Máirtín Mac an Ghaill
I entered or anyway I encountered the white world. Now this white world that I was encountering was, just the same, one of the forces that had been controlling me from the time I opened my eyes on the world. For it is important to ask, I think, where did these people I’m talking about come from and where did they get their peculiar school of ethics? What was its origin? What did it mean to them? What did it come out of? What function did it serve and why was it happening here? And why were they living where they were living and what was it doing to them? All these things that sociologists think that they can find out and haven’t managed to do… (Baldwin, 1965, p. 121)
I will try to show the ways in which ‘doing sociological research’ is just a method of making sense of the world; as well as the fact that ‘doing research’ changes the way in which the researcher sees the world; a different way of understanding emerges from the research. (Corrigan, 1983, p.6)
One of the major reasons why social scientists have failed to answer the black American novelist James Baldwin’s questions is because they have not asked these questions, concerning the American or English white social world. Rather, white social science research has made problematic dominated social groups, such as the black community. 1 Furthermore, the researchers have used their cultural power to define the dominated groups’ social worlds.
In the educational research tradition of Lacey, 1976, Moore, 1977, Ball, 1984, and Pollard, 1985, I wish to reflect on and discuss some of the processes and issues involved in the methodology of my