Sociology | Sociological Research Practicum II
S567 | 3916 | Corsaro

S567:  Sociological Research Practicum II  (1-3 CR)

3916 ARR            ARR  ARR

William Corsaro

These are the courses for the 1998-99 Sociological
Research Practicum as part of required research
training for the M.A. degree in Sociology.  This year's
project is a comparative, longitudinal ethnography of
children's transition from home to school in the United
States and Italy.  The main goal of the project is to
identify points of congruence and incongruence in the
transition process.  The study will document, for
example, the various ways contributions from different
environments or local cultures (family, preschool,
neighborhood and community, and elementary school) are
complementary and what ways they may conflict.  Such
documentation can serve as a basis for designing
programs and policies to ease transition problems and
promote children's social and intellectual development.

The study has an Italian and American component.  The
Italian component of the project was completed in 1996.
Ethnographic and interview data from the Italian
component will be available for data analysis for
student papers for the Practicum.  In the American
phase of the study the project director will observe
children as they go about their everyday activities
with peers and teachers in a private daycare center and
Head Start center in Bloomington, Indiana over the
1998-99 academic year.  The focus of these observations
will be on activities in the peer and school cultures
which help prepare or prime children for their coming
transition to formal schooling.  These everyday
activities are seen as priming events because they
involve interactive routines in which children, by
their very participation, attend prospectively to
ongoing or anticipated changes in their lives.  The
American phase of the study will also involve
interviews of parents and preschool teachers regarding
the children's preparation for and anticipation of
their transition to kindergarten.  These interviews
will be conducted by SRP students with the assistance
of the project director and the SRP research assistants
in May and June, 1999.  Finally, the American phase of
the study will include a telephone interview of a
sample of parents (who have children that will enter
kindergarten in the next school year) in Bloomington.
This interview will contain a subsample of the
open-ended questions asked in the parental interviews
described above.  The telephone interviews will be
conducted by SRP students with the assistance of the
project director and the SRP research assistants in
June, 1999.

In S566 we will prepare for the research phase of the
study (S567) in three ways.  First, we will review and
discuss the relevant theoretical and research
literature on the sociology of childhood, early
childhood socialization, and early childhood education.
Second, we will review, discuss and carry out a
comparative analysis of various social policies which
affect the lives, care, and early education of young
children.  The comparative analysis will document and
compare social policies in the U.S. and other
industrialized countries.  We will also document policy
variations in early education and child care across the
50 states of the U.S.  Third, we will read and discuss
various sources on ethnographic research methods,
face-to-face in-depth interviewing, and telephone
interviews.  We will also have several short practice
assignments involving face-to face interviewing,
telephone interviewing, and analysis of ethnographic
field notes.

All the readings for the course have not yet been
determined.  We will be reading a number of journal
articles and chapters from edited books.  The following
books will be required for the course and I may add at
least one additional required book.

William A. Corsaro, The Sociology of Childhood.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 1997.

Robert S. Weiss, Learning from Strangers: The Art and
Method of Qualitative Interview Studies.  New York:
Free Press, 1994.