March 26, 1999 Draft


Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies Educational Research

Ph.D. in Urban Education


     Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies educational research is the study of what defines us as human, and how human culture and society is constructed and maintained, particularly through the institution of schooling. AHSS research focuses on the human fundamentals: language and literacy, communication and representation, creative and critical thinking, imagination and reflection, civility and collaboration, cooperation and individuation.

     The tradition of study in AHSS is well-established, including many sub-fields, but all of the research is directed toward a key set of research outcomes aimed at defining and discovering cultural imperatives, enhancing the creative and critical skills of the citizenry, and promoting education for the commonweal. Each of these areas of investigation rests in the context of the myriad and, sometimes conflicting, expectations for the preservation and transformation of the artistic, cultural, social, and political traditions of the nation.

 Research in AHSS education takes as its purpose the study of the initiation of children and adolescents into the knowledge, skills, and values of the established culture, the investigation and alteration of the school curriculum in light of changing cultural conditions and expectations, the study and reformation of pedagogy to enhance AHSS teaching in the schools, the investigation of appropriate design and content for the education and development of AHSS teachers, the development of models for assessing AHSS teaching, and the refinement of research methodology in the various AHSS fields of study.

     Though studies in AHSS tend to be directed at disciplinary frames for study, the opportunities for interdisciplinary research are rich, and, in deed, most research envisioned for the Ph.D. in Urban Education will require investigation under an interdisciplinary umbrella. The interdisciplinary questions likely to drive all AHSS research in the program are listed below:


AHSS Key Research Questions:


1) Language, Media, and Culture

How do students gain proficiency in, respond to, communicate and represent knowledge, understanding, and values through multiple symbol systems in school and society?

2) The Roles of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies Teacher

How do AHSS teachers develop identities and learn professional roles through cultural study, assessment, definition, and transformation, and how does this development of identities and roles contribute to the production of pedagogical and curricular research and reformation?

3) Cognition and Understanding in AHSS

What are the nature and construction of knowledge in the AHSS, and what are the effects of pedagogical frames such as situated cognition, metacognition, relational knowledge, self-regulated learning, ways of knowing, and democratic learning in the attainment and refinement of artistic, social, and cultural knowledge, skills, and values?

4) Contexts of Learning the AHSS

What are the historical, cultural, economic, social, geographic, political, technological, and institutional constraints and opportunities for the development of group and cultural identity (language, gender, class, ethnicity), knowledge and use of the AHSS, and assessment of AHSS schooling in the 21st century?

5) Pedagogical Negotiation of Community Expectations

What new state and community expectations will AHSS pedagogy need to negotiate given developing trends for the 21st century, including high-stakes testing and increased credentialling, high technology developments in cybernetics and artificial intelligence, globalization of political economy, and the transformation of "human nature" through social policy developed from scientifically rationalized research?


The Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies education research tradition draws on the following research perspectives:

1) Language and Literacy Development

2) Cultural Anthropology and Cultural Theory

3) Perception and Creativity Theory

4) Curriculum Theory and Practice

5) Cognitive Development and Learning Theory

6) Communication Theory

7) Developmental and Social Psychology

8) Sociological and Political Theory

9) Philosophy and Ethics

10) Technological and Cybernetic Theories


Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies education research tradition includes the following disciplinary research categories:

1) Art Education (Studio and Discipline-based)

2) English Education (Composing and Literary Reading)

3) Social Studies Education

4) Language Education (Foreign Language, ESL, Bilingual)

5) Literacy Education (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Viewing)

6) Early Childhood and Elementary Education (AHSS developmental components)


[Individual reports on research in each of these areas to follow.]