A Review of Social Studies Textbook Content Analyses Since 2002
Scott L. Roberts
Central Michigan University
A content analyses study of social studies textbooks was completed in 1993 by Rahmia Wade. She found the problematic way in which researchers examined texts noting they relied too much on personal perceptions and opinions of social studies topics and failed to cite additional sources to support their claims. The investigation further asserted social studies textbook analyses lacked interrater reliability and data quantification. In many cases, the authors of these works were comparing textbooks to other textbooks, rather than to standards, and were not examining all the texts used in a particular discipline. Based on these findings, Wade questioned the effectiveness of these analyses for improving social studies education. This project replicated Wade’s study. A random sample of social studies textbook analyses published between 2002 and 2012 was considered and the author found that they have changed little since Wade’s article. Suggestions are offered for those interested in conducting textbook analysis with a focus on how to make such studies more relevant for classroom teachers. These suggestions include: analyzing both the textbooks and standards simultaneously, analyzing the entire textbook, and providing student centered lesson ideas.
Keywords: textbook analysis, content analysis, critical theory, teacher education, social studies education, social studies textbooks