1999, to mark the publication of volume 20 of the Bulletin, Jere Humphreys and the author reviewed the development of the journal over the first two decades in two separate articles. Humphreys examined the authors, reviewers, and editorial committee members, (1) and the author completed a content analysis of articles. (2)

Charting the evolution of a journal can be valuable in terms of documenting accomplishments and gaining insight into the development of historiography in a given time period. Based on this observation, the overall purpose of this article is to study and evaluate the content of articles published during the third decade of the journal's development, volumes 21-30. After an overview of growth and change in the journal over the ten volumes, I analyze the content of articles using topic categories and compare the findings with those of the earlier content analysis on volumes 1-20. In addition to a categorical overview, I comment on historical methods, identify authors' recommendations for further research, and conclude with an overall synthesis and evaluation of the articles in the context of contemporary trends and developments in research and historiography. A bibliography of articles is provided, organized around the categories identified in the paper.

Growth and Change in the Journal

In the decade between 1999 and 2009, the journal underwent a considerable number of fundamental changes. The title and editorship of the journal changed beginning with volume 21, issue 1, in October 1999. The new editor, Jere Humphreys, announced in that issue that the Bulletin had been recast as the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. He expressed the goal to continue "to embrace music education historiography of all types" and encouraged work on a wide variety of topics, "histories of all types of music teaching and learning," methodological approaches that range "from the conservative to the radical, from the telling of stories to the building of theories and paradigms, from the qualitative to the quantitative." In an effort to internationalize the journal, he announced that five scholars from other countries had joined the editorial committee and he encouraged the submission of articles and reviews that address "foreign national and international topics." (3) The vision he presented in these statements launched the journal and set the tone for the 2000s, impacting the nationality of authors and the scope of historical topics submitted to the journal.

With the first issue of volume 25 in October 2003, the journal experienced another change when Mark Fonder assumed the editorship. He continued to encourage authors to submit research on a wide range of topics including "traditional biographical and institutional studies, studies that trace in any way how we pass on our music to succeeding generations and how we have come to know what we know about music education." (4) The breadth of vision shown by the editors, both topical and geographical, is noteworthy in light of the topics published in the volumes under review.

Content Analysis of Articles

A content analysis seeks to organize large amounts of information in a systematic manner around predetermined questions, to identify categories and themes related to the questions, and to evaluate trends and patterns in the data examined. It must be emphasized that there is overlap between categories, and certain articles could well be assigned to more than one category. I determined the category by the primary focus of a study.

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Developments and Trends in Historical Research as Reflected in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, Volumes 21-30 (1999-2009)
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