Contemporary Historical Research Conference

John Henschke


The problems and rewards of conducting contemporary historical research are related in the light of the author's experiences in preparing an Ed.D. dissertation analyzing Malcolm, S. Knowles' contributions to and influence on the field of adult study accurate but inconclusive. The major portion of the dissertation was based on data available in documents by or about Knowles, but an "opinionnaire" schedule (an adaptation of the Applied Behavioral Science Interview schedule), loosely constructed and open-ended, was sent to 150 former colleagues and students of Knowles. The problems raised by this form of research are discussed by the author. Three areas of findings about Knowles (his pioneering, his methodologically organic view, and his social science research base) are considered in some detail. Seven values of this kind of research into contemporary history are briefly listed. The "opinionaire" and George Aker's "Twenty-Three Essential Behaviors of Adult Educators" are appended. (AJ)