Historical Research in Educational Settings

Historical Research in Educational Settings

Historical Research in Educational Settings

Historical Research in Educational Settings


• What is historical research in education?

• How can researchers get started in this area?

• Why does this field offer a common project for historians, educationists, and researchers across the social sciences?

This book explores how to set about historical research in education. The first general guide of its kind for fifty years, the book locates this field in relation to changes in educational research, historical research, and a wide range of social sciences. It offers a theoretical guide to the rationales and problems of the field as well as to current opportunities for research. It also gives practical advice for getting started and for suitable research methods in different kinds of projects, and in doing so draws critically on extensive international literature. It includes detailed case studies on the following topics in historical research: Curriculum and Classrooms, Foucauldian Interpretations, the 'Alternative Road', Literacy in the Nineteenth Century, and the University History Curriculum.


I had never realized just how fascinating research was in its own right.
I was expecting the research methods course to be boring, difficult and
all about statistics but I couldn't have been more wrong. There is so
much to consider, so many aspects, so many ways of finding out what's
going on, and not just one way of representing it too. I have been really

(Student taking an MA in Educational Studies)

I never knew that there was so much to research. I thought that you just
chose a method, applied it, did your statistical sums and came up with
your findings. The reality is more complicated but so much more inter
esting and meaningful.

(Student taking an MA in Educational Studies)

The best thing for me was being told that qualitative research is 'proper'
research — providing it's done properly of course. What goes on in
schools is so complex and involves so many different perspectives that
I think you often need a qualitative approach to begin to get some idea
of what's going on.

(Student taking an MA in Sociology)

I really appreciate hearing about other researchers' experiences of doing
research. It was quite a revelation when I first became aware that things
don't always go as smoothly as some written accounts seem to suggest.
It's really reassuring to hear honest reports: they alert you to pitfalls and
problems and things that you might not have thought about.

(Doctoral student)

Comments such as these will be familiar to anyone who has ever taught or taken a course which aims to introduce the range of research approaches available to social scientists in general and those working in educational settings in particular.

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