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Examination of the Postgraduate Theses Prepared Under the Title of Literacy Skills in the Field of Social Studies Education  

Selma Güleç, Muhammed Nafiz Hüdavendigar  


Literacy is defined as a “state of being literate.” In addition, this skill corresponds to understanding what you are reading and communicating your thoughts. The word literacy comes in front of different names and gains various meanings. Thus, individuals with this skill can understand, use, and transfer information in that field to others. Social studies education is an essential disci- pline in preparing the individual for life, becoming an active citizen, and gaining some literacy. This literature, which is valuable in the maintenance of the livability of life in various fields of Social Sciences, has become more affluent, especially with the renewed social studies curric- ulum. Legal literacy, environmental literacy, digital litera- cy, financial literacy, map literacy, media literacy, political literacy, and the literacies emerge as last in the program. The aim of this study is to examine the master’s and doctoral theses prepared under the title of literacy skill in the field of social studies education between the years of 2008-2019 in Turkey in terms of different criteria. This study is essential in terms of creating a resource both in the field of social studies and for future academic edu- cation to be made on literacy skills. The problem of the study was stated as “How do the theses made under the title of literacy skill in the Social Studies Education dis- tribute according to various variables?” The questions to which answers were sought in the study are these: How do the publication years, the universities of publication, the genders of the researchers, the literacy subject areas, the sample groups and the employed research methods of the theses made under the title of literacy skill in the field of Social Studies Education distribute? The sample of the study was composed of all the post- graduate theses published on literacy skills in the field of social studies education between the years of 2008-2019 and recorded in the HEC National Thesis Center. In the determination of the sample of the study, the criterion sampling, one of the purposeful sampling methods, was used. The data of the study were collected by the re- searchers between 10th September and 15th November 2019. In the study, the master’s and the doctoral theses published under the title of literacy skill in the field of social studies education were reached via scanning the database of the Higher Education Council’s “National Thesis Center” by using the keywords of “Social Studies” and “Literacy.” As a result of the scanning, from among 1.517 postgraduate theses prepared in the field of social studies education, a total of 31 postgraduate theses, 17 master’s and 14 doctoral, published under the title of literacy between the years of 2008-2019, were reached. Each postgraduate thesis was examined separately under such categories as a method, gender, title, sample, year, and university of publication. Within the scope of the study, 31 theses were analyzed via the content analysis method, and the findings were shown via tables and graphs. The obtained data were analyzed using descrip- tive analysis. The research data were analyzed under six main headings, namely year of publication, the gender of the researcher, university of publication, the field of literacy, research method, and sample. In this study aims to determine the trends of the postgraduate theses prepared under the title of literacy in the field of social studies education, 31 postgraduate theses were examined, and the following results were reached. The postgraduate theses show the distribution in 13 differ- ent literacy areas. That five different literacy skills were studied in addition to 8 literacy areas included in the MNE Social Studies Education Teaching Program is a positive finding in terms of variety. Among these subject areas, the most frequently studied subject area was the skill “media literacy” in both master’s and doctoral areas. The highest number of theses was prepared between the years of 2017 and 2019. When the distribution, ac- cording to genders, was examined, it was observed that although the doctoral theses were equal, the number of male researchers was higher when it was looked in general. The title of “media literacy” was the most-fre- quently studied field. As a sample, mostly preservice teachers were chosen. Finally, the quantitative method was preferred more frequently than mixed and qualita- tive methods. In the direction of these results, various suggestions were made.