The Primary Source Research Matrix
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The Primary Source Research Matrix
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Introduction
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This spreadsheet was created as part of ongoing research by Education Development Center through their participation in the Library of Congress's Teaching Primary Source Consortium. The articles here are summarized with the hope that providing brief entries into the range of research related to the classroom use of historical documents will help others design and develop programs that are based on, and contribute back to, our collective understanding of what works.
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How can this be used?
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We envision that this matrix could be used by TPS consortium partners in order to design and develop projects based in the existing research. We also envision that it could be useful when writing proposals for future projects, by curriculum designers interested in developing materials based that build on existing research, or teachers interested in new ideas or perspectives.
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What is here?
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The purpose of this review was to gather evidence on practices that are effective in promoting teacher and student learning with primary source documents. This means we specifically included articles that present empirical evidence, rather than theoretical papers or explainations of the benefits of using primary sources.

One challenge of building a review around primary sources, is that most research does not focus on primary sources themselves, but on strategies that do (or might) incorporate them. Since many strategies could possibly incorporate primary sources, the limits to our scope were somewhat subjective. With that in mind, this matrix should be conisdered a representative, but not exhaustive, account of research related to primary sources.

The methods section below describes how we gathered articles, but the most basic strategy was to search databases for articles that included the words "primary source" in the title. Beyond that, we consulted bodies of literature that we felt were particularly relevant, such as argumentative writing and disciplinary literacy.
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How up-to-date is this, and will it be updated?
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Articles for this matrix were collected in late 2016 to early 2017. Given the methods that we followed, this matrix includes the most recent literature we could find.

We are working on ideas for how we might keep this matrix updated and/or expand the scope of the literature included here—such as the community tab we've added that is open to contributions from anybody interested.
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Method
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The purpose of this review was to gather research related to the use of primary source documents. We began to gather potentially relevant articles by conducting keyword searches in Education Source and Google Scholar for terms including primary sources, historical documents, historical inquiry, historical thinking, and Library of Congress. We also consulted articles published by well-known researchers, mined the references cited, and gathered articles provided to us by colleagues—such as references on Waynesburg University's list of TPS-Related Literature.

We skimmed abstracts and downloaded articles that seemed related to primary sources. From this initial pool, we selected articles to include in this matrix. We wanted to focus specifically on research—rather than theoretical papers, or articles explaining the benefits of using primary sources—so we looked for those that were from peer-reviewed journals and that included an explicit methods section, which described the process by which the research was conducted. The articles included here are mainly quasi-experimental studies (those that have treatment and comparison groups), although there are a few case studies.

We attempted to find articles that were written about disciplines other than social studies and ELA, but could not find any research studies that fit our criteria pertaining to the use of primary sources in other disciplines.

Since we realize that the focus on research limits the scope of the articles presented here, we have created another tab in this spreadsheet where community members can contribute literature they find relevant (see below). We assume that this tab will have include a wider variety of article types and focuses.
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Explanation of the columns
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The EDC- Primary Source Studies tab of this spreadsheet consists of seven columns of information:

Source
The article sources are listed in APA format. When possible, we have included the DOI reference at the end of the source, which is a URL that can be clicked to find the article.

Abstract/Summary
Where an abstract existed we included that. Some articles did not have abstracts, and we have done our best to summarize the article.

Research Questions
When articles have listed explicit research questions, we have copied them here. Sometimes authors have not included research questions, but have included the hypotheses they were working with. In these cases we have included the hypotheses. Other times, we have tried to summarize what we think the research questions are, or have found a relevant passage that shows what the authors were hoping to learn.

Treatment
For quasi-experimental studies, the project should have an intervention (what they are testing), a treatment group (who is receiving that intervention), and a comparison group (a group who has similar qualities, but who is not receiving the treatment). We have included information about the treatment to try to explain what it is each study was exploring. Where explicit information has been included about the comparison group, we have also included that information when we felt it helped to explain what was being studied. When research projects did not have treatment groups, we have done our best to capture the focus of the research.

Findings
This column summarizes top-level elements of what the researchers have learned through this study. Summarizing the findings of an article in a spreadsheet cell can be difficult, since there are often any number of findings, and what is relevant to the reader depends on their own questions. Where possible, we have quoted elements of the findings sections that identified a major conclusion. When not possible, we have summarized what we felt were the important findings, or qualified the types of learning that emerged from this research.

Cited Count
This column displays the number of times the article has been cited by other articles—a proxy for gauging the impact of the article. All counts are from Google Scholar and were recorded for the date the article was added to the research matrix.

Year
The year the article was published.
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Sorting the columns
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You can sort the articles by first author's name, date published, number of citations, or date added to the matrix. In order to sort the matrix, select the column header so the whole column is higlighted, then click on the Data menu, and click on sort sheet by column.
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Interested in contributing?
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We hope that this collection of articles is useful for a range of purposes. We have created a Community tab to allow others to share literature relevant to teaching with primary sources. If you have any questions or comments about this process, please feel to reach out to us (see contact info below).
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Click here to access the Community Tab
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Acknowledgements
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This spreadsheet was completed as part of ongoing work funded by the Library of Congress's Teaching Primary Sources program.
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Contributors/Contact
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This spreadsheet was compiled by Noah Goodman and Pilar Gonzalez, both researchers at Education Development Center's Center for Children and Technology. We are interested in making this spreadsheet, and any additions we create, as useful as possible. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Noah Goodman at ngoodman@edc.org.
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