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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Survey Results, Part 2




The results of the survey on top ten events in Montana history are in. Eighty people participated in this very informal survey and many had trouble limiting themselves to ten events. One person even chose 33 "top ten" events out of the 39 events listed.

Sixty people out of the eighty who took the survey placed the discovery of gold and the arrival of the railroads in their top ten. Only fifty put homesteading there.

The least influential events, according to the survey, were county splitting (with one vote) and the Cold War and Progressive era reforms, like initiative and referendum (which each received six votes).

Only two twentieth-century events made the "top ten" list when I didn't artificially break the survey at the turn-of-the-twentieth-century mark: homesteading (with 50 votes) and the 1972 constitutional convention (at 38 votes). Is that because twentieth-century votes are really less significant, because people had already used up their votes by the time they got to the twentieth century, or because most of us know more about pre-twentieth-century Montana? Food for thought for sure.

The full results are here and additional charts are below. I'm curious to know: What about these results surpise you, if anything? (More on what I found surprising in a later post.)
P.S. Several people thought the survey would be fun to share with students, perhaps with some modifications:
  • “This was a fun exercise, and great to do with your students since it gives the teacher a chance to see how they are thinking, categorizing, and evaluating history through how they support their selections.
  • “The question is valid, particularly if students have to justify their answers in writing. However, I would be very interested to find how they would link these events in a web of causation.”
For those who want to use this with your students, you can find the survey on Google Docs. Go to the "File" menu, then coose "Make a Copy." I think this will make your own copy of the survey (If this doesn't work, please let me know). To edit the form,  go to the "Form" menu and choose "Edit form." Alternately, consider having your students come up with their own categories, based on the material you've covered in class.

P.P.S. If you missed the post "Top Ten Survey Results, Part 1," in which I shared people's comments, you can find it below.

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