This paper discusses the strengths of using ethnographic research methods in cross-national comparative research. It focuses particularly on the potential of applying such methods to the study of migrants and minority ethnic youth in education, where large-scale quantitative studies or single-sited ethnographies are currently dominant. By linking findings and methodological reflections from a research study into the schooling experiences and life projects of migrants and minority ethnic youth in England and Spain, the paper shows how cross-national comparative ethnographies enable researchers to (1) contextualise and compare topics identified by research participants in the course of the fieldwork, (2) analyse topics, which only appear in one research setting and (3) explore and challenge how concepts and categories are employed by research participants in different settings. This, it is argued, makes such research methods particularly well placed to identify issues, which young people themselves find important to their schooling, and explore how these interlink with local practice.
- comparative ethnography
- migrant and minority ethnic youth
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Cultural Studies