Constructing Educational Inequality: An Assessment of Research on School Processes

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Psychology Press, 1996 - Education - 212 pages
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This book examines much of the large body of research on educational inequality in Britain since the Second World War, focusing on studies concerned with inequalities in the internal organization and functioning of the schools. A social constructionist approach to the study of social problems as a way of providing a reflexive perspective on the sociology of education highlights the fact that much work in the area has been associated with political pressure to eradicate educational inequalities. The analysis begins by considering the qualities a study must have in order for its findings to be considered valid. A look at the research available suggests that there is considerable overinterpretation of data in the areas of disadvantage resulting from inequalities due to social conditions, ethnicity, and gender. Neither is research on the effects of classroom inequalities nor on inequalities in outcomes of education always supported by adequate evidence. Research on educational inequality in Britain has been subject to bias in favor of uncovering inequalities of particular kinds, to serve particular social purposes. To provide effective research on the real issues and problems of education, the methodological ground rules of inquiry must be applied. (Contains 12 figures, 8 tables, and 432 references.) (SLD)

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Methodological Preliminaries
Assessing Research on Educational Inequalities
Inequalities at School Level
Inequalities in the Classroom
Inequalities in Educational Outcomes
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About the author (1996)

Barry Cooper is Emeritus Professor of Education at Durham University, UK. From 2004-2007, he was co-editor of the British Educational Research Journal.

Martyn Hammersley is Professor of Educational and Social Research at The Open University. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media. However, much of his work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. He has written several books, including: "Reading Ethnographic Research" (Longman 1991); "What's Wrong with Ethnography?" (Routledge 1992); "The Politics of Social Research "(Sage 1995); "Taking Sides in Social Research" (Routledge, 1999); "Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice" (Paul Chapman, 2002), "Questioning Qualitative Inquiry" (Sage 2008), "Methodology, Who Needs It?" (Sage, 2011), and What is Qualitative Research? (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2013)

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