Friendship and Identity in School
The project aims to study the mechanisms underlying the formation and change of adolescents’ social networks and their ethnic identifications. As a first step, based on previous research we developed and tested a measurement of ethnic identification for students aged 11–16. We now use this measurement in a panel-survey comprising 2000 students of the 5th, 6th, and 7th grade from schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. In terms of data collection our study has two special features. First, at the school level all students in each of the three grades are interviewed. Hence, we consider the students’ networks not only at the class but also at the grade level. Second, the students will be interviewed at three time points, namely in April/May 2013, in November 2013, and in April/May 2014. With the collected network panel data it will be possible to investigate the causal interplay between social networks and ethnic identifications. Specifically, we will apply recently developed stochastic, agent-based models for the co-evolution of networks and behavior that have so far been rarely used in migration research.
Field work for the first wave ended in May 2013. Data for almost 1,700 cases are almost cleaned. First preliminary analyses have been conducted. In particular, the data suggest that our proposed measure of ethnic identity is adequate. We currently prepare for the second wave, which is scheduled for January and February 2014. The final third wave is planned for November 2014.