school processes - an ethnographic study Research conducted by: cecile Wright & Edited by Woods & Hammersley Critiqued by: Molly Wike

Nature of the research: Inequality experienced by ethnic minority students in school and work. Aiming to observe how schooling affects the progress and aspiration of ethnic minority pupils.
Problem: School system against ethnic minority students


Researcher used an ethnographic approach. Conducted series of surveys with participants at two schools in England (Midlands region):

  • Teachers
  • Headmaster
  • Year Heads
  • Afro-Caribbean Students
  • 60 pupils - 4th/5th year; racially mixed
  • 16 black pupils
  • Caribbean pupils
  • Afro-Caribbean male pupils
  • Deputy headmaster

Role of Researcher:

Third-party observer


Data Collection:

  • Surveys
  • Conversations
  • Interviews

Stance of the Researcher:

  • Attitudes and stereotypes held by teachers may have an affect on pupils.
  • Internal structure of these two schools and their operation sometimes have differential effects on the pupils of ethnic minority groups.

Reflexivity & Validity:

  • Hypotheses not true for all schools
  • Observations tentative not definitive
  • Only observed at 2 schools in Midlands area


  • Lack of defined standards and disciplines
  • Black kids treated badly
  • Dissatisfaction with school organization
  • Fear
  • Behavioral Issues
  • European shift in teaching


  • Recorded data appeared ethical
  • Relevant issue
  • Site addresses cultural issues at schools
  • Study can be reproduced
  • Researcher interviewed wide span of people groups
  • Attempted to immerse in culture of school
  • Significant contribution
  • Written structure


  • Strong explanation of participants' responses throughout study
  • Research question not explicitly answered

Based on the themes drawn from conversations we can assume that students of ethnic minority groups are treated unfairly at these two schools and it does affect their academic performance in more ways than one.

Study source:


Created with images by kevin dooley - "School bus" • mozlase__ - "still life school retro" • Devanath - "indian boys team" • Devanath - "indian boys team" • MichaelGaida - "architecture sit building" • WikiImages - "discrimination racism people of color" • justine warrington - "school"

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