A content analysis of the treatment of Korea in contemporary social studies textbooks used in Connecticut high school

Date of Completion

January 1991


Education, Social Sciences




The purpose of this study was to evaluate the content concerning Korea in social studies textbooks used in Connecticut high schools. The methods of research included both quantitative and thematic content analyses. The sample was composed of the most up-to-date (in 1990) and widely used social studies textbooks.^ The amount of content devouted to designated themes about Korea in world history, U.S. history, and world geography textbooks was identified to determine the quantity of information on Korea. Based on the quantitative information on Korea, the quality of the data on Korea was determined, i.e., how Korea was described and treated in these textbooks.^ The statements identified in the textbooks in each subject area were regarded as assertions, which were analyzed to produce groups of assertions. The groups of assertions were coded according to seven categorized themes. A sentence was a coding unit in this study. Assertions containing factual mistakes or discrepancies found in each theme in the texts were quoted so that they could be reviewed in comparison with corresponding scholarly accounts written in English by scholars on Korean studies. Evaluation criteria for the quality of information in the text were composed of content, inclusions, omissions, accuracy, stereotypes, biases, distortions, and misinterpretations.^ The findings from the quantitative and the thematic analyses of the textbooks in each of the subjects were compared with materials about China and Japan in the same textbooks based on the same themes, since China, Japan, and Korea are located in the same general cultural area.^ The results drawn from the analysis showed that the amount of space alloted to Korea was limited. Factual mistakes in content about Korea were dominant while negative descriptions of Korea in the textbooks lessened compared with the previous studies of Korea. However, Korea still does not receive comprehensive treatment in social studies textbooks. Content about Korea is usually included in sections about China and Japan. The concerns, accomplishments, and contributions of the powerful nations, China and Japan, consistently dominated textbook materials. The role of Korea was portrayed as a "way station", or "bridge" to transmit Chinese culture, religion, et al. to Japan. ^