ERIC Number: ED240009
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
What Is Wrong with Research in Social Studies?
Wallen, Norman E.
Social studies research has told us very little in the past 30 years. There are several reasons for this state of affairs in social studies. First, inferential statistics has become much too prominent in research thinking and practice. Replication should be used by researchers to build a useful body of knowledge. A second reason for lack of success is the continuing failure to be really concerned about measurements. Reliability and validity need to be addressed, and new tests for measuring higher level cognitive skills need to be developed. Examples from the Taba curriculum project and from a recent research report which appeared in the journal "Social Education" show the difficulties encountered in measuring students' abilities to make inferences and to explain and apply ideas and students' reasoning about basic economic concepts. Three mistakes made in both measurement attempts were: (1) looking too much to other disciplines for guidance in studying the educational process, (2) trying to study underlying psychological processes instead of important content, and (3) unnecessarily and somewhat inappropriately over-statisticizing. A more idiographic approach to measurement needs to be taken. (RM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Inference (Statistical); Replication
Note: CUFA Presentation to the National Council for the Social Studies (San Francisco, CA, November 23, 1983).