This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Using Hyperlinked Scaffolding to Support Student Work with Text-based Source Documents as Part of a Problem-Based Historical Inquiry Lesson




Mitchell, Linda

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


Although many social studies education experts recommend the use of resource documents as part of history education, many social studies teachers are reluctant to utilize these historical resources. One reason for this reluctance is the belief that students will have difficulty understanding and using the resources in a meaningful way. This is especially true for students with reading skills that are below average. When teachers do not regularly include the use of resource documents in their history classes, students are unable to develop first-hand knowledge of the past and instructional methods such as inquiry become difficult to successfully implement. In order to allow teachers to utilize historical resource documents techniques must be employed that enable all students to successfully read and use the documents within the classroom setting. Including hyperlinked scaffolding may be one way to provide the definitional, historical background, and metacognitive assistance many students need as they read complex historical resource documents. This study examines the ways students with various levels of reading skills utilize scaffolded historical resource documents within a problem-based inquiry lesson. The study was completed in two seventh grade social studies classrooms using a design experimental method. Students read three resource documents that included hyperlinked scaffolding and data analysis was completed using qualitative methods. Differences were seen in the ways above average, average, and below average readers utilized the hyperlinked scaffolding as they read the online documents. Many of the findings suggest that students utilize these texts in ways that are similar to the ways they utilize print text. Average readers, however, tended to become frustrated with the processes involved in both the reading and the inquiry-based lesson. Data suggests that the use of the hyperlinked scaffolding was successful and assisted the students in utilizing the documents as part of the problem-based inquiry lesson. Another aspect of the study indicated that the teachers involved in this study and in a pilot study were able to successfully anticipate the areas where students would need assistance as they read the documents.