Dd141 Tma02 Essay

1636 words - 7 pages

Page 1.

Compare and contrast the approach to studying children’s friendships taken in the Bigelow and La Gaipa (1975) study with that taken by William Corsaro.

This essay will be looking into the research into children’s friendships that was carried out by Brian Bigelow, John La Gaipa and William Corsaro. I will be looking at the similarities and differences between the work that Bigelow and La Gaipa carried out compared to the work by Corsaro. I will be looking at What they studied, the methods used and what they found from the research.

Brian Bigelow and John La Gaipa (1975) carried out a study into a subject that little was known about at the time, a study on ...view middle of the document...

Comparisons were then also carried out in the different age ranges, did older children have different expectations from and friend to younger people, did boys have different expectations from girls. The research did conclude that as children get older, the expectations of a friend do become more complex, sixteen of the original twenty one friendship expectations were more frequent in the older children’s descriptions of their best friend compared to the younger children’s (Bigelow et al, cited in Brownlow, 2012, p243). It did also show that the comparisons between what boys expected of other boys and what girls expected of other girls was minor, with the exception of expectations towards organized play. The boys were more likely than the girls to have organized play as an expectation (Brownlow, 2012, p244).
The data that Bigelow and La Gaipa collected from this research was initially in qualitative form as it was collected in written text.

Page 2

This was then converted to quantitative data by comparing the children’s essays to the list of the twenty one categories of expectations that Bigelow and La Gaipa and constructed.
The data was converted by the researchers as they were not looking for individual children’s expectations, they were looking for more widespread, common comparisons. Quantitative data was also easier for the researchers to see the differences in comparisons between age groups (Brownlow, 2012, p245).

The research that this is being compared to is the research carried out by William Corsaro into the same subject of children’s friendships. Although the research subject was the same, the method used by Corsaro was extremely different from the method used by Bigelow and La Gaipa. Whereas Bigelow and La Gaipa’s research was to research a large number of children and use quantitative data to form generalized patterns, Corsaro’s research was to focus on how children talk to one another and to research children’s individual understanding of the word ‘friend’ (Brownlow, 2012, p250. Unlike Bigelow and La Gaipa, Corsaro would not be converting the qualitative data he collects into quantitative.
The method of research that Corsaro adopted is called an ethnographic approach. This is where a researcher observes a group by becoming involved in activities that the group carry out over a period of time. This involved Corsaro, making detailed notes and observations of a particular group of children. The purpose of this approach is to become a part of children’s social group and to gather first hand the values and influences that are shared around within the group. This gives the researcher a very good view of what goes on within the particular group and a lot of complex data can be ascertained. Rather than approach the children, start asking questions and initiate activities, Corsaro used what he calls the reactive method where he lets the kids draw him into their play, once in he takes a peripheral role...

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