- 教育社会学研究 (ISSN:03873145)
- vol.84, pp.103-121, 2009-05-31
The purpose of this paper is to review the qualitative researches that have been carried out in the last decade, in the field of sociology of education. First, we explore the studies in the new field of "sociology of education", which focus on the educational processes in school where students assimilate cultures under social control. These studies reveal demonstratively, for example, how a 'macro-level' educational idea takes shape in a 'micro-level' classroom, or how a change in the 'macro-level' educational situation is related to a change in the 'micro-level' classroom. Then, we examine the studies of education for the new comers, which area of study has been expanding and deepening recently. The new-comer students in Japan have been treated as minority, and researchers have applied the qualitative methods to look into the reality of the situation. Empirical researches, as well as critical ones, have led to the new studies which evaluate the educational practice theoretically. It must be noted that constructionism has played an important role on the development of qualitative researches. Social constructionists deal with educational discourse, deviant behavior and social problems, adopting observations of participants, interviews, and/or ethnographies. And, they apply the methodology to the problems specific to educational practice. Lastly, we consider relationship between the researcher and the subject, and raise a question how to describe the relationship in the articles. Qualitative researchers often interact face to face with their subjects, communicating with each other in the process of field work However, it all depends on the researcher to analyze the data and present them, even though the subject takes part in an active and important way. Consequently, the reader could not see what kind of relationship the researcher has with the subject, unless the writer describe anything about it. We divide researchers into a few groups, according to their styles of description of the relationship; (1) researcher in a position of social scientist, (2) researcher describing the relation in a way of; (a) making people aware of it, (b) utilizing it as research material. After examining these groups, we have reached the conclusion that researcher need to devote more attention to the process of observing and interviewing their subjects, and describing the result. When researchers make their own reports of the facts that they observe, they must always give detailed account of their methods. To promote the qualitative researches in the field of sociology of education, it is worth bearing in mind that the researcher should give an accurate description of the issue, as well as the methods they have adopted.