Planning, Reading, and More Planning…

The best parts of summer research are the parts that can be done outside in the sun – and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing! For the first few weeks, starting at the end of the school year, I’ve been spending my time getting into the substantial amount of literature on family-school relationships. It’s a little overwhelming how many great articles, books, and scholars have worked in this field of family-school relationships and socioeconomic status. But considering how important both of these things are to education, I’m not surprised!

I started my research with a closer look at a book I had read for fun last year: Paul Gorski’s Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty. Gorski is one of the preeminent researchers in the field of SES and education (and I was lucky enough to meet him last November). The book offers a necessary primer for teachers on how SES (specifically low SES) affects students and educational equity. The book gave me a lot of economic background information, as well as a look at why low SES families struggle in education given the current set-up of the school system. Plus, the book’s list of references became a great resource for me in finding other articles to work with.

The other part of my research that I’ve done so far has been planning the rest of my research process. I have an extremely detailed, step-by-step to-do list that will keep me on track for the long process ahead. I’ve also been doing a lot of preparation for my upcoming interviews. I’ve been using my background research to start thinking about what I want to know from my participants and what kinds of questions to ask.

I should be conducting my two interviews in the next week or two, and I’m extremely excited to do it. With all this theory and research, it’s easy to lose focus on the students and families themselves, which is the most important part of the research I’m doing. I’m excited to put faces to the theories – and I’ll let you all know how it goes!