Educational experts believe that utilizing primary sources opens new doors for students by allowing them to think like historians, which ultimately hones in on the purpose of developing critical thinking skills (Rodeheaver, 2009). Historians constantly question documents, events, and credentials in order to form their own opinions while using primary source documents (Drake, 2002). When students have the opportunity and freedom to question documents and events and form their own opinions, learning may be enhanced. This study examines the possible power of allowing students to explore primary documents and learn by doing during social studies instruction (Dewey, 1916). This thesis examines middle school students' perceptions of the effectiveness of using primary source documents in social studies. Through a survey given to general education students and to ESE students, this thesis explored eighth graders' perceptions of using primary sources. The survey included questions pertaining to the depth of knowledge on using primary sources as well as questions about how to determine a primary source from a secondary source and which of the two is more interesting and/or of more benefit to the learning process. By analyzing the responses to the survey given, the results found that a number of eighth graders thought that primary sources were more interesting, but preferred to lean from secondary sources. These findings do not necessarily agree with what educational experts and historians are suggesting, yet, they may offer insights into the educational implications for middle school teachers and provide opportunities for future research.
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Roberts, Sherron Killingsworth
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Social Science Education
Dissertations, Academic -- Education;Education -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Richardson, Emily, "Examining the power of using primary sources in middle school social studies" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1370.