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Arland Thornton photo

Demography, Family, and Developmental Idealism in the World’s Textbooks

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Arland Thornton

This project is initiating preliminary work to study the distribution and trends of material about demography, family, and developmental idealism in the textbooks of the world. There are important theoretical and substantive reasons for conducting a research project concerning developmental idealism and its relationship to family and demographic issues in textbooks (Grades K-12). Our previous work has documented the widespread dissemination of ideas about developmental idealism around the world and suggests that education is a crucial mechanism for the spread of these ideas. Given that education is a consistent predictor of beliefs in developmental idealism and many dimensions of family and demographic behavior, an examination of textbooks around the world will be a valuable contribution to the understanding of the way school curriculums are or are not spreading developmental idealism. The immediate goal is to do preliminary work in preparing a coding scheme and protocols that will permit us to do the actual content analysis and coding of textbooks. This will involve the initial preparation of codes, trying the codes out with real textbooks, revising the codes, and then doing enough double-coding of textbooks to check on the reliability of our coding schemes and procedures. We will also do the necessary work of arranging access to the appropriate archives to obtain a large number of school textbooks. Once these things are in order, we will prepare proposals for funding for production coding and analysis.

Funding Period: 02/01/2011 to 06/30/2012

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