Citizenship Education for Political Engagement; A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials

Steve Donbavand, Prof Bryony Hoskins

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    Citizenship Education could play a pivotal role in creating a fairer society in which all groups participate equally in the political progress. But strong causal evidence of which educational techniques work best to create political engagement is lacking. This paper presents the results of a systematic review of controlled trials within the field based on transparent search protocols. It finds 25 studies which use controlled trials to test causal claims between Citizenship Education programs and political engagement outcomes. The studies identified largely confirm accepted ideas, such as the importance of participatory methods, whole school approaches, teacher training, and doubts over whether knowledge alone or online engagement necessarily translate into behavioral change. But the paucity of identified studies also points both to the difficulties of attracting funding for controlled trials which investigate Citizenship Education as a tool for political engagement and real epistemological tensions within the discipline itself.

    © 2021, The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSocial Sciences
    VolumeSoc. Sci. 2021, 10(5)
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2021

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