Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teacher Education

Major Professor

Thomas N. Turner

Committee Members

Stergios Botzakis, David Cihak, Vejas Liulevicius, Dorothy Hendricks


The purpose of this study was to determine what conceptions educators have regarding primary resources. The researcher attempted to answer the following questions:

  1. How do educators define primary sources?
  2. How do educators think primary sources should be used in the classroom?
  3. How, if at all, do educators currently use primary sources in the classroom and what are their reasons for their use or lack of use?

An online survey was distributed to the members of National Social Studies Supervisors Association (NSSSA). Members of NSSSA were selected because they are leaders in the field of social studies education and provided a national sample for this survey.

The researcher found that NSSSA members shared a similar definition for primary sources. The findings also indicated that social studies educators and leaders need to develop the necessary resources to help teachers use primary sources. Social studies educators and leaders also indicated a need for students to construct a historical argument by using evidence to support their conclusions. This would allow students to gain a deeper level of understanding with history through becoming “student historians.” Another conclusion was that activities examined in the existing literature do not engage students in higher order thinking.

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