Doing Educational Research

By Geoffrey Walford | Go to book overview
Save to active project



Stephen J. Ball

Doing sociological research is not just a matter of having exciting adventures in the field it is also a process of analysis, interpretation, theorizing and writing.

This chapter presents and discusses the conception, methods and writing of The Micropolitics of the School (Ball, 1987a). Three aspects of the process of research are dealt with. First, I will place Micropolitics in some relationship to my previous (and subsequent) work, both teaching and research. In particular I want to outline my analytical concern with education as a political process and the concomitant empirical interest in those conflicts which occur between groups and individuals who seek to define ‘what is to count as education’ in their own terms. Second, I will discuss the sorts of data and the methods of collection and analysis employed in the research upon which Micropolitics is based. In particular, I want to consider the use of the ‘constant comparative’ method. Third, in more general terms, I shall explore the role of theory development in ethnography. Specifically, I want to counterpose a model of concept development against a ‘theory testing’ approach. Micropolitics will be reconsidered in these terms.


The origins of Micropolitics lie in two different but related sets of interests, one practical and one theoretical, one based on teaching activities and the other in research activities. In simple terms the origins of Micropolitics lie in a sense of frustration. While working at the University of Sussex, for several years I taught a course on ‘the school as an organization’. From the outset I found two problems in running the course. The first was the dearth of literature on schools


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Doing Educational Research


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 238

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?