Rethinking Social Studies Research and the Goals of Social Education

Leming, James S.
April 1986
Theory & Research in Social Education;Spring86, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p139
Academic Journal
This paper examines the research on social studies curriculum's influence on the social, moral and political attitudes of youth. It is argued that it is difficult to make a case for the social or educational significance of these findings given their small magnitude. Four alternative interpretations of this genre of research are presented. It is concluded that the social studies profession should focus primarily on the achievement of cognitive goals and that further research into curricular effectiveness without longitudinal data is of limited value. As an alternative to curricular effectiveness research, it is proposed that descriptions of the workings of exemplary programs become a major research priority.


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