These generally viewed race in terms of superior or inferior throughout history.
The time frame family studies explored involved biological and pathology theories dating from the 1899 through the twentieth century. Interestingly, these researchers found that in early history, race was more likely to negatively impact child education than socio-economic status, especially during times in history when most people were at a disadvantage economically (as in during the depression). As researchers moved into the twentieth century however, there seems to be a trend in research leaning toward less emphasis on race and minority status, with many researchers turning away from terms like "morons" or "inferior" or "degenerates" and more focusing on terms like "poverty" and "poor" or "welfare status" (Block, Balcazar & Keys, 2001, p. 18). Historical data gathering included a review of researchers and psychologist reports and collection as described in a comparison table which the researcher then reviewed for similarities, differences and changes in theory and thought throughout history. Of all the approaches thus far, this approach seems most likely to represent or reflect how race and socio-economic status impact children in modern society.
As the researchers point out, what is important during one era is not as important during another. During the last few decades much emphasis has been given equality and justice, thus the researchers argue socio-economic status is more likely to impact quality of life and have a negative influence on factors including one's ability to succeed in school. Lin (1998) might assume this approach incorporates both the interpretive and the positive approach to research, as the researcher tends to provide hypothetical data or postulates what they believe the findings will reveal, but also backs this research with data collected over more than 100 years of research and theoretical practice. Gall, Borg & Gall, J. (2007) confirm often historical research toward education requires a synopsis of the results of multiple decades worth of research to confirm or disprove theories regarding phenomenon observed. Often the researcher acts more as an objective observer, collecting information over a defined period and analyzing that material. This is where the potential for subjective analysis comes to play.
Historical research is beneficial when one desires to display a graphical synopsis of research conducted because the researcher can use tools including a timeline or comparison chart, as was used in the participant observation study also observed for this analysis, to display an accurate testament to a given phenomenon (Hatch, 2002).
The downside of historical research is it fails to provide much in the way of testimony of actual participants, in this case students, when reflecting on research. Much of the qualitative research conducted in the past relied on methods other than historical research naturally; some tools included participant observation, the interview method, analysis of data from focus groups or a meta-analysis of research previously conducted (Hatch, 2002). It is interesting however, in this study to note the difference and impact history has on research and the results of research reported by qualitative researchers.
As Block, Balcazar & Keys, (2001) note, unlike the other studies reviewed for this paper, race seems to have more of a negative impact not only on education among children in early history, but also on other factors in their life, including on socio-economic status. This seems contrary to evidence provided by Anderson (1990) and other theorists that suggest socio-economic status is more relevant. If one reviews the works of researchers including Deyhle, Parker & Villenas (1999) however, researchers that take a new approach to qualitative research, which they refer to as "critical race theory" one cannot simply dismiss race as a historical phenomenon. Rather, these researchers suggest while race may seem more prevalent and negative in the past as suggested by Block, Balcazar & Keys (2001), it is just as important and relevant today as it was a century ago.
On closely observing the reports and data collected by Block, Balcazar & Keys (2001), one can conclude that an objective review of the data provides an accurate testimony of historical evidence supporting the theory that race has a negative impact on children and their education, and that race also impacts ones socio-economic status.
A key distinguishing feature here in historical analysis is the fact that many other methods fail to consider two plausible solutions to a question or problem. The historical approach suggests that both race and socio-economic status may be equally to blame for negatively impacting children in education and in life situations. This idea is not touched on in the works of other researchers analyzed for this study. This confirms the theories presented by Lin (1998) who suggests that a combination of approaches in qualitative research is most likely to provide the most accurate outcomes.
Pugach (2001) perhaps analyzes the situation best, noting that in educational research qualitative research is most likely to produce the widest range of possible outcomes and probably causes or answers to a given question of phenomenon. All of the approaches examined for this study have in common the desire to provide objective analysis and causal relationships between race, socio-economic status and the welfare of children, in education and in life. The preliminary studies explored, conducted more recently, place more emphasis on socio-economic status as a distinguishing factor leading to negative student achievement or outcomes.
This contrasts with the historical approach, which suggests a timeline exists, demonstrating while at first race lead to negative impacts on education, eventually people who were minorities suffered from poor or lower socio-economic status which ultimately led to an increased likelihood for negative outcomes including higher dropout rates, behavioral and substance abuse problems among children and young adults. One can best conclude the qualitative approach to research in education provides a well-rounded exploration of given phenomenon that considers both the subjective and objective causes and explanations for given phenomenon. One may also argue the qualitative approach is as valid as quantitative methods, if not more so, when conducting research in the field of education (Pugach, 2001).
Anderson, E. (1990). Streetwise: Race, class, and change in an urban community.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Block, P., Balcazar, F. & Keys, C. (2001). From pathology to power: Rethinking race, poverty and disability. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(1): 18.
Deyhle, D., Parker, L. & Villenas, S. (1999). Race is - Race isn't: Critical race theory and qualitative studies in education. Boulder: Westview Press.
Gall, M., Borg, W., & Gall, J.
Educational research: An introduction. New York: Pearson/Allyn, & Bacon.