Numbers and narratives: Further reflections in the sociology of education

  • Nash R
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Abstract

A realist framework, integrating qualitative & quantitative methods, is advocated for the sociology of education. The case for a "numbers & narratives" approach is supported by an analysis of several fundamental problems. Realist forms of sociological explanation require specification of properties at the three distinct levels of social structure, individual disposition, & action within social practice. It is argued that the quantification of these properties is most satisfactorily achieved within a materialist theory of measurement. Many of the problems that arise with quantitative work are shown to have their origin in an inadequate theory of measurement & to be sustained by an unsound concept of "statistical explanation." It is concluded that the most satisfactory response to these problems, however, lies not in the celebration of qualitative work, situated in a relationship of opposition, but in the development of an integrated structure-disposition-practice explanatory scheme for the sociology of education. 45 References. Adapted from the source document.

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Authors

  • Roy Nash

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