Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Shelly Furuness


This research project analyzed high school United States history curriculum by examining textbooks through a political lens. It questioned who makes curriculum decisions, what the goals of these policy-makers are, and what the implications of an agenda-driven curriculum are. Three textbooks were used and chosen from politically relevant states—California, Texas, and Florida. In addition to being typically “Blue,” “Red,” and “Swing” states, these states are also the three most populous states in the country, respectively. This project studied how students of American public schools learn about the history of their country through a qualitative content analysis, particularly an approach called “grounded theory,” which means allowing the codes and categories to derive from the data itself. From there, a process of coding was performed and then codes were organized into categories and subcategories. Following that was the determination patterns or other relationships present in the data. The simplest analysis comes from counting, focusing on words, themes (strings of words), concepts (theoretical ideas), and semantics (the strength of the words in regards to the overall tone of the sentence or paragraph it is located in). I will be doing frequency distributions of these elements throughout the text, as well as using them as a means of coding the texts. The research focused not just on the words on the page, but also on interpreting the presentation and any implicit messages present in the texts.