This research project was carried as part of a doctoral thesis between 2009 and 2014. It aimed to answer a contemporary question about curriculum management in English primary schools, with a particular focus on history, and reflected contemporaneous policy initiatives and trends in curriculum management. The aims of the project were in-depth descriptions of how schools were integrating subject disciplines, an evaluation of how far the integrity of history was being maintained, and to explain good practice through analysis and model building. All three aims were suitable for case-study research; a multiple case-study design involving three primary schools plus a pilot study was chosen to increase the opportunities for in-depth evaluations and explanatory outcomes. The selection of schools was a form of purposive sampling enabled through the self-identification of successful and innovative schools. Several research instruments were used including formal observations, field notes, semi-structured interviews, and analysis of documentation. The methodology involved empirical field work and critical analysis. The underpinning ontology and philosophy were based on critical realism, although elements of ethnography were incorporated in the research design. Data analysis was carried out through several levels of coding and incorporated techniques such as laddering and concept diagrams. The presentation of the findings was facilitated through the use of partially ordered meta-matrices.
A Multiple Case-Study Design in Education to Investigate Historical Integrity and Curriculum Management in Three English Primary Schools