Towards (Re-)Defining historical reasoning competence: A review of theoretical and empirical research

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This integrative literature review aims to find out how historical reasoning (HR) competence has been operationalized in history education empirical research. We focus on empirical studies that make use of the concept in the classroom context, aiming to provide a better understanding of what skills and activities have been used to promote HR among students of different ages. Our results show that within history education empirical research, HR “know how” skills, such as the ability of perspective taking and using evidence strongly co-appear with “know to be” skills, such as the ability to participate in a historiographic debate or to empathize with the past. However, the predominant emphasis on disciplinary history teaching approaches does not allow enough space for the development of historical consciousness skills, necessary for students’ civic engagement and identity construction. A more explicit place for argumentation in the history classroom is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100336
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Research Review
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Argumentation
  • Classroom learning
  • Historical reasoning
  • History teaching
  • Integrative review


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