Strengths and Limitations of Unstructured Interviews

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Sociology AS for AQA One for you to try Education p 243 Item B There is considerable evidence to show that pupils from some ethnic-minority backgrounds fall behind in school, particularly during the secondary phase. These include Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils. By contrast, Indian and Chinese pupils do better than average. There are also class and gender differences in achievement within all these groups, just as there among White pupils. One explanation for these patterns of achievement lies in the school itself and the processes at work there. For example, Black pupils are more likely to be excluded from school than members of other ethnic groups. Other factors within school include peer groups and subcultures. For example, Sewell found that a minority of Black boys joined ‘rebel’ subcultures. However, he also found that some teachers labelled all Black boys as rebels, regardless of the facts. Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess the strengths and limitations of one of the following methods for the study of educational achievement among ethnic-minority pupils: (b) Official statistics (20 marks) Positivist sociologists would argue that by using secondary data in the form of official statistics, researchers are able to maintain an objective position in the process thus enabling them to avoid the dangers of interviewer bias and the possibility of data being misinterpreted. Item B suggests ‘there is considerable evidence to show that some pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds fall behind in school, particularly during the secondary phase’. The Item implies the availability of statistics providing evidence of achievement levels of ethnic-minority pupils. For example schools now have to provide data on SATs, G.C.S.E. and A level results as well as attendance and exclusion figures. This data is also available to give the national
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