Originally published in 1976, the authors of six of the most widely quoted works in behavioural science related to education, at the time, here describe in detail their research work, including its origins, planning and implementation. The accounts are unusual, not only for their technical detail but for their candour. The brief was to put the heart and brains back into accounts of research so the authors comment not only on the research design, but on the personal and professional problems they had to overcome. They also reflect on the reception of their work, and the way in which it has been adapted, misunderstood or deliberately distorted to support arguments of widely differing ideological pressure groups.
The book shows how ingenuity and persistence as well as technical competence lie at the heart of the research process. The authors do not give the normal depersonalised, streamlined account which gives a false, mechanical picture of research as an occupation, but show it to be a profound personal and professional experience as they comment on the thought that lay behind their work and the way it was finally produced for publication. Dr Shipman has written a short introduction to each chapter, and contributed a concluding chapter relating the six research experiences to conventional views on the research process and to the part played by research evidence in policy making.
Table of Contents
Contributors. Introduction. Part 1: Longitudinal Studies 1. The Use and Abuse of National Cohorts J.W.B. Douglas 2. Parental Roles and Social Contexts John and Elizabeth Newson Part 2: School Studies 3. Facts, Evidence and Rumour: A Rational Reconstruction of ‘Social Class and the Comprehensive School’ Julienne Ford 4. Problems of Sociological Fieldwork: A Review of the Methodology of ‘Hightown Grammar’ C. Lacey Part 3: Policy Studies 5. ‘Streaming in the Primary School’: Methods and Politics Joan Barker Lunn 6. ‘Mixed or Single-Sex School?’: A Comment on a Research Study R.R. Dale 7. The Organisation and Impact of Social Research Marten Shipman