Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brenner, Devon

Committee Member

Harper, Sallie

Committee Member

Watson, Joshua

Committee Member

Pope, Margaret

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


Many students feel that studying social studies is boring and not relevant to their lives. In social studies, the most common method of instruction is the transmission model in which the textbook becomes the curriculum and the teacher transmits knowledge through lecture. In the participatory model of instruction, the teacher facilitates student-led literature discussion groups utilizing narrative and expository trade books with the textbook as a resource. Previous research has indicated that instructional methods may affect student attitude and achievement; however, there is limited empirical research that is definitive on which instructional method is significantly better for students. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of literature-based instruction with lecture-style instruction on student achievement and attitude toward social studies. Participants included 76 Grade 8 U.S. History students from two middle schools in a southern state of the United States. Of these 76 students, 28 were in the experimental group and 48 were in the control group. All students were administered a content knowledge test and an attitude toward social studies survey before beginning the unit of study and again after the conclusion of the unit. To analyze the data from content knowledge, a repeated-measures analysis of variance was used with the difference scores serving as the dependent variable. Results showed that there was not a significant difference in content knowledge difference scores from pretest to posttest between students taught through literature-based instruction and those taught through lecture-style instruction. To analyze the data from the attitude survey, the two groups’ difference scores were compared on a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance. The results indicated that two of the nine constructs tested showed a significant difference from the pre-study survey to the post-study survey which were: (a) attitude toward social studies and (b) student perception of the usefulness of social studies. The findings from this study suggest that when students are taught social studies through literature-based instruction, they are more likely to have significantly higher attitudes toward the subject and find relevance to their own lives than when they are taught through lecture-style instruction using only the textbook.



content area literacy||adolescent literacy||attitude||motivation||middle grades||literature-based instruction||trade books||reading engagement