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Title: An investigation into the origin of 'The Project Method'
Author: Smart, L. P.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3417 4867
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis consists of an investigation into the origin of The Project Method. The study locates the origin of this approach to teaching and learning under this name in a small school in Western Massachusetts, U.S.A. in the first decade of the twentieth century. The addressing of the where and when questions are, however, only the first stage of the investigation and provide a foundation from which the more important why questions can be posed. Why did this method originate where and when it did? It is therefore, an historical investigation undertaken in the field of education, and specifically within the area of curriculum and pedagogy. As such, the methodology used is that of the discipline of history. The first chapter examines this and the developments that have taken place in recent years. In so doing it outlines the methodology adopted here and places it within this wider framework. The crucial importance of considering historical developments within context is a key element in this process. The following chapter uses documentary sources to establish that the origin of the Project Method can traced to a particular location in both time and space. The subsequent chapters address the why questions arising from the context thus established. For the purposes of clarity, the different elements of this context are presented separately with each chapter having a specific focus. Taken together they form a convergent structure. Firstly, the wider socio-economic and political aspects of the society in which the method originated are considered. This is followed by a consideration of the rapidly changing educational situation within this at both national and state level. The following chapter moves from the broad, or general developments to the particular, or specific factors at play and focuses on the immediate locality and the school itself when the method was developed. It is important to note that these elements were not independent of each other and the dynamic between them is constantly explored and significance identified. Being a historical study, a wide range of secondary and primary sources are used in this process. Of particular importance has been the location and use of previously unknown/unused materials with regard to the specific local forces at work when the Project Method was conceived. It is argued that these enable a better understanding of the origin of this important and influential method to be offered than existed previously.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available