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Title: A configurational analysis of parental involvement in primary school mathematics
Author: Thomson, Stephanie Louisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 8671
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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I use the method Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to analyse data from the British Birth Cohort Study of 1970 which follows a cohort of children born in a particular week in 1970. QCA allows for case-based analysis on large datasets. The solutions from a QCA analysis can be thought of as causal pathways to a specified outcome showing that causal factors do not necessarily operate in a homogeneous way across all cases – a key assumption of regression-type analyses. Initially, I conduct some QCA analyses on the BCS and explain, in detail, the various stages of the process. Included in this explanation is a detailed, methodological discussion about some of the difficulties. Particularly, I discuss how to proceed when faced with limited diversity in the data – a not-uncommon problem in social data which is often overlooked. One of the intermediary steps in a QCA analysis is the creation of a truth table which has a row for each possible combination of causal factors and details the number of cases in each row and how many of these achieve the outcome. Each of these rows can be thought of as a type – a particular configuration of factors. A large dataset such as the BCS will suffer from a lack of detail in some areas and, it is for this reason, that I also conducted interviews. Those interviewed were selected to represent some of the types I wanted to explore in more detail. I investigated what different strategies were employed by parents who would come under the same type(s) in the QCA analyses. Specifically, I examined in what way these differing strategies were linked to possession of differing amounts and types of cultural and social capital, as conceptualised by Bourdieu, in the parents. I suggested in this section that the composition of capital must be explored as well as the individual levels of particular types of capital as this helps us understand how parents transfer (or fail to transfer) their capital to their children. The combination of QCA and interview analysis allowed me to take a case-focused, configurational approach to the investigation of parental involvement in mathematics education. An approach such as this sees the parents (and their children) as products of a collection of circumstances which may combine to produce particular disadvantage or foster an unpredictable approach to overcoming disadvantage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available