People new to this kind of research might assume that there is something called social justice, which is simply identified as the object of research; they might therefore assume that it is something which could be sharply defined, even if, so far, they have only a hazy idea of it. This is far from the case.
This chapter summarizes some examples of educational research and discusses why - and how far - each of them counts as research for social justice. Four of these examples are accounts of research by other people and the fifth is research which I carried out, in collaboration with others, into the nature of social justice in education. The purpose of the description is to develop a preliminary understanding of the kinds of things that I am referring to in this book as 'social justice'. They serve as a kind of ostensive definition, a way of delineating an area by pointing at it. The discussion points forward to arguments later in the book, in which I draw lines of demarcation around 'research for social justice'. So one purpose of the discussion is to indicate how I will be developing a way of focusing down from the overall area, to see the complexities of the object in the viewfinder. My discussion suggests that, far from being simple, the object is both complex and shifting.
David Gillborn and Caroline Gipps (1996) Recent Research on the
Achievements of Ethnic Minority Pupils. London: HMSO (Ofsted).
This is a review of research into race and achievement in Britain. It
was commissioned because of widespread disquiet about the
educational performance of ethnic minorities in relation to
examination results, behaviour and exclusion figures. It is, therefore,
directly concerned with social - racial - justice in educational settings.
The report briefly summarizes the main findings of relevant research