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Barton, Keith C. "Challenging the Familiar." In Researching History Education: Theory, Method and Context, edited by Linda S. Levstik and Keith C. Barton, 292-99. New York: Routledge, 2008.


In this chapter, Keith Barton reflects on how he came to do research in Northern Ireland and what he learnt about the role context plays in influencing ideas related to identity and history. He stresses that doing international research is a special blend of luck and planning and that his research in Northern Ireland taught him how even the best laid plans will not produce the results you are looking for. As part of a collection that aims to make apparent the process and product of history education research, this reflection contextualizes Barton’s previously published articles “’You’d be Wanting to Know About the Past’: Social Contexts of Children’s Historical Understanding in Northern Ireland and The United States,” and “A Sociocultural Perspective on Children’s Understanding of Historical Change: Comparative Findings from Northern Ireland and The United States.” Barton reflects on the insights he gleaned while looking for the results he expected and what he learnt when he put those expectations away.


Samantha Cutrara