Graduate Program

Elementary Education

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Author's Department

Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle Level Education

First Advisor

John H. Bickford III


This study analyzed students' use of diverse sources for a history-based writing assignment on Abraham Lincoln. Participants includes 41 students in a fifth grade self-contained classroom in rural Illinois. The study was conducted during students' 30-minute writing period, every day for six weeks. During this time period, students close-read trade books and primary sources to collect research on Lincoln. Students also gathered additional information during their field trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Students synthesized their information from the various sources and organized the notes to write an informational, history-based writing piece on Lincoln. Students were required to cite their various sources and corroborate information between sources. Finally, student selected one of three finishing option to share their information with others. The results of the study suggested that students seemed genuinely motivated and intrigued by the assignment, they used close reading to analyze diverse texts effectively but not perfectly, and they engaged in complex forms of writing using non-fiction, history-based curricula. Overall, students were successful in using, citing, and corroborating diverse sources for this complex, history-based writing unit.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.