Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Gerald Markle

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kramer

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Cooney

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Encyclopedia text is most often presented as objective, factual, authoritatively documented truth. To examine this knowledge claim, this thesis analyzes the portrayal of the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution in editions of the four major U.S. encyclopedias. A qualitative content analysis is employed to determine the political perspectives present in encyclopedia coverage of the Nicaraguan revolution and the subsequent changes in Nicaraguan political economy brought about by that revolution.

The findings indicate that significant differences among and within the encyclopedias existed in the text analyzed. A variety of political perspectives were found to have influenced the content of the text, and to be linked to the significant differences present in the text. It is concluded that political perspective in encyclopedia text, as in all historical text, is unavoidable. This inevitable lack of objectivity should be acknowledged rather than hidden.