Date Action Research Paper Completed


Document Type

Action Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education



Capstone Advisor

Joel Traver


Rochester, MN


Learning history in high school is often disconnected from the process used by professional historians to understand the past. This research studies the implementation of primary source analysis in the high school American History classroom as a means to increase historical understanding. Previous research focuses on increasing achievement while this study also includes impact on engagement and attitude. Primary source analysis was the main instructional strategy used in one unit of study in a required ninth grade American History course at a suburban high school in April 2016. Student historical understanding was assessed using student self-reports on a daily basis, pre and post formal test questions and surveys, and teacher observations. A variety of data sources indicate positive impact of primary source analysis on student engagement, achievement, and attitude. Results indicate further study is needed to identify the impact of primary source analysis on social studies education.