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Engaging Students in Historical Inquiry Using Internet Resources

National Council for the Social Studies Annual Meeting,


Social studies educators have promoted inquiry learning as a valuable method of instruction. Research into the use of inquiry methods in the teaching and learning of history has demonstrated that this method has much to offer. Recently, the use of technological tools, including the Internet, has received attention as a means of transforming social studies instruction. This case study of sixth-grade students (n=23) investigated the integration of the inquiry learning method and the Internet medium through the WebQuest approach. A WebQuest may be defined as an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Internet. Data consisted of field observations, interviews with students, student work, and a teacher's journal. Findings are presented as three hypotheses for future study of the WebQuest approach to inquiry learning: (1) students have differing perceptions of the value of Internet sources and print sources, but many find print sources preferable to Internet sources; (2) students' strategies for gathering and organizing information are initially characterized by a quest for the "Path-of-Least-Resistance," but the teacher can successfully guide students to more productive approaches; and (3) students of varying academic ability levels can conduct inquiry-oriented investigations, but they approach and perceive the value of such investigations differently. The interview protocol is appended. (Contains 49 references.) (Author/BT)


Milson, A.J. (2001). Engaging Students in Historical Inquiry Using Internet Resources. Presented at National Council for the Social Studies Annual Meeting 2001. Retrieved October 19, 2019 from .

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