Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Graduate Education

First Advisor

Steve Holtrop


This action research study investigated the effects of different types of instruction on student learning of historical thinking. There are several instructional methods to teaching history but most fall into two major approaches: chronological or thematic. This study used twenty-eight high school students in two sections of a junior-senior World History course. The research project utilized three full eighteen day instructional units: The World War II unit was taught from the chronological perspective, the Cold War unit was taught from the thematic, and the instruction for the globalization unit utilized a blended approach or combination of the chronological and thematic pedagogies. Each unit of instruction ended with a common assessment type that was designed to assess the historical – chronological thinking skills of the students. It was anticipated that the blended or combined approach would prove to be the most effective method of instruction for teaching history -- when one of the objectives is to emphasize historical thinking skills. The results of the study confirmed this prediction; however, all three methods of instruction showed different areas of instructional effectiveness. The data indicate that selection of the instructional approach by the teacher does matter when it comes to the learning objectives of the course. The blended or combined approach is the most effective approach to teaching history to increase the learning of the most number of students. The combined approach strongly appears to better meet the needs of the lower level students to demonstrate their understanding of historical content and historical skills like chronological thinking.


Action Research Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Education