Master of Arts (MA)
Junior high, Students, Social mobility, Social skills
As introduction we have chosen to focus primarily on two issues encountered in the definition of the scope of the study. In chapter one the contributions and limitations of theory and research in the field of social stratification are reviewed. The synthesis of this chapter leads to a more general discussion of assumptions in the second part of the introduction. The postulates which are reviewed define both the philosophical biases and the level of generalization at which conclusions may be accepted.
In the second and major part of the thesis we dissect the theory behind each of the major variables and discuss the particular modifications which are incorporated into the research instrument. The chapter on reference groups is particularly long and detailed for several reasons. From the outset, it was apparent that the phenomenon we desired to measure was not that commonly considered under the rubric "reference group." Two other concepts, role model and identification are also explored. Their utility for the particular sociological problem was considered, and their limitations are carefully noted. The outcome of this literature search is the series of operational measures of reference group employed in the study. Hopefully, it is more carefully delineated than it has been in past usage. Chapter four, on design and major hypotheses, summarizes the methodological strategy developed through review of similar studies. The three major hypotheses provide a focal point for preliminary analyses of the results.
The third part of the thesis is an initial description of the data. They present the simple relationships between academic achievement and the salient characteristics of reference groups (taken ad seriatum) in graphic form. Several interesting configurations in the data are revealed by this particular form of presentation. Each of them is briefly explored for its potential in explaining the pattern of achievement.
The summary and conclusion of the study are contained in the fourth section . Theoretical developments, preliminary conclusions from the data analysis, and some projections for further possibilities for research are included in the summary chapter. The conclusion contains a more personal postscript on the procedure and formulations included within the main body of the thesis. Hopefully lessons can be drawn from examination at this level as well as from review of the accumulated knowledge on the sociological problem itself.
Reed, Theodore L., "The Reference Groups for Educational Achievement Among Culturally Deprived Junior High School Students: A Theoretical Discussion and Preliminary Data Review" (1966). Honors Papers. 771.