Still Leading the Way: The Development of Analytical Techniques in the Study of Educational Inequality

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Lawrence SAHA, Australian National University, Australia
John KEEVES, The University of Adelaide, Australia
The purpose of this paper is to trace the contribution of the sociology of education to the study of educational inequality, which is a key contributor to, and consequence of social inequality. We build on our previous paper (Saha and Keeves, in Torres and Antikainen, The International Handbook on the Sociology of Education, 2003), and provide supportive evidence, that sociological researchers, who study education inequality in its various manifestations in society, continue to make a significant contribution to the development of sociological research methods, and in particular, methods of data analysis.

Our discussion focuses on a select few of the significant new analytical developments which are coming to dominate sociology. In particular, we argue that some of these analytical techniques have developed as a response to the unique challenges that are posed by research in education, and in particular research in classrooms and schools. Some of these techniques involve complex multivariate models, new scaling challenges, nested data, selection and tracking, multi-level effects and the availability of longitudinal data. They have also been facilitated by the emergence of more powerful computers and programs that have made possible the complex analysis of larger comparative data sets, which also demand new analytical techniques. As a result, we argue that sociological research in education inequality has been a major driving force for many of these important analytical developments which have now become part of general sociological analysis.