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Planning Park Interpretation 310
Interpretive Media Development 311
Leaning Interpreters 330
Interpretive Research
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About the Module The Curriculum Certification Standard About Submission More Resources Anchor Products

Component for Module 340

Advanced Knowledge of the Resource (KR)

Content Outline l Resources l Suggested Developmental Activities l Next Component


Advanced KR helps connect resource meanings with audience interests and points of
view. This component provides tools for: recognizing the interpretive value
of advanced KR; acquiring advanced KR; and using the professional disciplines of
science and history to identify and evaluate multiple audience perspectives.


At the completion of this component the learner will be able to:

  • Articulate ways in which advanced KR supports the interpreter's ability to facilitate opportunities for audiences to make their own intellectual and emotional connections to the meanings and significance inherent in the resource;

  • Apply advanced research skills to the acquisition of KR;

  • Use the philosophies, methodologies, and assumptions of professional disciplines to identify and analyze multiple audience perspectives.


Full performance interpretation requires advanced KR-a comprehensive understanding
of the multiple meanings and types of significance associated with the resource.
Research and advanced KR has specific interpretive value. They help connect resource meanings to distinct audiences as well as aid the selection of appropriate interpretive techniques. Advanced research skills allow interpreters to gather information that potentially establishes relevance and creates opportunities for audiences to make their own intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings and significance inherent in the resource.

Learners should strive to meet the standards articulated here in subject areas most relevant to their own resource and should seek to understand the assumptions and parameters of their most relevant professional disciplines before moving on to other disciplines. However, as few resources can be accurately described as exclusively scientific or historic, full performance interpreters are obligated to continue their research and broaden their study of both disciplines with time.

Content Outline

I. Advanced KR - Assumptions

A. Resources possess multiple meanings and advanced KR requires a comprehensive understanding of those meanings.

B. Some meanings are more relevant to some audiences than others.

C. Audiences have multiple perspectives on similar resource meanings.

D. Scholars, specialists, and audiences ascribe different and new meanings to the resource over time.

II. Advanced KR - Why?

A. Advanced KR provides context for the resource's stories.

  1. Context is the resource's relationships, comparisons, and connections to meanings, universal concepts, processes, systems, ideas, values, events, movements, changes, time-periods, theories, interpretations, models, and other resources.

  2. Greater knowledge of context increases the interpreter's ability to make tangible/intangible/universal concept links.

B. Advanced KR provides the ability to:

  1. Identify multiple meanings in the resource;

  2. Establish relevance for the audience;

  3. Address multiple audience perspectives; (See: Appropriate Technique: Connecting Multiple Resource Meanings to Multiple Audience Interests and Perspectives)

  4. Communicate about specific topics with expertise;

  5. Work with scholars and specialists;

  6. Be accurate and current about a wide variety of resource topics and interpretations;

  7. Do advanced and original research, document resource knowledge, and share KR with the public and park staff.

Most interpreters are not given the time to design and execute experiments, conduct extensive series of oral histories, or do comprehensive and publishable primary research. However, full performance interpreters have knowledge of how such work is done and continually perform original and advanced research through informed reading of scholarship, primary sources, and communication with scholars, specialists, and authorities.

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III. Accuracy and current information - Why?

Interpretation that is accurate provides a verifiable and comprehensive description, is errorless, and conforms to facts. An interpreter must always be accurate. All resource meanings, with enough knowledge and understanding, can and must be interpreted accurately. For example: an interpreter can accurately describe and explain the theory of Evolution as well as the tenets and explanations of Creationism. Likewise an interpreter can accurately describe and explain theories, perceptions, and understandings from the past that effect, conflict with, and/or contribute to theories, perceptions, and understandings in the present.

Interpretation that is current incorporates recent and ongoing discussion of the resource and its subject matter. This includes questions being asked by scholars, specialists, and the general public as well as what they are thinking and saying about the work that is being done. There can be multiple current explanations, theories, and interpretations that complement and/or conflict with each other. Currency also includes understanding of the general acceptance and use of a position by the professional community as well as popular culture and specific groups of people. An interpreter uses current information to provoke or provide additional opportunities for the audience to make their own intellectual and emotional connections to the resource.

A. The resource, audience, and agency are best served by interpretation that is accurate and uses current information.

  1. An audience that understands the multiple meanings of the resource and multiple points of view about the resource is more likely to support care for the resource.

  2. Audiences expect and even assume the presentation of accurate interpretation and current information.

  3. Agency credibility depends on the presentation of accurate interpretation and current information.

B. Effective interpretation requires comprehensive knowledge, understanding, and explanation of multiple resource meanings and audience perspectives-not just popular and current ones, in order to:

  1. be relevant;

  2. demonstrate familiarity with diverse sources of knowledge and opinion, which engenders trust in the open-mindedness of the interpreter;

  3. demonstrate respect for audience points of view;

  4. encourage dialogue;

  5. provoke or provide diverse audiences with opportunities for personal intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings of the resource;

  6. allow audiences to make decisions for themselves. (See: Appropriate Techniques: Connecting Multiple Resource Meanings to Multiple Audience Interests and Perspectives component.)

  7. provide context for NPS perspectives.

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IV. Advanced KR and research skills

A. Full performance interpretation requires accurate and in-depth knowledge of:

  1. primary and secondary source material

  2. the subject matter's current scholarship and issues;

  3. previous theories, interpretations, and historiography;

  4. the philosophies, methodologies, and assumptions of the relevant professional discipline;

  5. techniques for evaluating sources of information and comparing ideas.

B. Full-performance interpretation requires the equivalent of graduate school and/or assistant researcher abilities in the concepts and data related to the resource. A full performance interpreter:
  1. Understands methods of data collection and is able to assist those who publish professional and original scientific or historical work;

  2. Uses analytical tools to evaluate a variety of sources of information--for example: peer reviewed articles; gray literature (for example: organizational reports, dissertations, or other unpublished but distributed sources); direct scientific measurement /observation/ monitoring; comparative study of artifacts and specimens; primary documents; secondary interpretations; historiography; and oral histories;

  3. Is able to plan and apply research techniques to achieve park and interpretive program goals and explore the wide scope of perspectives and interpretations on a given subject;

  4. Reads, documents, and makes available all sources used for interpretation;

  5. Applies appropriate ethics for using and referencing the work of others;

  6. Evaluates research within the context of other research and a variety of broader contexts.

  7. Understands and can describe the principles and methodologies of the natural and cultural disciplines that relate to their resource.

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V. Suggested strategies for acquiring advanced resource knowledge.

A. Current Scholarship

  1. Establish personal contact with researchers conducting the work.

a) Much critical natural resources research is produced by park natural resource divisions, the U.S. Geological Survey - Biological Resources Division, university scientists, state and federal agencies, and consulting firms. Many agencies now produce synopses of current research in hard copy or on the web as well as ways to contact researchers.

b) Park historians, university historians, state, produce much historical research and federal agencies, and consulting firms. Many historical journals are available on the web as well as ways to contact researchers.

c) Join professional organizations and attend conferences.

  1. Read new publications as well as reviews of new publications. Professional journals provide the most up-to-date information.

B. Evolution of theories, interpretations, historiography (What we used to think, why we thought it, and why we think differently now.)

  1. Read current publications and then read those publications' references.

  2. Read publications that describe the evolution of a scientific or historic issue or idea and professional journals that feature bibliographic essays.

  3. Contact scholars and specialists.

C. Personal resource immersion (See: Module 210: Prepare and Present an Effective Conducted Activity-Component Plan: Resource Immersion)

D. Comparative Study

  1. How does the subject matter compare with similar subjects in different geographic areas, conditions, time periods, interpretations, or theories?

  2. How can the differences and similarities expand KR?

E. Unpublished sources-Most parks and researchers have unpublished research reports and records that may provide current and valuable information. Examples include: document, artifact, and historic photograph collections, memoranda, permit reports, Section 106 compliance records, resource management reports, field notes, and exhibit plans.

F. Use local sources and specialists-for example, naturalists, clubs, historical societies, newspapers, and oral histories.

G. World Wide Web

  1. The WWW provides access to a wide variety of libraries, archives, agencies, and perspectives.

  2. The WWW requires skillful evaluation of sources. What is the intent of the website? Is it educational or does it primarily express opinion? Does it provide citations? How does the information and interpretation it provides relate to other information and interpretations?

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VI. Sources for learning how to conduct full performance research.

A. Module 103: Preparing and Presenting an Effective Interpretive Talk-Component: Interpretive Program Research

B. Philosophy of Science and Research Methods-suggested readings in bliography below)

C. Philosophy of History and Research Methods-suggested readings in bibliography below)

D. College Courses

E. Internet distance learning

VII. Professional disciplines: philosophies, methodologies, and assumptions

A. Why?

  1. The philosophies, methodologies, and assumptions of science and history help interpreters:

a) analyze and evaluate sources and interpretations;
b) recognize that ambiguity and disagreement are intricate to both science and history and are essential to the evolution of knowledge and understanding;
c) recognize some of the reasons for ambiguity and disagreement regarding their own resource;
d) analyze, understand, and respond interpretively to multiple audience perspectives.

  1. The National Park Service uses professional standards and academic methods for resource management and interpretive programming. However, full performance interpreters should go well beyond the strict methodology of these professions in order to facilitate the connection of resource meanings to audience interests. Personal anecdotes, recreational activities, appeals to beauty, stories, oral tradition, belief, empathy, and memory are examples of appropriate interpretive tools that cannot be classified as professional science or history.

B. Science - "Science…is the organized, systematic enterprise that gathers knowledge about the world and condenses the knowledge into testable laws and principles."-Edward O. Wilson (Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1998. P. 53.)

  1. Science gathers evidence to test explanations of what things are and how things work.

    A) Science is more than observation, the recording of data, the increase of knowledge, and the development of technology. While all of these efforts and the fields that exercise them are important and valuable, they represent aspects of "professional," "pure," or "academic" science.
    b) Science attempts to establish common understandings that explain the interactions of nature.
    c) Science assumes nature is essentially orderly and that if objective and verifiable questions are asked, unified explanations, laws, schemes, models, or theories regarding nature are possible.
    d) Questions that require subjective and/or emotional answers have no scientific meaning and are not in the realm of science.
    e) The work of science is cumulative, builds upon itself, and progresses.

  1. Science examines nature to answer specific questions. Much of the work of science is determining what the questions are.

  2. Science attempts to gain objective answers to questions through tests and experiments.

a) Successful experiments produce measurable evidence.
b) Much of the difficult work of science is determining how an experiment may most effectively question the hypothesis.
c) Experiments, in order to be logical and scientifically meaningful, require the possibility of falsification or the conceivable possibility that the hypothesis can be disproved.
d) Experiments must be replicable in order for conclusions to be valid.

4. Science organizes conclusions into larger explanations.

a) Explanations generated by experiments are further tested and validated through efforts to establish their consistency and integration with other explanations.
b) The more a given explanation fits with other explanations and helps answer other questions the greater validity it attains.
c) The process of science is self-correcting.

(1) Some explanations gain validity as they are continually tested and evaluated against new explanations.
(2) Some explanations lose validity, are refined, or are replaced as they are continually tested and evaluated against new explanations.

d) Theories are the foundations of science. They are widely accepted hypotheses that have not been disproven.

(1) A scientific theory is more than a simple opinion as the common use of the word "theory" might suggest.
(2) Scientific theories elegantly and logically account for a comprehensive range of evidence and explanations and therefore contribute to a more general and fundamental scientific explanation.
(3) Scientific theories are challenged, refined and validated by competent critics over time. They are the most tested and accepted scientific explanations presently available.
(4) Scientific theories continue to be refined and adjusted to accommodate testing and logical analysis presented by new scientific explanations.
(5) Scientific theories are conceptual, not susceptible to direct experimental verification, and cannot be described as absolute truth as there is no external objective truth by which to measure them.

e) Scientists often disagree. This ambiguity helps drive efforts for greater understanding and more useful explanations.

  1. Professional science generates publishable work that contributes explanations to the larger body of knowledge.

a) General process

(1) identify problem
(2) background research
(3) Identify question and experiment or test
(4) conduct pilot study to evaluate data collection methods
(5) conduct full study (experiment or test)
(6) data analysis and interpretation
(7) conclusion
(8) write paper
(9) peer review
(10) final publication
(11) dissemination (additional peer review)

b) Sources for the interpreter

(1) Data generated by experiment or test
(2) Peer-reviewed scientific journals with wide distribution
(3) Review articles that synthesize the conclusions of primary sources
(4) Technical reports, dissertations, final funding reports, permit reports, and other types of unpublished "gray literature"
(5) Proceedings and Abstracts-usually not widely distributed
(6) Textbooks
(7) WWW journals and sites-some are peer reviewed, some are not.
(8) Popular -National Geographic, Scientific America, Nature, etc.

c) Ethics-Professional scientists use appropriate citations and provide full credit for any contributions.

6. Related fields

a) NPS Natural Resource Management-Uses scientific conclusions and techniques to protect and restore natural systems. Natural resource management may also generate and/or participate in scientific study.

(1) Activities

(a) Park-based work that surveys, identifies, maps, monitors, and evaluates resource conditions, processes, and species.
(b) Concerned with subjects like endangered species, non-native species, water and air quality, environmental stewardship, natural systems, legal compliance, and planning.
(c) Based on scientific conclusions and techniques; plans and executes efforts to manage consumptive uses, preserve, and restore resources.
(d) Works with adjacent landowners and land-managers.
(e) Shares scientific knowledge with larger community.

(2) Sources

(a) Relevant published and unpublished scientific materials
(b) Park documents
(c) Resource management journals
(d) Inventory and monitoring data

b) Natural History-Knowledge is derived from a variety of sources, scientific, popular, and philosophical, but is largely gained through observation and personal experience. A skilled scientist might also be a naturalist, however a skilled naturalist is not necessarily a scientist.

(1) Activities

a) Field based
(b) Relies on resource immersion
(c) Can be informal or academic
(d) Closely related to inventory
(e) Concerned with observation, identification, behavior, and habitat use

(2) Sources

(a) Relevant published and unpublished scientific materials
(b) Field guides
(c) Species lists
(d) Philosophy-for example Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Carolyn Merchant, Jared Diamond

C. History - "A historian is someone (anyone) who asks an open-ended question about past events and answers it with selected facts which are arranged in the form of an explanatory paradigm."-David Hackett Fischer (Historian's Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought, Harper Colophon Books, New York, 1979, xv).

  1. History gathers evidence that describes and explains the past.

a) History is more than information, artifacts, primary sources, or a chronicle of events about the past. While each of these and the fields that specialize in them are valuable, they represent aspects of "professional," "pure," or "academic" history.
b) History constructs explanations or interpretations about the actions, ideas, and relationships of people in the past as well as the effects of events.
c) History strives for accurate explanations of actual events but recognizes that explanations are relative and "always changing in response to the increase or refinement of knowledge." (Carl L. Becker, "Everyman His Own Historian," American Historical Review, XXXVII (January, 1932), 221.)
d) History assumes it is possible to accumulate understanding of the past, convey understanding of the past, and provoke additional pursuit of answers to questions about the past. Some historians assume this knowledge can clarify choices and provide insight for the present and future.
e) History assumes that it will never be possible to know everything about the past.
f) The process of history often creates new questions and the need for additional explanations.

  1. History selects evidence to develop explanations of the past.

a) History does not attempt to capture the entire past or the entirety of any of its parts-this would be an infinite and impossible task.
b) History asks questions about the past, considers relevant evidence, selects and analyzes evidence, crafts explanations and interpretations, and conveys those explanations and interpretations.
c) Selecting evidence for its authenticity, reliability, accuracy, credibility, relevance, usefulness, and comprehensive nature is one of the primary challenges of history.
d) Sources of evidence, perspectives on evidence, and methods for evaluating and measuring evidence has broadened significantly since the 1960s.
e) The selection process depends on the judgements, interests, and abilities of the historian.

  1. Historical explanations and interpretations are evaluated by:

a) The presence or absence of comprehensive evidence;
b) The presence or absence of logic and reason;
c) The presence or absence of bias;
d) The context of related historical explanations;
e) Their ability to persuade the community of historians.

  1. Historical explanations and interpretations are intrinsically related to the interests, judgements, and abilities of the historians crafting them and the times and societies in which they live.

a) Historical explanations and interpretations reflect what is deemed to be important in the present.
b) Historical explanations and interpretations are constantly changing.

(1) Present issues create new questions that require the adjustment of other explanations and interpretations.
(2) New evidence, as well as newly applied analytical tools, requires the adjustment of other explanations and interpretations.

c) New explanations are "revisionist" of previous explanations and thus almost all historical explanations are revisionist.
d) The profession of history no longer strives to establish consensus or definitive interpretations of history. Rather, the profession views historical explanation as part of an evolving process of understanding and as reflective of the time.

  1. Each historical explanation or interpretation has some value.

a) Each explanation or interpretation tells something about the historian/perspective/time that crafted it and how the past can be viewed.
b) History might then be said to give us a series of different but not incompatible portraits of the past, each reflecting it from a different view." (Walsh, W.H. An Introduction to Philosophy of History, Hutchinson University Library, London, 1958, 20.)

  1. Professional history generates publishable work to broaden the public's understanding of the development of American culture.

a) General process

(1) Formulate question
(2) Identify sources
(3) Gather evidence
(4) Analyze and interpret evidence
(5) Explanation, interpretation, or conclusion (usually involves peer review)
(6) Generate, for example, exhibit, program, film, presentation, paper, article, book (additional peer review)

b) Sources

(1) Primary sources (direct evidence)-for example, diaries, letters, public records as well as material culture, buildings, and oral histories.
(2) Secondary sources

(a) Peer reviewed historic journals with wide dissemination
(b) Review articles that describe and synthesize other explanations
(c) Dissertations, compliance reports, funding reports, NPS cultural landscape reports, NPS historic resource studies, and other types of "gray literature"
(d) Proceedings and abstracts-usually not widely distributed
(e) Textbooks
(f) WWW journals and sites-some are peer reviewed, some are not
(g) Popular-American Heritage, Civil War Times Illustrated, etc.

c) Ethics--Professional historians use appropriate citations and provide full credit for any contributions.

7. Related fields

a) Cultural or Historic Resources Management-Uses historical information and explanations along with technology to preserve, maintain, and encourage the use of historic places, documents, and artifacts. Cultural or historic resource management may also generate and/or participate in historic research and publication.

(1) Activities

(a) Identifies, monitors, records, and evaluates resource conditions.
(b) Works with diversity of cultural resources, exhibits, personal service interpretation, cultural landscapes, archives, tribes, museum curration, legal compliance, archeology, ethnography, architecture, document and artifact conservation, and planning.
(c) Plans and executes efforts to preserve and restore historic resources.
(d) Works with adjacent landowners and land managers.
(e) Shares resource knowledge with larger community.

(2) Sources

a) Relevant published and unpublished historical materials
(b) Site documents
(c) Cultural or historical resource management journals
(d) Inventory and monitoring data
(e) Archival collections-oral histories, photographs, etc
(f) Living participants

b) "Collectors of Antiquities"-Primarily concerned with the preservation, description, rarity, and documentation of specific types of historic information or tangible historic resources. Antiquarians have great knowledge of specific aspects of history and/or material culture. A historian, one who is interested in the explanations of the past, might also be a collector of antiquities; however, a collector of antiquities is not necessarily a historian.

(1) Activities

(a) Personal contact with historic information, locations, and artifacts
(b) Chronicles or "captures" specific parts of the past
(c) Often interacts with tangible resource taken out of historic context
(d) Relies on personal experience and experience of other collectors
(e) Can be informal or academic
(f) Concerned with identification and provenance

(2) Sources

(a) Relevant published and unpublished historical materials
(b) Written accounts of other chroniclers
(c) Collectors guides
(d) Auction catalogs and price lists

VIII. Evaluating Conclusions

A. Question sources-All conclusions and interpreted material should be considered with healthy skepticism.

1. What question(s) does the researcher ask?
2. What hypothesis, thesis, explanation, or interpretation is being presented?
3. What methodology is being used?
4. Is the evidence accurate, credible, relevant, authentic, and comprehensive?
5. Are the conclusions reliable, verifiable, repeatable, and comprehensive?
6. How does the view presented fit with or challenge predominantly accepted theory and explanation?

B. Recognize change-A full performance interpreter recognizes that scientific and historical explanations change as technology, analysis, methodology, and culture evolves. A full performance interpreter must be familiar with:

1. the evolution of perspectives about a given topic;
2. competing and conflicting perspectives about a given topic.

C. Identify bias-Culture, experience, interpretation, funding sources, ideologies, and underlying agendas of authors influence research.

1. Identify the purpose of the author(s) and sponsor(s).

a) Is there a profit motive?
b) Is there an ideological motive?
c) Is there a long-standing "official" position that the research might support or challenge? Is there a liability motive?
d) Is there a special interest involved?
e) Have paid experts been used?

2. Check with other subject matter experts to understand what biases may be present.

D. Identify methodologies used-Different methods of investigation and schools of interpretation and analysis may lead researchers to different conclusions about the same topic.

E. Identify uncertainties-Incomplete information or data can result in differing conclusions.

F. Identify base assumptions-Investigations of the same subject based on differing assumptions can result in differing conclusions.

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Philosophy of Science and Research Methods


Gould, Stephen J. Any titles by this author.

Hans, Huth. Nature and the American: Three Centuries of Changing Attitudes. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

Hempel, Carl. Philosophy of Natural Science. Prentice Hall, 1966.

Holden, G. Science and Anti-Science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Kuhn, T.S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd Edition. International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Volume 2 Number 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

Mantell, Michael A. Ed. Managing National Park System Resources: A Handbook on Legal Duties, Opportunities, and Tools, The Conservation Foundation, Washington DC 1990

National Academy of Sciences Press. "Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science". 1998

National Park Service, "Natural History in the National Park System and on the National Registry of Natural Landmarks," Natural Resource Report NPS NR NRTR-90 03, 1990.

Popper, K.R. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York: Harper Torchbooks, Harper and Row, 1968.

Mayr, Ernst. Any titles by this author.

Shamos, Morris H. The Myth of Scientific Literacy. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1995. See Chapter 3, "The Nature of Science."

Thomas, Lewis. Any titles by this author.

Wilson, Edward O. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

The Diversity of Life. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.

Wright, R. Gerald. Wildlife Research and Management in the National Parks. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Philosophy of History and Research Methods

Entry Level

Anderson, Frank Maloy. The Mystery of "A Public Man": A Historical Detective Story. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1948.

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher. 5th Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.

Davidson, James West, and Mark Hamilton Lytle. After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection 4th edition New York MCGraw-Hill, 1999.

Kammen, Carol. On Doing Local History: Reflections on What Local Historians Do, Why and What it Means. Nashville: Association for State and Local History, 1996.

Strunk, William and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. 4th edition New York: Prentice -Hall, 1999.
Tuchman, Barbara. Practicing History. New York: Random House, 1982

Full Performance Level

"A Round Table: What Has Changed and Not Changed in American Historical Practice?" The Journal of American History, 76 (September 1989).

Appleby, Joyce, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob. Telling the Truth About History. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1994.

Beasley, David R. How to Use a Research Library. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Collins, Donald E., Dianne B. Catlett, and Bobbie L. Collins. Libraries and Research: A Practical Approach. 2nd Edition. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1990.

Fischer, David Hackett. Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1970.

Hockett, Homer Carey. The Critical Method in Historical Research and Writing. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1955.

Kyvig, David E., and Myron A. Marty. Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1982.

Mann, Thomas. A Guide to Library Research Methods. New York, Oxford University Press, 1987.

Mauch, James E., and Jack W. Birch. Guide to the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Conception to Publication: A Guide for Students and Faculty. 2nd Edition, New York: M. Dekker , 1989.

Nevins, Allan. The Gateway to History. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1962. (First published in 1938)

Poulten, Helen J. The Historian's Handbook: A Descriptive Guide to Reference Works. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.

Rundell, Walter, Jr. In Pursuit of American History: Research and Training in the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., Chicago, 1993.

"The Practice of American History: A Special Issue." The Journal of American History, 81 (December 1994).

Advanced Level

Kammen, Michael. In the Past Lane: Historical Perspectives on American Culture. New York, Oxford University Press, 1997.

Selvages & Biases: The Fabric of History in American Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.

Ed. The Past Before Us: Contemporary Historical Writing in the United States. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1982.

Levine, Lawrence W. The Opening of the American Mind: Canons, Culture, and History. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996.

Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Other History Sources

Archibald, Robert. A Place to Remember, Using History to Build Community. American Association for State and Local History, 1999.

Becker, Carl L. "Everyman His Own Historian," American Historical Review, XXXVII (January, 1932), p. 221.

Bloch, Marc. The Historians Craft. New York: Vintage, 1953.

Carr, Edward H. What is History? New York: Vintage, 1961.

Carson, Barbara G. and Cary. "Interpreting the Historic Scene" (correspondence course). National Park Service and American Association for State and Local History. (Currently out of circulation. May be referenced through the Training Manager, Interpretation)

Handlin, Oscar. Truth in History. Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1979.

Linenthal, Edward. History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996.

Loewen, James W. Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. New York: The New Press, 1999

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: The New Press, 1995.

Walsh, W.H. An Introduction to Philosophy of History. Hutchinson University Library: London, 1958.

Wright, Langdon G. "Historical Research" (Correspondence course). National Park Service and American Association for State and Local History (Currently out of circulation. Contact Training Manager).

Dissertations- Dissertation Abstracts International

University Microfilms International
300 North Zeeb Road
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-1346

Ethics-Karamaski, Theodore J., ed. Ethics and Public History: An Anthology. Malabar, Florida: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, 1990.

Historiography-Major Problems in American History Series, Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

National History Standards (1996)-National Center for History in the Schools
University of California, Los Angeles
1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 927
Box 951588
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1588

Thematic Framework - The National Park Service's Thematic Framework


American Association for State and Local History

The National Council on Public History

Organization of American Historians

Suggested Developmental Activities

1. Conduct advanced research relevant to your resource using source material unfamiliar to you. Use a source listed in the "Resources" section to learn how to conduct your research. Share your findings with your supervisor and colleagues.

2. Go back to a program or product that you previously made and create a bibliography that documents the information you used.

3. Select a variety of research sources often used in your resource. Evaluate each of these in terms of the philosophies, methodologies, and assumptions of the professional discipline most relevant to your site. What does your analysis tell you about how and why different people view and interpret your resource in different ways? How have these interpretations emerged at your site

4. Evaluate one or several of your resource's exhibits. How does the exhibit demonstrate the professional discipline of science or history? How does the exhibit reflect the perspectives of its creators? How does it reflect the time it was created? Have new sources or perspectives provided new insight to its interpretations? How might the exhibit be different if it were produced now?

5. Evaluate interpretive products at museums, nature centers, other federal agencies. Compare and contrast with NPS. Is their KR providing opportunities for emotional and intellectual connections to the meanings and significance of the resource? Is their KR accurate?

6. Research the historiography or evolution of perceptions and interpretations of your site. How have perceptions of the resources meanings changed over time and what caused those changes? How has interpretation responded?


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