Female high school students' attitude and perceptions toward the social studies discipline

Ralph David Protano, Fordham University


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the attitudes and perceptions of parochial high school female students toward their high school social studies courses. It described what factors shaped those attitudes, the effects of certain teaching methodologies on students' attitudes, and the attitudinal differences between 10th-grade and 12th-grade female students. A descriptive research design was utilized for this study since the purpose of this research was to yield descriptive knowledge of population parameters and relationships among those parameters. This design was chosen since it was concerned with relationships between participants and the attitudes and perceptions that are held by them. The type of descriptive research which was used to ascertain student attitudes was survey research in the form of student questionnaires. In addition, interview data were triangulated with each interviewee's survey results in order to better understand the results of these student participants' attitudes and perceptions toward social studies. Several conclusions were drawn from the analysis of the data, including the following: (a) female student respondents displayed positive attitudes toward social studies as a subject area; (b) female students had positive attitudes and perceptions toward social studies due to content which was culturally oriented and has greater application to the daily lives of students, discussion-type classes, combination-type tests with only one essay, and the assigning of research projects; (c) female students had negative attitudes and perceptions toward social studies content that is not culturally oriented, the use of teaching that is largely lecture, the use of oral reports, and essay only type tests. Further research is needed on attitudes students have toward social studies when students are compared on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, and religion. Furthermore, continued investigation into gender bias of social studies textbooks and resource materials would be timely research since historical truth is being ignored by authors and publishers when their textbooks are silent on the identities, function, relevance, and accomplishments of women, resulting in the miseducation of both male and female students.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Social studies education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Protano, Ralph David, "Female high school students' attitude and perceptions toward the social studies discipline" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3101156.