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      Qualifying counterfactuals: Students' use of counterfactuals for evaluating historical explanations

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            Abstract

            The study investigates upper secondary school students' use of counterfactual reasoning when engaging in a task concerning historical explanation. The study analyses student answers to a prompt asking them to evaluate the causal importance of a historical actor for a historical event, aiming to characterize the counterfactuals used, as well as applying possible criteria for what can be considered a qualified counterfactual. The criteria for qualification of counterfactuals are based on theoretical proposals about the potential of counterfactuals in relation to historical explanation. The findings indicate that a majority of the students involved use counterfactuals in their reasoning about explanatory importance, most of them employing counterfactual reasoning in relation to the historical actor. The analysis of qualification indicates that student reasoning becomes more qualified when students instead focus on structural factors, include both structures and actors in their counterfactual reasoning, or support their reasoning by making comparisons.

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            Journal
            75011015
            History Education Research Journal
            UCL IOE Press
            1472-9474
            1472-9466
            01 April 2020
            : 17
            : 1
            : 50-67
            Article
            1472-9474(20200401)17:1L.50;1- s5.phd /ioep/herj/2020/00000017/00000001/art00005
            10.18546/HERJ.17.1.05
            8462f8e4-e46d-4577-b084-8bdd9776438c
            Copyright @ 2020
            History
            Categories
            Articles

            Educational research & Statistics,General education,History
            HISTORICAL THINKING,HISTORY EDUCATION,HISTORICAL EXPLANATION,COUNTERFACTUALS

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