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Lee, Peter, Alaric Dickinson, and Rosalyn Ashby. “‘Just Another Emperor’: Understanding Action in the Past.” International Journal of Educational Research 27(3) (1997): 233-44.


This paper reports part of an investigation of children’s ideas about explanation and enquiry in history carried out by project CHATA in 3 primary and 6 secondary schools in England. Three sets of tasks were administered on three separate occasions to children aged 7 to 14 years of age (N=320). Responses to one task exploring children’s ideas about the explanation of action in history are discussed. Almost all children (including the 7 year olds) could offer plausible reasons for individual action in history, and there was a progression from emphasis on personal desires to an awareness of the need to explain action by relating purposes to the agent’s situation.

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