Students Writing History Using Traditional and Digital Archives

Thomas Nygren


This study shows that upper secondary students’ historical writing may be influenced by their use of sources from traditional archives versus their use of digital sources in databases. A qualitative approach, theoretical perspectives, and historical empathy seem to be stimulated primarily by using traditional archives and print sources, while digital archives and sources, in contrast, stimulate the use of quantitative data and a more social scientific approach. The results indicate a historiographical shift in students’ historical thinking, which researchers of history education need to consider in a digital era. The results of this study call for reflections in history teaching to make it possible for students to learn and experience the double nature of history as part of the humanities and social sciences.


archives, databases, historical thinking, history teaching, primary sources

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