Graduate Program

Elementary Education

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III


This study examined the sources cited by sixth grade who had been exposed to multiple sources pertaining to a historical topic. The purpose of this study was to determine whether students exhibited a preference for specific types of sources when constructing and demonstrating knowledge about historic events, figures, or a specific time period. A total of 46 students participated in the study which extended over eight class periods of approximately 50 minutes each. During these class periods students constructed knowledge about historical figure, Rosa Parks, and the events of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Students were presented with a variety of resources including primary sources, excerpts from trade books, and excerpts from informational texts. Through close reading, teacher-guided notes, and whole class discussion students were able to gain an understanding of this time period. At the end of this unit students completed a Venn diagram to showcase what they had learned about this particular historical content. From the Venn diagrams, conclusions were drawn about student source preferences. Findings included evidence that rather than relying on trade books or historical documents as sources of their knowledge, students most frequently cited sources that are in the informational text genre. But there was evidence of source corroboration and some instances of multifaceted corroboration by students. Overall, students were successful in making meaning from multiple texts, while indicating a preference to cite informational texts.