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Title: A collaborative schools' contact programme in Northern Ireland : exploring participants' experiences and understandings
Author: Lisk, E. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 1172
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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The study aimed to explore experiences and understandings of participants involved in a joint post primary schools community relations programme in Northern Ireland. The theoretical framework of the study was framed through Allport's (1954) contact hypothesis. The research was organised around four central research questions which focus on the role of optimal contact conditions within the programme, how these conditions are experienced by the participants in practice, how the participants understand the role of relevant mediators of contact and prejudice. This qualitative study consisted of six school case studies and involved senior managers, officers, community relations teachers and school pupils. Research methods used were semi structured interviews, focus group discussions and essay writing activities and thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data. The findings highlighted variations in relation to commitment from authority and illustrated that, when set within a competitive educational framework, school leaders experienced competing motivations which threatened the sustainability of such programmes. Furthermore, a limitation of the programme was considered, whereby the creation of a 'ripple effect', beyond the immediate participants to the wider school community and external agencies, was inhibited. The findings illustrated the importance of meaningful, sustained contact in order that cross-community pupil friendships can become established and the role of social media in young people's communications. The study indicated that this school based community relations programme reduced prejudice but that school ethos, home influence and the local community environment all impact on the potential for long term attitudinal change. This thesis contributes to the body of knowledge on inter-group relations by exploring the role of Allport's four conditions and three mediators. Applying the findings to educational policy and practice provides insights into how schools community relations programmes may be experienced by stakeholders and aspects of practice that may hinder or promote effective implementation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available