Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 2009
Textbooks and Primary Source Analysis
Jason C. Fitzgerald
University of Pittsburgh
In such a diverse society, some have suggested that teachers use primary source documents to increase history knowledge and build historical thinking skills. These calls come from a myriad of works that have been critical of textbooks. While these concerns may be appropriate, textbooks are still frequently used in the classroom. In an attempt to better use textbooks in light of such criticism, I propose that teachers and students analyze their textbooks as if they were primary sources. Discussion about how this analysis might be accomplished as well as a sample classroom handout is provided.