A Critical Analysis of the Representation of Race in High School Social Studies WebQuests

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Title: A Critical Analysis of the Representation of Race in High School Social Studies WebQuests
Author: Weeks, Tracy
Advisors: Jane Steelman, Committee Member
Diane Chapman, Committee Member
Patricia Marshall, Committee Member
Ellen Vasu, Committee Co-Chair
Alan Foley, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: This study critically examines how race is constructed and represented in a sample of high school social studies WebQuests. The study is located within instructional technology and instructional design and framed within critical theory, critical race theory, and multicultural education. The discussion is constructed as an examination of the role of multicultural education within the field of instructional technology as opposed to the role of instructional technology within the field of multicultural education. The sample includes twelve secondary social studies WebQuests selected based on their high level of multiculturality according to Gorski's multicultural web site evaluation criteria. Critical discourse analysis is used to examine how the sample of WebQuests constructs race and the role that Internet resources and instructional design play in that construction. The topics, images, roles, and external Internet resources included in the WebQuests are the focus of the analysis. The Internet resources are examined with respect to the categories of resource, the sources of knowledge the resources represent, and how the resources are used to construct knowledge within the WebQuests. The findings show that white topics of interest and methods dominate the sample WebQuests. The topics were divided into three categories: explicit references to race, implied references to race, and those that ignore race altogether with the final category containing the largest number of WebQuests. Further, the images present in the sample WebQuests overwhelmingly represent white people. Roles defined for cooperative learning only specify race when referring to people of color and are limited in number in comparison to roles which do not specify race. The external Internet resources in the sample WebQuests rely on sources of knowledge that provided information as a third person retelling of the events and usually did not acknowledge any bias or worldview that formed the lens through which the information was provided. Resources that contained first person stories were stories from white men in almost all cases. Stories and counter stories from people of color were largely absent from the sources of knowledge.
Date: 2005-07-08
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3534

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