Historical thinking in higher education: final report

Adele Nye, Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Jill Roe, Penny Russell, Mark Peel, Desley Deacon and Amanda Laugeson.

This article provides an overview of the results from a Historical Thinking in Higher Education questionnaire given to 1455 Australian first year and upper level history students. The questionnaire was part of a project that was funded by the Australian Teaching and Learning Council. It was shaped by collaboration of History lecturers led by Marnie Hughes-Warrington (MQ), Jill Roe (MQ). The research was undertaken by Adele Nye (MQ). This research report examines the second question of the questionnaire and looks at activities that students believe develop their historical thinking. The national data largely reflected a surprisingly consistent pattern of responses demonstrating shared perceptions of the discipline. In particular two options; using secondary sources and engaging in discussion with academic staff in the classroom; were ranked as the most popular by a majority of students. However, there were also some results that reflected difference in views. This was primarily evident when examining results of first year students, later year students and those from NSW who had studied History Extension in the Higher School Certificate. The findings raise questions about accessing and understanding evidence, assessment strategies and the engagement in a disciplinary dialogue.

Read the report…