Informing, transforming, inquiring: Approaches to elementary social studies in methods course syllabi

Stephanie Schroeder, Natasha C. Murray-Everett, Jacob Gates, Sarah B. Shear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated approaches to the elementary social studies methods syllabus from instructors of courses across the United States. Using qualitative content analysis, we explored 48 methods syllabi using a deductive framework of Information Based Systems of education, Transformation Based Systems of Education, and Inquiry Based Systems of education. Ultimately, we determined that over half (n = 27) of the collected syllabi reflected an Information Based System of education meant to prepare students for certification, lesson and unit planning, and best practice social studies instruction. Fewer (n = 14) prepared pre-service teachers to challenge official knowledge and position social studies instruction within socio-political realities of students and fewer still prepared pre-service teachers to center inquiry-based instruction guided by the C3 Framework (n = 11). We position these findings within dominant trends in elementary social studies scholarship and conclude that too few methods courses reflect the scholarly trend toward transformative, justice-oriented, or inquiry-based elementary social studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-117
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Studies Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Informing, transforming, inquiring: Approaches to elementary social studies in methods course syllabi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this