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Title: Adolescent students' ideas about provisional historical explanation
Author: Barca Oliveira, Maria Isabel
ISNI:       0000 0000 7080 4347
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1996
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Adolescents' ideas about provisional historical explanation were analysed in a sample of Portuguese 12 to 20 year-old students, attending the 7th, 9th and 1 1 th grade. In the light of a theoretical framework considering three conceptual clusters - explanatory structure, explanatory consistency, and objectivity and truth - students' ideas were categorised in a model of five levels of progression, functioning as the main working hypothesis, and generated through a qualitative analysis. At Level 1 (the story), students' ideas appear mainly related to description. At Level 2 (the right explanation), there is a focus on the correct explanation, explanations are assessed in everyday terms, and the direct observation paradigm tends to be valued. At Level 3 (the more factors the better), students' concerns appear linked to an ideal of aggregation of factors, evidence is discriminated as sources to the explanation, and the "memory paradigm" tends to be valued. At Level 4, (a consensual explanation?), there is a preoccupation about a perspectiveless neutrality, valuing verification and interlinked factors (explanations may take the narrative form). An objectivist trend defends the search for a consensual explanation whilst a relativist view denies its possibility due to existing different perspectives. At Level 5 (perspective), neutrality and perspective are recognised as genuine features of historical explanation, these appearing in conflict with ideas of perspectiveless neutrality. Explanations may take the narrative mode, and an interlink of factors is valued. Explanatory assessment may appear as evidential confirmation and refutation, and reference may be made to the substantive historical context. A statistical analysis of data concerning levels of progression by sex, age and grade, and responses to some specific sub-tasks, was carried out. Differences on sex were not found statistically significant but differences on age and grade appeared significant at the 5% level.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment