NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ824496
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Doing Original Research in an Undergraduate Environmental History Course
Rakoff, Robert M.
History Teacher, v37 n1 p29-37 Nov 2003
If teachers want to get their undergraduate students engaged in the study of history, there is no substitute for getting them to do their own research using original sources. In practical terms, this involves posing a good question, framing that question in a critical framework for analysis, searching for relevant documents, writing an interesting narrative, rewriting in response to comments, and offering your work to your peers. When students get the chance to do this kind of work in a structured environment, they end up learning what it means to be an historian, and they gain a sense of ownership of their studies as well. In this essay, the author shares his experience with this approach to teaching, focusing on a course in American environmental history that he has taught for the last 10 years at Hampshire College. The author describes the course and the major research assignment in more detail, noting especially the ways in which he tries to structure students' research experience and have it reflect the analytical themes of the course. He then describes some recent student research efforts in order to capture the imagination and range of interests students bring to a relatively simple assignment. (Contains 5 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts