Using sociological methods and systematic research within the framework of the scientific method, sociologists have discovered workplace patterns that have transformed industries, family patterns that have enlightened parents, and education patterns that have aided structural changes in classrooms. Depending on the focus and the type of research conducted, sociological findings could be useful in addressing any of the three basic interests or purposes of sociological knowledge we discussed in the last chapter: the positivist interest in quantitative factual evidence to determine effective social policy decisions, the interpretive interest in understanding the meanings of human behaviour to foster mutual understanding and consensus, and the critical interest in knowledge useful for challenging power relations and emancipating people from conditions of servitude.
It might seem strange to use scientific practices to study social phenomena but, as we have argued above, it is extremely helpful to rely on systematic approaches that research methods provide. Sociologists often begin the research process by asking a question about how or why things happen. It might be a unique question about a new trend or an old question about a common aspect of life.
Once a question is formed, a sociologist proceeds through an in-depth process to answer it. Depending on the nature of the topic and the goals of the research, sociologists have a variety of methodologies to choose from. In particular, in deciding how to design that process, the researcher may adopt a positivist methodology or an interpretive methodology.
Both types of methodology can be useful for critical research strategies. The following sections describe these approaches to acquiring knowledge. We live in an interesting time in which the certitudes and authority of science are frequently challenged. In the natural sciences, people doubt scientific claims about climate change and the safety of vaccines. In the social sciences, people doubt scientific claims about the declining rate of violent crime or the effectiveness of needle exchange programs.
Sometimes there is a good reason to be skeptical about science, when scientific technologies prove to have adverse effects on the environment, for example; sometimes skepticism has dangerous outcomes, when epidemics of diseases like measles suddenly break-out in schools due to low vaccination rates. In fact, skepticism is central to both natural and social sciences, but from a scientific point of view the skeptical attitude needs to be combined with systematic research in order for knowledge to move forward.
In sociology, science provides the basis for being able to distinguish between everyday opinions or beliefs and propositions that can be sustained by evidence. For Merton, therefore, non-scientific knowledge is knowledge that fails in various respects to meet these criteria. Propositions which fail to stand up to rigorous and systematic standards of evaluation are not scientific because they can not withstand the criteria of organized skepticism and scientific method.
Research methodologies are designed to reduce the chance that conclusions will be based on error. In everyday life, the order is typically reversed. Many people know things about the social world without having a background in sociology. Sometimes their knowledge is valid; sometimes it is not.
It is important, therefore, to think about how people know what they know, and compare it to the scientific way of knowing. Four types of non-scientific reasoning are common in everyday life: knowledge based on casual observation, knowledge based on selective evidence, knowledge based on overgeneralization, and knowledge based on authority or tradition. Many people know things simply because they have experienced them directly. Direct experience may get us accurate information, but only if we are lucky.
In this example, the observation process is not really deliberate or formal. Instead, you would come to know what you believe to be true through casual observation. The problem with casual observation is that sometimes it is right, and sometimes it is wrong. Many people know things because they overlook disconfirming evidence.
Suppose a friend of yours declared that all men are liars shortly after she had learned that her boyfriend had deceived her. The fact that one man happened to lie to her in one instance came to represent a quality inherent in all men. But do all men really lie all the time? Probably not. If you prompted your friend to think more broadly about her experiences with men, she would probably acknowledge that she knew many men who, to her knowledge, had never lied to her and that even her boyfriend did not generally make a habit of lying.
This friend committed what social scientists refer to as selective observation by noticing only the pattern that she wanted to find at the time. She ignored disconfirming evidence. Another way that people claim to know what they know is by looking to what they have always known to be true. There is an urban legend about a woman who for years used to cut both ends off of a ham before putting it in the oven Mikkelson, She baked ham that way because that is the way her mother did it, so clearly that was the way it was supposed to be done.
Her knowledge was based on a family tradition traditional knowledge. After years of tossing cuts of perfectly good ham into the trash, however, she learned that the only reason her mother cut the ends off ham before cooking it was that she did not have a pan large enough to accommodate the ham without trimming it. Our mothers are not the only possible authorities we might rely on as sources of knowledge.
Other common authorities we might rely on in this way are the government, our schools and teachers, and churches and ministers. Whether quantitative, qualitative, or critical in orientation, sociological research is based on the scientific method. Sociologists make use of tried-and-true methods of research, such as experiments, surveys, field research, and textual analysis. But humans and their social interactions are so diverse that they can seem impossible to chart or explain.
It might seem that science is about discoveries and chemical reactions or about proving hypotheses about elementary particles right or wrong rather than about exploring the nuances of human behaviour. However, this is exactly why scientific models work for studying human behaviour. A scientific process of research establishes parameters that help make sure results are objective and accurate. Scientific methods provide limitations and boundaries that focus a study and organize its results. The social scientific method in both cases involves developing and testing theories about the world based on empirical i.
It involves a series of established steps known as the research cycle. Sociological topics like the causes and conditions of political violence are typically not amenable to the mathematical precision or quantifiable predictions of physics or chemistry. Reliability increases the likelihood that what is true of one person will be true of all people in a group.
A subtopic in the field of political violence would be to examine the sources of homegrown radicalization: What are the conditions under which individuals in Canada move from a state of indifference or moderate concern with political issues to a state in which they are prepared to use violence to pursue political goals? The reliability of a study of radicalization reflects how well the social factors unearthed by the research represent the actual experience of political radicals. As research from the UK and United States has in fact shown, while jihadi terrorists typically identify with an Islamic world view, a well-developed Islamic identity counteracts jihadism.
Similarly, research has shown that while it intuitively makes sense that people with radical views would adopt radical means like violence to achieve them, there is in fact no consistent homegrown terrorist profile, meaning that it is not possible to predict whether someone who espouses radical views will move on to committing violent acts Patel, To ensure validity, research on political violence should focus on individuals who engage in political violence.
Sociologists use the scientific method not only to collect but to interpret and analyze the data. They deliberately apply scientific logic and objectivity. They are interested in but not attached to the results. Their research work is independent of their own political or social beliefs. This does not mean researchers are not critical. Nor does it mean they do not have their own personalities, preferences, and opinions. But sociologists deliberately use the scientific method to maintain as much objectivity, focus, and consistency as possible in a particular study.
With its systematic approach, the scientific method has proven useful in shaping sociological studies. The scientific method provides a systematic, organized series of steps that help ensure objectivity and consistency in exploring a social problem. The first step of the scientific method is to ask a question, describe a problem, and identify the specific area of interest. The topic should be narrow enough to study within a geography and time frame. The question should also be broad enough to have universal merit.
That said, happiness and hygiene are worthy topics to study. Sociologists do not rule out any topic, but would strive to frame these questions in better research terms. That is why sociologists are careful to define their terms. He argued that the key demarcation between scientific and non-scientific propositions was not ultimately their truth, nor their empirical verification, but whether or not they were stated in such a way as to be falsifiable; that is, whether a possible empirical observation could prove them wrong.
If one claimed that evil spirits were the source of criminal behaviour, this would not be a scientific proposition because there is no possible way to definitively disprove it. Evil spirits cannot be observed. Once a proposition is formulated in a way that would permit it to be falsified, the variables to be observed need to be operationalized. The concept is translated into an observable variable , a measure that has different values. The operational definition identifies an observable condition of the concept.
By operationalizing a variable of the concept, all researchers can collect data in a systematic or replicable manner. The operational definition must be valid in the sense that it is an appropriate and meaningful measure of the concept being studied. It must also be reliable, meaning that results will be close to uniform when tested on more than one person. For example, good drivers might be defined in many ways: Those who use their turn signals; those who do not speed; or those who courteously allow others to merge. Of course the sociologist has to be wary of the way the variables are operationalized.
The next step researchers undertake is to conduct background research through a literature review , which is a review of any existing similar or related studies. This step helps researchers gain a broad understanding of work previously conducted on the topic at hand and enables them to position their own research to build on prior knowledge.
It allows them to sharpen the focus of their research question and avoid duplicating previous research. Researchers — including student researchers — are responsible for correctly citing existing sources they use in a study or sources that inform their work. While it is fine to build on previously published material as long as it enhances a unique viewpoint , it must be referenced properly and never plagiarized. To study hygiene and its value in a particular society, a researcher might sort through existing research and unearth studies about childrearing, vanity, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and cultural attitudes toward beauty.
It is important to sift through this information and determine what is relevant. A hypothesis is an assumption about how two or more variables are related; it makes a conjectural statement about the relationship between those variables. It is an educated guess because it is not random but based on theory, observations, patterns of experience, or the existing literature. The hypothesis formulates this guess in the form of a testable proposition. However, how the hypothesis is handled differs between the positivist and interpretive approaches. Positivist methodologies are often referred to as hypothetico-deductive methodologies.
A hypothesis is derived from a theoretical proposition. On the basis of the hypothesis a prediction or generalization is logically deduced. In positivist sociology, the hypothesis predicts how one form of human behaviour influences another. How does being a black driver affect the number of times the police will pull you over? Successful prediction will determine the adequacy of the hypothesis and thereby test the theoretical proposition.
Variables are examined to see if there is a correlation between them. When a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable there is a correlation. This does not necessarily indicate that changes in one variable causes a change in another variable, however; just that they are associated. A key distinction here is between independent and dependent variables. In research, independent variables are the cause of the change. The dependent variable is the effect, or thing that is changed. For example, in a basic study, the researcher would establish one form of human behaviour as the independent variable and observe the influence it has on a dependent variable.
How does gender the independent variable affect rate of income the dependent variable? How is social class the dependent variable affected by level of education the independent variable? For it to become possible to speak about causation , three criteria must be satisfied:. It is important to note that while there has to be a correlation between variables for there to be a causal relationship, correlation does not necessarily imply causation.
The relationship between variables can be the product of a third intervening variable that is independently related to both. For example, there might be a positive relationship between wearing bikinis and eating ice cream, but wearing bikinis does not cause eating ice cream. It is more likely that the heat of summertime causes both an increase in bikini wearing and an increase in the consumption of ice cream.
The distinction between causation and correlation can have significant consequences. For example, Aboriginal Canadians are overrepresented in prisons and arrest statistics. As we noted in Chapter 1, in Aboriginal people accounted for about 4 percent of the Canadian population, but they made up There is a positive correlation between being an Aboriginal person in Canada and being in jail. Is this because Aboriginal people are racially or biologically predisposed to crime? As the chart shows, an independent variable is the one that causes a dependent variable to change.
For example, a researcher might hypothesize that teaching children proper hygiene the independent variable will boost their sense of self-esteem the dependent variable. Of course, this hypothesis can also work the other way around. Identifying the independent and dependent variables is very important. As the hygiene example shows, simply identifying two topics, or variables, is not enough: Their prospective relationship must be part of the hypothesis.
Sociologists analyze general patterns in response to a study, but they are equally interested in exceptions to patterns. In a study of education, a researcher might predict that high school dropouts have a hard time finding a rewarding career. While it has become at least a cultural assumption that the higher the education, the higher the salary and degree of career happiness, there are certainly exceptions. People with little education have had stunning careers, and people with advanced degrees have had trouble finding work.
A sociologist prepares a hypothesis knowing that results will vary. While many sociologists rely on the positivist hypothetico-deductive method in their research, others operate from an interpretive approach. While still systematic, this approach typically does not follow the hypothesis-testing model that seeks to make generalizable predictions from quantitative variables. Instead, an interpretive framework seeks to understand social worlds from the point of view of participants, leading to in-depth knowledge.
Interpretive research is generally more descriptive or narrative in its findings than positivist research. It can begin from a deductive approach by deriving a hypothesis from theory and then seeking to confirm it through methodologies like in-depth interviews. However, it is ideally suited to an inductive approach in which the hypothesis emerges only after a substantial period of direct observation or interaction with subjects.
This type of approach is exploratory in that the researcher also learns as he or she proceeds, sometimes adjusting the research methods or processes midway to respond to new insights and findings as they evolve. In the initial stage, the researcher is simply trying to categorize and sort the data. The researchers do not predetermine what the relevant categories of the social experience are but analyze carefully what their subjects actually say.
For example, what are the working definitions of health and illness that hospital patients use to describe their situation? In the first stage, the researcher tries to label the common themes emerging from the data: different ways of describing health and illness.
In the second stage, the researcher takes a more analytical approach by organizing the data into a few key themes: perhaps the key assumptions that lay people make about the physiological mechanisms of the body, or the metaphors they use to describe their relationship to illness e. In the third stage, the researcher would return to the interview subjects with a new set of questions that would seek to either affirm, modify, or discard the analytical themes derived from the initial coding of the interviews.
This process can then be repeated until a thoroughly grounded theory is ready to be proposed. At every stage of the research, the researchers are obliged to follow the emerging data by revising their conceptions as new material is gathered, contradictions accounted for, commonalities categorized, and themes re-examined with further interviews.
Once the preliminary work is done and the hypothesis defined, it is time for the next research steps: choosing a research methodology, conducting a study, and drawing conclusions. These research steps are discussed below. Particularly innovative was her early work on sociological methodology, How to Observe Manners and Morals In this volume she developed the ground work for a systematic social-scientific approach to studying human behaviour. Yet at the same time she saw the goal of sociology to be the fair but critical assessment of the moral status of a culture.
A large part of her research in the United States analyzed the situations of contradiction between stated public morality and actual moral practices.
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For example, she was fascinated with the way that the formal democratic right to free speech enabled slavery abolitionists to hold public meetings, but when the meetings were violently attacked by mobs, the abolitionists and not the mobs were accused of inciting the violence Zeitlin, Sociologists examine the world, see a problem or interesting pattern, and set out to study it.
They use research methods to design a study — perhaps a positivist, quantitative method for conducting research and obtaining data, or perhaps an ethnographic study utilizing an interpretive framework. Planning the research design is a key step in any sociological study. When entering a particular social environment, a researcher must be careful. There are times to remain anonymous and times to be overt. There are times to conduct interviews and times to simply observe.
Some participants need to be thoroughly informed; others should not know that they are being observed. The unique nature of human research subjects is that they can react to the researcher and change their behaviour under observation. In the s, leaders of a Chicago factory called Hawthorne Works commissioned a study to determine whether or not changing certain aspects of working conditions could increase or decrease worker productivity.
Sociologists were surprised when the productivity of a test group increased when the lighting of their workspace was improved. They were even more surprised when productivity improved when the lighting of the workspace was dimmed. In fact almost every change of independent variable — lighting, breaks, work hours — resulted in an improvement of productivity. But when the study was over, productivity dropped again.
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Why did this happen? In , Henry A. Landsberger analyzed the study results to answer this question. Worker behaviours were altered not by the lighting but by the study itself. The Hawthorne effect is unavoidable in some research. In many cases, sociologists have to make the purpose of the study known for ethical reasons.
Subjects must be aware that they are being observed, and a certain amount of artificiality may result Sonnenfeld, That option is not available to a researcher studying prison behaviours, early education, or the Ku Klux Klan. Researchers cannot just stroll into prisons, kindergarten classrooms, or Ku Klux Klan meetings and unobtrusively observe behaviours. In situations like these, other methods are needed. All studies shape the research design, while research design simultaneously shapes the study. Researchers choose methods that best suit their study topic and that fit with their overall goal for the research.
Every research method comes with pluses and minuses, and the topic of study strongly influences which method or methods are put to use. As a research method, a survey collects data from subjects who respond to a series of questions about behaviours and opinions, often in the form of a written questionnaire. The survey is one of the most widely used sociological research methods. The standard survey format allows individuals a level of anonymity in which they can express personal ideas. At some point or another, everyone responds to some type of survey.
The Statistics Canada census is an excellent example of a large-scale survey intended to gather sociological data. If yes, how many per month? Marketing polls help companies refine marketing goals and strategies; they are generally not conducted as part of a scientific study, meaning they are not designed to test a hypothesis or to contribute knowledge to the field of sociology. The results are not published in a refereed scholarly journal where design, methodology, results, and analyses are vetted. Polls conducted by programs such as American Idol or Canadian Idol represent the opinions of fans but are not particularly scientific.
A good contrast to these are the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement BBM now called Numeris ratings, which determine the popularity of radio and television programming in Canada through scientific market research. Their researchers ask a large random sample of Canadians, age 12 and over, to fill out a television or radio diary for one week, noting the times and the broadcasters they listened to or viewed. Based on this methodology they are able to generate an accurate account of media consumers preferences, which are used to provide broadcast ratings for radio and television stations and define the characteristics of their core audiences.
Sociologists conduct surveys under controlled conditions for specific purposes. Surveys gather different types of information from people. While surveys are not great at capturing the ways people really behave in social situations, they are a great method for discovering how people feel and think — or at least how they say they feel and think.
Surveys can track attitudes and opinions, political preferences, individual behaviours such as sleeping, driving, dietary, or texting habits, or factual information such as employment status, income, and education levels. A survey targets a specific population , people who are the focus of a study, such as university athletes, international students, or teenagers living with type 1 juvenile-onset diabetes. Most researchers choose to survey a small sector of the population, or a sample : That is, a manageable number of subjects who represent a larger population. The success of a study depends on how well a population is represented by the sample.
In a random sample , every person in a population has the same chance of being chosen for the study. According to the laws of probability, random samples represent the population as a whole. The larger the sample size, the more accurate the results will be in characterizing the population being studied. For practical purposes, however, a sample size of 1, people will give acceptably accurate results even if the population being researched was the entire adult population of Canada.
For instance, an Ipsos Reid poll, if conducted as a nationwide random sampling, should be able to provide an accurate estimate of public opinion whether it contacts 1, or 10, people. Typically surveys will include a figure that gives the margin of error of the survey results. Based on probabilities, this will give a range of values within which the true value of the population characteristic will be. This figure also depends on the size of a sample.
If the poll was based on a sample of 1, respondents, the margin of error would be higher, plus or minus 3. In small samples the characteristics of specific individuals have a greater chance of influencing the results. The validity of surveys can also be threatened when part of the population is inadvertently excluded from the sample e. There is also a question of what exactly is being measured by the survey. After selecting subjects, the researcher develops a specific plan to ask a list of standardized questions and record responses. It is important to inform subjects of the nature and purpose of the study upfront.
If they agree to participate, researchers thank the subjects and offer them a chance to see the results of the study if they are interested. The researchers present the subjects with an instrument or means of gathering the information. A common instrument is a structured written questionnaire in which subjects answer a series of set questions. For some topics, the researcher might ask yes-or-no or multiple-choice questions, allowing subjects to choose possible responses to each question.
In real life, there are rarely any unambiguously yes or no answers. Questionnaires can also ask more complex questions with more complex answers beyond yes, no, agree, strongly agree, or another option next to a check box. In those cases, the answers are subjective, varying from person to person. How do you plan to use your university education?
Why do you follow Justin Bieber on Twitter? Those types of questions require short essay responses, and participants willing to take the time to write those answers will convey personal information about their beliefs, views, and attitudes. Some topics that reflect internal subjective perspectives are impossible to observe directly.
Sometimes they can be sensitive and difficult to discuss honestly in a public forum or with a stranger. People are more likely to share honest answers if they can respond to questions anonymously. Qualitative information is harder to organize and tabulate. The researcher will end up with a wide range of responses, and some of which may be surprising.
The benefit of written opinions, though, is the wealth of material that they provide. An interview is a one-on-one conversation between the researcher and the subject, and is another way of conducting surveys on a topic. Interviews are similar to the short answer questions on surveys in that the researcher asks subjects a series of questions. They can be quantitative if the questions are standardized and have numerically quantifiable answers: Are you employed?
They can also be qualitative if participants are free to respond as they wish, without being limited by predetermined choices. In the back-and-forth conversation of an interview, a researcher can ask for clarification, spend more time on a subtopic, or ask additional questions. In an interview, a subject will ideally feel free to open up and answer questions that are often complex.
There are no right or wrong answers. The subject might not even know how to answer the questions honestly. A researcher needs to avoid steering or prompting the subject to respond in a specific way; otherwise, the results will prove to be unreliable. Obviously, a sociological interview is also not supposed to be an interrogation. You have probably tested personal social theories. If this, then that. One way researchers test social theories is by conducting an experiment , meaning they investigate relationships to test a hypothesis — a scientific approach.
There are two main types of experiments: lab-based experiments, and natural or field experiments. In a lab setting the research can be controlled so that, perhaps, more data can be recorded in a certain amount of time. In a natural or field-based experiment, the generation of data cannot be controlled, but the information might be considered more accurate since it was collected without interference or intervention by the researcher. As a research method, either type of sociological experiment is useful for testing if-then statements: if a particular thing happens, then another particular thing will result.
To set up a lab-based experiment, sociologists create artificial situations that allow them to manipulate variables. Classically, the sociologist selects a set of people with similar characteristics, such as age, class, race, or education. Those people are divided into two groups. One is the experimental group and the other is the control group. The experimental group is exposed to the independent variable s and the control group is not.
This is similar to pharmaceutical drug trials in which the experimental group is given the test drug and the control group is given a placebo or sugar pill. A real-life example will help illustrate the experimental process in sociology. The income was 50 cents per dollar less for families who had incomes from other sources. Families earning over a certain income level did not receive mincome.
Families that were already collecting welfare or unemployment insurance were also excluded. The test families in Dauphin were compared with control groups in other rural Manitoba communities on a range of indicators such as number of hours worked per week, school performance, high school drop out rates, and hospital visits Forget, A guaranteed annual income was seen at the time as a less costly, less bureaucratic public alternative for addressing poverty than the existing employment insurance and welfare programs.
Today it is an active proposal being considered in Switzerland Lowrey, Intuitively, it seems logical that lack of income is the cause of poverty and poverty-related issues. One of the main concerns, however, was whether a guaranteed income would create a disincentive to work. The concept appears to challenge the principles of the Protestant work ethic see the discussion of Max Weber in Chapter 1. The study did find very small decreases in hours worked per week: about 1 percent for men, 3 percent for married women, and 5 percent for unmarried women.
Forget argues this was because the income provided an opportunity for people to spend more time with family and school, especially for young mothers and teenage girls. There were also significant social benefits from the experiment, including better test scores in school, lower high school drop out rates, fewer visits to hospital, fewer accidents and injuries, and fewer mental health issues. Ironically, due to lack of guaranteed funding and lack of political interest by the late s , the data and results of the study were not analyzed or published until The data were archived and sat gathering dust in boxes.
The mincome experiment demonstrated the benefits that even a modest guaranteed annual income supplement could have on health and social outcomes in communities. People seem to live healthier lives and get a better education when they do not need to worry about poverty. In her summary of the research, Forget notes that the impact of the income supplement was surprisingly large given that at any one time only about a third of the families were receiving the income and, for some families, the income amount would have been very small. The income benefit was largest for low-income working families, but the research showed that the entire community profited.
The improvement in overall health outcomes for the community suggest that a guaranteed income would also result in savings for the public health system. To test the benefits of tutoring, for example, the sociologist might expose the experimental group of students to tutoring while the control group does not receive tutoring. Then both groups would be tested for differences in performance to see if tutoring had an effect on the experimental group of students.
As you can imagine, in a case like this, the researcher would not want to jeopardize the accomplishments of either group of students, so the setting would be somewhat artificial. The test would not be for a grade reflected on their permanent record, for example. The Stanford Prison Experiment is perhaps one of the most famous sociological experiments ever conducted.
In , 24 healthy, middle-class male university students were selected to take part in a simulated jail environment to examine the effects of social setting and social roles on individual psychology and behaviour. They were randomly divided into 12 guards and 12 prisoners. The prisoner subjects were arrested at home and transported blindfolded to the simulated prison in the basement of the psychology building on the campus of Stanford University. Within a day of arriving the prisoners and the guards began to display signs of trauma and sadism respectively. After some prisoners revolted by blockading themselves in their cells, the guards resorted to using increasingly humiliating and degrading tactics to control the prisoners through psychological manipulation.
While the insights into the social dynamics of authoritarianism it generated were fascinating, the Stanford Prison Experiment also serves as an example of the ethical issues that emerge when experimenting on human subjects. The work of sociology rarely happens in limited, confined spaces. Sociologists seldom study subjects in their own offices or laboratories. Rather, sociologists go out into the world.
They meet subjects where they live, work, and play. Field research refers to gathering primary data from a natural environment without doing a lab experiment or a survey. It is a research method suited to an interpretive approach rather than to positivist approaches. To conduct field research, the sociologist must be willing to step into new environments and observe, participate, or experience those worlds.
In fieldwork, the sociologists, rather than the subjects, are the ones out of their element. The researcher interacts with or observes a person or people, gathering data along the way. Fieldwork is optimal for observing how people behave. It is less useful, however, for developing causal explanations of why they behave that way.
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From the small size of the groups studied in fieldwork, it is difficult to make predictions or generalizations to a larger population. Similarly, there are difficulties in gaining an objective distance from research subjects. It is difficult to know whether another researcher would see the same things or record the same data. We will look at three types of field research: participant observation, ethnography, and the case study.
Choosing a research methodology depends on a number of factors, including the purpose of the research and the audience for whom the research is intended. The most reliable data would come from an experimental or quasi-experimental research model in which a control group can be compared with an experimental group using quantitative measures.
This approach has been used by researchers studying InSite in Vancouver Marshall et al. InSite is a supervised safe-injection site where heroin addicts and other intravenous drug users can go to inject drugs in a safe, clean environment. Clean needles are provided and health care professionals are on hand to intervene in the case of overdoses or other medical emergency. It is a controversial program both because heroin use is against the law the facility operates through a federal ministerial exemption and because the heroin users are not obliged to quit using or seek therapy.
To assess the effectiveness of the program, researchers compared the risky usage of drugs in populations before and after the opening of the facility and geographically near and distant to the facility. The results from the studies have shown that InSite has reduced both deaths from overdose and risky behaviours, such as the sharing of needles, without increasing the levels of crime associated with drug use and addiction. On the other hand, if the research question is more exploratory for example, trying to discern the reasons why individuals in the crack smoking subculture engage in the risky activity of sharing pipes , the more nuanced approach of fieldwork is more appropriate.
The research would need to focus on the subcultural context, rituals, and meaning of sharing pipes, and why these phenomena override known health concerns. Graduate student Andrew Ivsins at the University of Victoria studied the practice of sharing pipes among 13 habitual users of crack cocaine in Victoria, B. Ivsins, He met crack smokers in their typical setting downtown and used an unstructured interview method to try to draw out the informal norms that lead to sharing pipes. One factor he discovered was the bond that formed between friends or intimate partners when they shared a pipe.
He also discovered that there was an elaborate subcultural etiquette of pipe use that revolved around the benefit of getting the crack resin smokers left behind. Both of these motives tended to outweigh the recognized health risks of sharing pipes such as hepatitis in the decision making of the users.
This type of research was valuable in illuminating the unknown subcultural norms of crack use that could still come into play in a harm reduction strategy such as distributing safe crack kits to addicts. Every day for two weeks, he pretended to work there. His main purpose was simply to see if anyone would notice him or challenge his presence. No one did. The receptionist greeted him. The employees smiled and said good morning.
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Rothman was accepted as part of the team. He even went so far as to claim a desk, inform the receptionist of his whereabouts, and attend a meeting. Later, he was discredited for allegedly fabricating some details of the story and The New Yorker issued an apology. This method lets researchers study a naturally occurring social activity without imposing artificial or intrusive research devices, like fixed questionnaire questions, onto the situation.
A researcher might go to great lengths to get a firsthand look into a trend, institution, or behaviour. A researcher might work as a waitress in a diner, or live as a homeless person for several weeks, or ride along with police officers as they patrol their regular beat. Often, these researchers try to blend in seamlessly with the population they study, and they may not disclose their true identity or purpose if they feel it would compromise the results of their research. Field researchers simply want to observe and learn.
In such a setting, the researcher will be alert and open minded to whatever happens, recording all observations accurately. Soon, as patterns emerge, questions will become more specific, observations will lead to hypotheses, and hypotheses will guide the researcher in shaping data into results.
In a study of small town America conducted by sociological researchers John S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, the team altered their purpose as they gathered data. They initially planned to focus their study on the role of religion in American towns. As they gathered observations, they realized that the effect of industrialization and urbanization was the more relevant topic of this social group. The Lynds did not change their methods, but they revised their purpose. The Lynds were upfront about their mission. The townspeople of Muncie, Indiana knew why the researchers were in their midst.
But some sociologists prefer not to alert people to their presence. Becoming an inside member of a group, organization, or subculture takes time and effort. Researchers must pretend to be something they are not. The process could involve role playing, making contacts, networking, or applying for a job. Once inside a group, some researchers spend months or even years pretending to be one of the people they are observing. However, as observers, they cannot get too involved. Then I retype it and show it to an editor. With others I've had to do revisions of varying magnitude, I'm always willing and interested to revise a novel upon the suggestion of an editor.
I don't have any feel- ing about anything being sacred as it stands. For me, the advantage of the 10 page a day method is that it enables me to over- come the self doubts which in my case start creeping in almost as soon as I start the first page. All those inner questions, about is this any good?
So by forcing myself to just go on and at least have a finished manuscript to present to someone, I overcome these doubts. Naturally, I would love to be a person without such doubts, but that doesn't seem very likely. It enables you to be- come involved with the characters and their lives rather than to stand back and say, 'What a wonderful sentence. Since I enjoy writing dialogue, I tend to use it pretty often. The issue of third and first person also interests me. In my short story writing years I wrote exclusively in the third person, and basically it still appeals to me because it has a certain detach- ment.
But in doing it I felt I gained a certain freedom. There is a confidential, natural ease to the first person which is appealing, rather like talking to a friend. Since then most of my novels have been in the first person, but I still feel my real love is the third. The political or cultural event which has influenced me most as a person and as a writer has been the women's movement. Possibly it's made me overly sensitive to certain things when I read. Especially with writing for children, I can't put aside the unspoken implications of many books with their slighting attitudes to women or girls.
Even if the book is well written, these attitudes disturb me. I think the whole issue of women's lib in relation to writing is a complex one. It isn't simply a matter of writing a book about a little girl who wants to get on the boy's baseball team. Such books often have assumptions which are, to me, ragingly sexist and far transcend the apparent theme.
I think it's a matter of looking afresh at attitudes to all female characters in a book, not only to the girls who are the center, but the mothers, the sisters, the aunts. Sometimes you'll read a book where the mother works and you'll think great. But often by the end of the book it will have been made to seem as though the mother's working is some kind of evil which has destroyed the lives of her children. But I'm not only concerned with the female characters we are pre- senting to our young people in their books. I'm concerned with fathers too. I'd like to see more books in which fathers take an active role in the lives of their children, not just in playing sports with them, but in a more intimate basic way.
Today I feel many more fathers are doing this so it's really a matter—as it is with other issues too--of books catching up to life. We are still far behind reality in what we decide to present to children, and this is a pity. I see lists of recommended books for children and adolescents and often these books are almost exclusively fantasy, fairy tales, folk tales. I think I understand The real world frightens many people today. We are living, perhaps even more than in earlier times, in an era of changing values and many people are afraid to deal with these changes in books.
They feel children need and expect fixed values, certainty. I think children are not fooled by false certainty and I think they aren't going to go back to fairy tales either. They need books which confront some of these new things, even if the outcome isn't always the most reassuring. Not that escapist books of any kind don't have a place for children just as they do for adults, but I'd like to see.
I chose to become a writer because writing gave me pleasure of a very special kind. Painting was the only other activity which came close, and until I was in my late teens I wasn't sure which field I would go into, I was never sure I could make an actual profession out of it, and started getting a doctorate in Russian so I could teach and, perhaps write on the side.
In a rather uhliberated way I decided I could rely on being supported by my husband and I should take a chance at doing what I most wanted to do. I found it hard doing two things at once—going to graduate school and writing. Pos- sibly they drew too much on the same energies. For me writing is probably most akin to acting. That is, when I write I feel I am becoming another person and I have the--to me--exciting sensation of transcending my own identity. When you write, you can be a different age, a different sex. There are virtually no limits to what you can attempt. In 'real life 1 I was and still am to some extent a fairly shy, repressed person.
Through my characters I express things that I wouldn't have the courage to outside of my books. Often I reread my books and am filled with admiration for these outspoken, iconoclastic women, I'm so much more aware in myself of my cringing, insecure side, though at the same time I feel these outspoken characters do stand for a part of me which exists, but doesn't al- ways come to the surface. I had grown up on what I now see as a very shel- tered environment — liberal politically, open to new ideas, etc.
I thought the whole world was like this, or at least even if intellectually I realized it wasn't, I had never met people who thought very differently from me. Now, of course, due to the angry and hostile letters my editors or I have received about some of the things I've tried to put into my children's books, I'm aware how different things are in most of the country.
There is a very strong repressive tide, I can't tell how much stronger or less strong it is now than it was a few years ago, but there is no doubt it exists, that it does have an influence on sales of books and so on, I still feel, though, that I have to write the kind of books that interest me, and thus far I've felt that there have been enough people, even if they aren't a majority, who believe in the kind of thing I'm trying to do, who say, in effect, keep it up so that I feel just- ified in continuing. But it is definitely a problem.
It's easy to be forthright on behalf of ideas in general, but when it comes to your own books, you feel much more vulnerable. You always wonder if perhaps the book just isn't good, not that it represents ideas which some people find threatening. I feel that in fifty years many of the taboos about sexuality which I think do exist now will have vanished. The last to go are the ones involving books for younger children. I think that at this moment teenage books are just beginning to break through some of these taboos. Often my books are called 'books for young adults' but really they are for younger children, more like 8 to 12 year olds.
They are foisted on teenagers because if the book has a controversial theme, people will ac- cept it more easily for a teenage audience than for a younger one. An editor, I once heard speak, suggested that libraries should not be separated according to books 37 9 ERLC for children, books for teenagers, books for adults. She felt all books should be mixed together on the same shelves.
Possibly this would create some confusion, but I felt her basic idea was sound. When I write a book in which the main character is 11, I don't want that book to be one which only an 11 year old can enjoy. To me it's a book seen through an eleven year old's eyes, but I'd like it to have the complexity and subtly of an adult book.
In short, I see my children's books as being about children, not just for children. I know many writers for children say, in effect — I won't write about this because a child won't be interested in it. One example I've been given is: I won't write about adults because children don't want to read about them. I don! I see most experiences as being ones in which we, adults, children, men and women are all involved and it's this broader interaction which is my concern. There is the eccentric f antasy. Interviewing Richard Peck, I could avoid all those pitfalls.
We were born on opposite sides of the same Central Illinois cornfield; I learned to swim in Dreamland Lake; and we both taught English at one time. We naturally started talking about books and kids.
I am still surprised to find books I wrote for pleasure reading now a part of the curriculum. What it says is we are reaching out for a curriculum. When it began it bothered me. I thought kids might be trapped in the present forever, but they read everything, and that is as it should be. I believe every student should pass an exam in Latin grammar, but that isn't traditional. It never was that way. I also believe kids should pass a reading com- prehension exam before they are advanced, but that has never been either.
As a teacher I wasn't traditional at all even though my students almost demanded that I be. I wanted them to experiment with writing styles. They wanted to do book reports. Even when they wrote poetry it was post e. No, I'm more idealistic than traditional. A boy is looking for an adult figure on whom to model himself.
Although he and the father have a good relationship, the ashen faced father is not enjoying his life which is mostly work and admits it to' his son.
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The son is then released to try on many masks. He finds Uncle Miles, an iconoclast, who is th? But I enjoyed dealiu; s with the serious theme in a humorous and a supernatural way. No, an architect, but I couldn't do math. After a long time I learned I could build stories where no math was necessary. And I am thankful I never had a teacher who encouraged 1 self -expression.
My advice to kids interested in this craft would be to read, ob- serve, go to the library. Before you can write, you must un-center yourself. Today I don't keep notebooks of random observations because you would have to contort the structure of a novel to include them. Virtually all the incidents in a novel have to be created to fit action and characterization. The biggest bore in a novelist's life is the one who steps up at a party and says, 'I could write a novel about my life.
Now I do, but I didn't at first. Be he male or be she female, I'm partial to the self-reliant, semi-loner, standing at the edge of the action—observing it with a keen ironic eye. Oh, yes Usually Theme.. After that, I had to decide whether to deal with boys or girls and after that, how to work up a plot full of action to prove the theme. First-person diminishes the distance between writer and reader. I want my voice to sound as if the story is a confidence shared between this reader and a best friend.
Books are good companions in a lonely world. By reading between the lines of letters they write and by asking, when I meet them, what their favorite TV shows are. Because like it or not, TV is the only ex- perience the entire youthful generation has in common. To watch what they watch and try to see it through their eyes is one way of trying to bridge the generation gap. We have already defused two formerly taboo words--race and sex, but we haven't begun to explore an even more important sub ject--class.
I mean social class. The social structure of a school, whether it be warring street gangs or fraternities and sororities, makes all young people class-conscious and some of them feel like rejects. More novels that ask adolescents to evaluate the class structure they set up for themselves would be very welcome. It may turn out to be more a book about the young than for the young, but I think it is important because it recognizes that adults—responsible parents and teachers—play a far smaller role in their children's lives than they think.
That was frustrating like having a baby and not being able to give it a name. That title finally came from actual conversation in the book. That is a fictional story taking place in an actual setting. In Decatur, Illinois, my hometown there is a defunct amusement park with a Dreamland Lake in the center. The cover of the novel is from a real photo- graph. After the characters are established, I can't make them stop talking, and often they talk about things unrelated to the novel.
For example, Alexander and Blossom Culp are still talking. I can forsee future adventures for them. The group of girls were sitting in an old Chrysler at a drive-in. They were talking so loud and so fast, I couldn't make the typewriter go fast enough to capture it all. Unfortunately, most of the writing doesn't work that way. Prepare for another kind of work--a career that requires deadlines, vocabulary and communicating with strangers.
That could be a career in journalism, advertising, teaching. Work hard at that career and leave your writing until later when you have found out that no one is unique, not even a writer. The success of a book about gangs, violence and "teenage have-nots ,T gave courage or motivation to a herd of writers to take on a host of previously taboo subjects. Few of them drew the real outsiders in, as Hinton did. Suzy Hinton is getting on and so is her canon.
Talking to her about her characters is like talking to her about her family. Maybe that is one of the keys to her success. Many of my characters are loosely based on people I've known. For example the real boy like Dallas Winston was shot and killed by the police for having stolen a car. I knew a girl like Cherry Vance, but my friend, didn't have guts. But in all my characters there is always some aspect of myself. Ponyboy is the way I felt at I read a lot and was very introspective. I'm not sure he is my favorite charac- ter, but he sure is the kid's pick.
I've been thinking about having him be a high school teaaher in one of my next ones. That is what I think he would like to be. I was so subtle my readers missed the point that he was only out for himself. That was the only time I really was at sea with my narrator. He just grew as the plot unfolded. Bryon wasn't bad, and it wasn't that squealing was so bad. But he knew Mark would never have a chance to change if he turned him in, and he did it anyway.
That was bad. He knew it. That was why he was so apathetic in the end; he knew what he had done. He couldn't act because he had taken away Mark's ability to do so. Motorcycle Boy is my most ambitious character so far. I saw his picture in LIFE magazine just as it says in the book. He was leaning up against an ole beat up bike and the photograph looked like a mood painting. First I wrote a short story called 'Rumble Fish' and the novel was based on it. You're right. Rusty James could never really be like Motorcycle Boy, but he had identified with him so strongly that when he was hit on the head, he momentarily could see from Motorcycle Boy's viewpoint.
Even though heroes are out of fashion, I liked the idea of creating one. Oh, I always wanted to be a writer and I couldn't stop now even if I made a 'bundle. My horse was always running away with me and my trainer was yelling at me. It wasn't the friends. That just sorted them out. But the pressure came from every direction. Everybody asked me what I was going to do next and watched me anxiously.
Consequently, I couldn't do anything. Everyone had such high expectations. I think so. I'm the oldest. My sister three years younger seemed much more ready to face being a teenager than I was. She wanted dates and that whole teenage scene. I had such a time getting over being a tomboy, and I had a thing about being a cowboy. I was more interested in frogs and horses than boys. Yes, I think so. You always think the next stage is so neat and mysterious.
When you get over being twelve and you're a teenager, it's just the same ole people. I could tell my sister that. I write from the male viewpoint because that's where I'm most comfortable. When I was little, my close friends were always boys, and besides that I had illusions of grandeur about the things I wanted to do and accomplish. Girls in my day didn't have a chance for much of anything. My male cousin lived down the street and I was shocked at eight to learn he was not my brother.
So I always dreamed of having that relationship. My husband David has brown hair, and he doesn't like for me to say that. No, not at all. He doesn't even read. In fact, I received the contract for that one on our wedding day. He has given me some technical advice on pool hustling, but I haven't made him a character yet. Maybe that is because I haven't written a comedy yet. I tried to write an answer to all of those books that link sex with punishment. They listened to each other, exchanged ideas, corrected each other and laughed a lot.
No wonder this author is a favorite with young reader. I asked her how she began writing: My kids were about three and five, and I was constantly reading picture books to them. After reading at least five hundred I began to think, 'I can do this too. But I guess it really goes much further back. As a child I was the great pretender, always had an imaginary game filled with fantasy characters floating around in my head. As a young mother I began to realize I was a creative person with no outlet. I wrote imitation Dr. Seuss books while I washed the dishes Also I've always read a great deal. I began going to the library to read chil- dren's books, dividing them into categories — those I would like to have written and those I would not have enjoyed or couldn't have done.
A course can't teach you to write, but the professional encouragement helped. Mainly, I was forced to write every week. I wrote it following the old formula—avoiding all the traditional taboos and concocting a happy ending. I rewrote it before I gave it to Bradbury Press and twice after that with my editor's help, but I still don't understand why they took it.
My editor tells me he saw the next book. I bless him for that. For me it's always a character. When I'm working on a book and someone asks me what it is about, I always say it is about Margaret, Katherine or Sally. But my books are always about family, school and friends because I write about kids and that is how real kids spend their lives The one I'm writing about at the moment.
Now it is Sally, the protagonist for a book I'm doing about the forties. But I guess Margaret will always be a very special favorite because she is me, I had talked to God that way when I was a child. A lot of it is fiction, of course, but that is the way I really felt in the sixth grade. Margaret also brought me fans. I'll always be grateful to her for that.
Margaret was all me, and there is a bit of me in my new character, Sally. You know she isn't mean or cruel. When I was an adolescent, I hurt and was hurt as all adolescents are. I think we still haven't shown how rough it is to be a kid. Also the young have so little control over their own lives, even their own bodies. That's frustrating and painful. My son Larry doesn't want me to tell him when to take a shower or shampoo his hair or do his homework, and I can under- s tand tha t.
Even though I write books for kids, knowing them doesn't help to live with ado- lescents on an emotional level. My kids and I are open with each other and thati helps, but it doesn't solve everything. We still have hassles. I have to look back; I can't write from the middle of it. Larry wants me to write a book about a seventh grade boy, but I'll have to do that later, after he is older. A very positive one! He is such a sensitive, caring person, and he doesn't try to tell me what to do, how to write or rewrite. But we talk and he asks many ques- tions. Then I rewrite. My editor believes I know much more about my characters than I show him in the first draft, and he is always right.
The first draft of a book is pure agony for me. Rewriting is the pleasure. After I have already done five or six drafts, I work with my editor twice, doing revisions each time. The only thing I can do spontaneously is dialogue. That comes out right the first time for some reason. Because writing is so lonely I like to talk to other writers, but I'm beginning to think too much of it is destructive. I become too competitive. I don't think so. There are writers I admire, of course, but when I'm working, I stay away from reading any fiction. I will read only non-fiction because I don't want to be influenced by anyone else's style.
I hope not, and I don't think so. There is a risk in such a commitment. An author tends to lose sight of her people. Characters become puppets. I identify with the feminist movement, but critics often say the feminists won't like my books. I don't write to please any one group and I don't like it when people say I write problem books.
I write people books and that's what I want to do. Occasionally I'll read a revision of a book of mine and be amazed. I laugh and think, so that's what I was writing about; I thought it was about Margaret or Katherine or Deemie The children's letters save me, and they also tell me what I want to know, but occasionally I think the reviewers stand between me and the children. That frustrates me. Teacher's and librarians are not going to make my books available to the kids if the critics are negative. What confuses me is most reviewers, even the negative ones, end up saying, f But the children are going to love it.
What do they mean? Are they condescending to the children? To me? Are they saying the books are rotten, but kids have no taste so it doesn't matter? I happen to think kids do have taste, and I write for them.
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I do what I can do. The children say they identify with the characters and feel empathy with the feelings the characters in my books express. So many letters say, 'It's like reading about me I think writers learn by reading a lot. I also think a writer should experiment and not be afraid.
The book I'm writing now is about Sally, a fifth grader, but it really happened to me in the third and fourth grade. I call it my historical novel; it takes place in I'm doing it from the third person viewpoint because I've done so many in first person. Writ- ing can get into a rut. I'm doing this to stay fresh even though I'm more comfortable in the first person. Kids who write want to get published. They shouldn't be in too much of a hurry. I have a closet full of unpublished manuscripts.
Each one was a learning experience for me. Kids should write to please themselves and not just with the idea of possible publication. There aren't any rules. My daughter has a unique style; her stories have such macabre endings. I never tell her to change that. It's Randy's style. Censorship, in my experience, has mainly been a problem of sex and language. If a child comes to a parent with a question growing out of one of my books, I see this as a perfect opening for a discussion.
If instead that parent says, 'My God, what are you reading? By his or her action she or he is making a statement to the child. Two librarians have told me how they handle parents' objections to sexuality in books for young people. They sit down with the parent and say, ' Now, show me exactly what it is that bo thers you and we'll read it together and talk about it. This is asking a great deal of the teacher or librarian— and should they assume the role of psychological counselor in the first place? Not every teacher or librarian can handle that— or should be ex- pected to try— but it is an example of how some professionals have dealt successfully with a difficult situation.
First, find the source of the problem, for once the issue is out in the open it becomes easier for everyone involved. Some parents still won't be able to cope with it—the next step may be a scientific book, but then, at least, the parent is saying to the child, 'Let's find out together. She wanted to read a love story that could really happen; one in which neither young lover dies at the end. I also wanted to show 44 that boys are equally vulnerable. I have mixed feelings about that. If it will reach a wider audience because of adult publication, then fine — as long as it reaches its intended audience — young people.
It's too bad that books have to fit neatly into categories but that seems to be a fact of publishing life at the moment. They are announced, reviewed, shelved, and marketed that way. It is too soon to know if FOREVER will be accepted for young people, because of its sexual detail, but its very publi- cation shows how even the threat of censorship shapes literature. Some critics have said that Katherine's immediate sexual pleasure isn't credible. My one regret about the book is that in the final rewrite a sequence showing that Katherine had a long history of masturbating, was removed.
In the deleted version there isn't any evidence that she was already atuned to her body. The reasoning be-, hind this was since it was to be an 'adult 1 novel it wasn't necessary to tell or show the reader everything about Katherine. My mistake was not expressing my views more strongly to my editor. There is real danger in paying too close attention to book reviews.
As a writer I must never try to please the critics, but to please myself, and hope that in doing so I can share my feelings and observations about life with my young readers, causing them to think. The 12 most popular writers, in order of their popularity, were 1 Kurt Vonnegut, 2 Hermann Hesse, 3 J.
There are only six to eight years in which a child can read, as a child , and there are so many wonderful books to be read he will never have time to read them all. To waste these few precious years reading the less than worthwhile is really a crime. Admittedly the missed books could be read when one is an adult. While you're reading that, you may get. For example, the increased sophistication of the subject matter dealt with in the genre has expanded the age parameters of the genre's intended audience.
Traditionally, the adolescent novel was written to the reading abilities and interests of younger adolescents, those in grades However, many recent adolescent novels are extremely popular with high school students and adults. The appeal of the adolescent novel to older adolescents is obviously grounded in the genre's characteristic "high interest-low readability" format. The expanded age parameters of the adolescent novel have resulted in some complications and advantages concerning the use of the genre in the classroom.
A significant complication concerns the selection of recent adolescent novels for use with younger adolescents. However, it is the advantages of the expanded age parameters which are of interest here. In fact, many recent adolescent novels are naturals for use in thematic units because they provide the opportunity for the "slow readers" in a class to explore, through materials they can read successfully, the central concepts dealt with in a thematic unit.
After all, one of the advantages of the thematic unit is that it allows for the use of a wide variety of reading materials at various readability levels so that students with varying abilities can be working simultaneously with the problem or concept being explored by the class. The following bibliography has been designed as an aid to the classroom teacher interested in incorporating "high interest-low readability" materials in specific thematic units.
This bibliography is by no means definitive; the number of suitable adolescent novels is staggering. Furthermore, the placement of a particular novel under a particular thematic heading reflects my personal judgment, and the novel might have been placed under a different thematic heading or under several headings. My point should be clear — this bibliography is just a start.
Alienation Garden, Nancy.
A high school senior's resolution to rebel against the traditional goals of his family is shattered by his grandfather's death and the disasterous results of his girlfriend's acid trip. Could also be used in a unit on Death. Hinton, S. Death, drug abuse, racial conflict and a sudden realization of the harshness of life turn the seventeen-year-old protagonist of this novel into an existential hero who is searching for meaning in his life.
Kerr, M. Dinky 's life is complicated by her socially concerned parents who have little or no time for her, an overweight and extremely right-wing boyfriend, and a cousin with a history of mental illness. Dinky seeks escape in gluttony. A teenaged girl trying to cope with her divorced mother's double-standard morality seeks escape in communal living and meditation until a friend of hers is destroyed by the hypocrisy of the commune.
Could be used in a Family Relations Unit. Piatt, Kim. A young boy escapes parental abuse and neglect by becoming autistic, but learns to face reality because of strangers who have come to love him. Stolz, Mary. Jimmie Cavin attempts to put her world back together after her parents 1 unexpected divorce. Could also be used in a Family Relations Unit. Wood, Phyllis Anderson. Jim and Rachel tuned out the world until they found each other and became involved in each other's problems and the problems of those less fortunate. They rediscover life. Could be used in a Values Unit.
Wood, George A. McKay, Robert. Jesse, a teenaged rock singer and student activist, is kicked out of his California high school, so his parents take him and retreat to a small middle-America community. But Jesse finds more discontented teenagers. The Black Experience Childress, Alice. This is a realistic and candid account of a young boy's attempts to resist his family's and community's efforts to get him off heroin. Could also be used in a Drug Abuse Unit.
Guy, Roas. Phyllisa, 14, leaves the West Indies and moves to New York. She is alone and unable to cope with the realities of the streets until she meets Edith, a child of the streets. Together they build a strange but beautiful relationship. Mathis, Sharon Bell. A black youth realizes the need to face and fight reality and sacrifices his dream- goals to help a younger brother achieve the goals he has the ability to reach.
Meriwether, Louise. This is a sophisticated and candid account of a young girl's attempts to fight the harsh realities of the inner city ghetto. Could also be used in a Coming-of-Age Unit. Death Beckman, Gunnel. Annika, a teenager, gropes toward an understanding and acceptance of her impending death. She must explore her past and values in her emotional struggle. When John's last brother dies, John buries him beside the remainder of his family in the graveyard on a lonely mountain.
Then, while waiting for his death, he seeks friendship with a wolf or dog. Could also be used in an Alienation Unit. Peck, Richard. Two teenaged boys discover a dead body, and their discovery leads them to explore the many types, physical and spiritual, of death which contemporary man must face. Could also be used in a Values Unit. Peck, Robert Newton. A boy living on a Vermont farm is thrust into manhood and into a deep appreciation for his father by his father's death. Could also be used in a Coming-of -Age Unit. Windsor, Patricia. An account of a high school girl's emotional breakdown which follows the death of her boyfriend and her obsession with her eventual death.
Could also be used in a Mental Illness Unit. Initiation - Coming-of -Age Aaron, Chester. Allan, 12, and Sam, 10, run away from the affluence and shallowness of their home, and are befriended by the eccentric caretaker of the county dump. From the caretaker they learn to face reality and to begin growing up. Donovan, John. Henry's life is hollow until he meets Amelia, a year-old rebel.
Through Amelia he learns to value and to face life. This book is about a boy's painful journey through adolescence including his changing values, increased knowledge about such matters as divorce, and his attraction to an older woman. Lyle, Katie Letcher. Jessie, a teenaged girl, grows up, learning that nothing is permanent, but one must love things despite their impermanence and that people are capable of kindness.
Carol Patterson doesn't know who she is and can't find out until she learns to deal with her parents 1 divorce, her sister's premarital pregnancy, and her own confusion. Finally Carol takes to the road, and her discoveries allow her to return home well on the road to maturity. Taylor, Theodore. A young white boy, marooned and blinded by a submarine attack during World War II, finds himself dependent upon an old black man for survival and for the beginning of his maturation process.
Walsh, Jill Paton. Two young people discover the power of love and their personal identities, and begin 48 growing up amid the ruins of war- torn London. This story is about two young people attempting to gain their own identities, Adam has lost his identity in the wake of his father's fame, and Brenda Belle has lost hers in her mother's fixed notions of what a woman should and should not do.
Values Eustis, Helen. After the Civil War, a young boy sets out to escape traditional values but comes to respect and need' the values of family life, work, and personal integrity. Bantam, A young girl must make her own decision. She is unmarried and pregnant. Her mother and stepfather want her to have an abortion but won't help her financially or emotionally. Her father doesn't want her to have an abortion, but will give her the money. Goff stein, M. A young teenager must learn to distinguish between illusion and reality and then learn to accept reality, in this book her memories of her youth clash with what she sees as a college freshman, Jordan, Hope Dahle.
Pocket Books, A young girl, the driver in a hit and run accident, tries to deal with her secret guilt and to make amends, Neufeld, John. In , six teenagers rebel against the totalitarian -- Utopian society in which they live. The teenagers — boys, girls, black, and whites -- fight for the personal liberties and freedoms we enjoy.
An adolescent novel version of Here are a couple of brief quotations. The literary work exists in the live circuit set up between reader and text: the reader infuses intellectual and emotional meanings into the pattern of verbal symbols, and those symbols channel his thoughts and feelings. Out of this complex process emerges a more or less organized imaginative experi- ence.
Personal factors will inevitably affect the equation represented by book plus reader. His past experience and present pre- occupations may actively condition his primary spontaneous response. In some cases, these things will conduce to a full and balanced reaction to the work. In other cases, they will limit or distort. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen some of the more expensive toys snubbed him. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never.
The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything. Being naturally shy, the books and the College Children's literature specialist were thought to be made only of velveteen. More often than not the Children's literature specialist was a soft spoken former librarian who had seen a spark or sparkle in a child's eye upon reading one of her favorites. The children's books thought they could not claim to be archetypal of anything, because they believed all books to be filled with words, thoughts, ideas.
They believed all books had structure, content, discipline, form. They understood that these terms were old-fashioned and should not be mentioned in modern circles. Rather they knew it was important to some to discuss what filled books in terms of genre, literary theory, phenomenology of reading, pluralism and monism in interpretation, psychoanalytic, formal, historical, or typological inter- pretation, or the influence of culture and the life of the author upon the individ- ual work, a corpus, or upon other writers.
Children's books had one goal: to guide the child to better reading. The school was and is thought of as a place where an environment is created where a child devel- ops the desire to read. Elementary teachers have been admonished to guide the child to better books and to develop an environment conducive to reading. Secondary English teachers, too, need to allow the atmosphere of reading to permeate the classroom.
Indeed, they have been admonished to do just this in various reading proposals -- often called free reading programs. Newer designs have the label elective or phase elective programs. Much of the rationale behind such designs is to foster reading, to develop critical thinking, and to provide relevant materials. One certainly wants to turn students on to learning and reading. The stumbling block to articulating children's books into the secondary class- room is not, then, a design which does not allow for the inculcation of children's books.
Rather, one suspects that a snobbish mechanical toy syndrome exists, or simple unfamiliarity with the current or perhaps not so current titles in literature for children. One should not interpret this as a recommendation for more courses for the English teacher; No, it is a recommendation that more reading and wider reading ought to take place. Book titles in adolescent literature are multiplying exponentially. All this one knows, but one knows also that many adolescents cannot cope with the adolescent books with which we would like them to be acquainted.
It is for these children, adolescents, who have not the social or emotional maturity commensurate with their chronological age that the English teacher must read. Children who are outwardly mature, but in- wardly insecure, need the special guidance of a teacher who has a broad spectrum of literature. The facade of sophistication of these children is transparent. This is especially true when one views the alternatives which some of the immature students have chosen, or are choosing.
He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechan- ical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle? Books, poems, stories which solaced him at an early age might be the stim- ulus in the English teacher's diagnostic repertoire to provide a parallel in more appropriate materials.
But, one is not always fortunate to have ex- ternal influences, so the English teacher needs to know the book. If he is trying to teach form or structure, then a familiar book, a child's book which exhibits the form well could easily be chosen if the English teacher knows of its existence. Interest and the emotional response to books are high priorities in the curri- culum designs to individualize instruction. Many children's books, so called, have overlapping interest with adolescent books.
That he rides a motorcycle lends relevance, but more important, the book is a study of character responses — simple and straight forward — stereotyped and complex. These are simple yet complex examples of what it means to be real in children's literature. Note that these titles are not REAL in a sufficient time span to be considered classics. Rather it is the qualities of theme and idea, form and structure which produce the lasting reality for many of the children's books with high interest appeal.
Reality in these books hurt in the pleasure-pain sense of wiggling a loose tooth. This comes with the understanding 51 of character and situation and the realization of ultimate results. The children that secondary teachers have, respond to interest and they understand a real sit- uation. The book becomes REAL to them. Non-prose writing. Poetry and drama will also become REAL for English students and teachers as they read widely of children's literature. I dodge a bee And then I skin tK- other knee. Though climbing may be good for ants It isn't awfully good for pants.
The rhymes and themes and a multitude of concrete images might provide enough im- petus to bring the student to the imagery of the "Solitary Reaper. The situation of climbing a tree is a real experience and by working with a fami- liar situation perhaps boys would not think of poetry as "girl stuff," and reject it. There are other areas where children's books could be used in secondary English classrooms. These three reflect only the sense of the skin horse's explanation REAL isn t how you are made. He suggests that folklore is a solution to answering those que,' , Finally, he concludes, "If I had my way, I would publish a history of philosophy for children.
We- write not only for children but also for their parents. They, too, are serious children. Learn the archetypal parallel between children's books and classroom works, and choose appropriately for the child who is to learn. Use the study of children s books as an analogy to the study of literature. What analogy could be drawn, you might ask. The one by which a student saw a James Bond situation analogous to the Cyclops chasing Ulysses. One remembers that William Shakespeare created some of the most revered English literature by finding analogies to various stories which he found.
It is to believe in loveliness, to believe m belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything. If we do not, we doom ourselves to being merely nursery magic fairies who must transform that which becomes passe into collections, rather than REAL living books which have love and meaning to the reader.
William H. Madeleine L! Mary H. In her imagination, there's a rapist behind every bush. Thirdly, there is the problem parent, alcoholics being the most prevalent type but neurotics, psychotics, and adulterers also being abundantly represented. And finally, there is the nag, a type with infinite variation: the fat, gossipy, self-pitying Mrs.
Suffice it to say--contemporary junior novels have kicked the pedestal from underneath dear old Mom. To summarize, when one looks at novels written especially for young readers, the image of women that comes across is horrendous. Girls who read widely in this kind of book are given few positive pictures of women to look up to.
In fact, the concept of femininity that comes through is grossly insulting. Women, like men, are socially and culturally prepared by reading for the roles society expects them to play. And in most junior novels, girls are brainwashed to accept their inferior station in society as being in the natural order of things.
Bill is the only one who seems to be in real agony. He is slouched in the corner, book held angrily in front of him, disenchanted, disgruntled, betrayed by those around him who actually seem involved and interested in the book. Actually, Bill is the reason I am writing now. Because through Bill's reaction to the book, not the story— the tangible paper and binding which is the book— I see what a book can. Because Bill has difficulty with the book, because reading is so arduous for him, the book becomes his enemy.
He is made to read, and through his difficulty, he realizes how vulnerable he is. The reading of the book shows him how weak he is, and he doesn't like having his feelings, his weaknesses, exposed. He spends much of his time attempting to show how tough he can be, how cool and unflappable and confident. Suddenly, he is confronted by the little yellow book, just a little collection of pages and words, and this bound assembly of pages emasculates him, strips away with a mass of type the image he has been cultivating so carefully.
Suddenly, no matter how brawny or tough or hateful, when confronted by a book, the non-reader, the problem reader, situated amidst those who are reading and enjoying it as here is rendered weak, even infantile. So they hate the book, they hate all books, they hate teachers who give them books and libraries which house books. Finally, after threatening to do the volume physical damage, they decide to fail gracefully rather than subject themselves to the humiliation involved in the at- tempts that are made to get them to read.
They begin to relish this failure and pull it about them like a cloak, proclaiming their ignorance, but always adding that they could do it if they wanted to; they just don't want to. To accept failure as a friend, as a comfort against those vicious, antagonistic books, is so much easier and so much less painful. So they give up from the very beginning, certain that all books are the same, certain that they all offer nothing but humiliation and abuse, certain that they have been made difficult simply to debase kids' feelings about themselves. You do not stay friends with someone who constantly makes fun of you or who repeatedly points up your ignorance.
You avoid him because it is unpleasant to be made to feel foolish. So it is with books to the problem reader. They are not friends; they are the staunchest of foes. I do not know what to do. One cannot ask a man to embarrass himself and that is how they see it.