Assess the Strengths and Limitations of Experiments in Studying Labelling in Schools.

445 Words2 Pages
Experiments –laboratory methods, field experiments and comparative method. Labelling Theory/method- positivistic/ interpretive approaches. Lab method- controlled situation, looking to test hypothesis, look at the effects of variables, controlled situation, can replicate, collect quantitative data. Sociologists don’t use them often. WHY--not natural settings, impractical , want to look at meanings in the context of social settings. Field experiments- these are observations in a natural setting, people are usually not aware that they are being studied. If people know they are being studied it may cause the Hawthorne effect. Comparative method- this is where events that have happened are compared by the sociologist. t identifies two groups that are similar and comparisons are made- it seeks to discover cause and effect, avoids artificiality, can be used to study past events, no ethical problems . If studying labelling in schools which is a social process of teachers attaching positive or negative labels to students and students also doing this to teachers, this is best understood in the context of social interaction in the classroom. This would eliminate lab experimentation and would be favoured by interactionists using a field experiment approach. Main ideas concepts Some researchers have used laboratory experiments-Harvey and Stains, they looked at whether teachers had preconceived ideas about pupils of different social classes. The study indicated labelling goes on and that the labels are used to pre-judge pupils potential. P177 Problems with this approach- Ethical-can be problems with deception. Practical getting hold of teachers and pupils, gaining access. Artificiality- tells us little about real interaction in the classroom. Field experiments- located in real settings- Rosenthal and Jacobsen- Pygmalion in the classroom focuses on labelling,
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