Friendship and Identity in School
This project aims to study the mechanisms underlying the formation of and changes in 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, which is now available at ZIS (gesis). In a second step, we used this measurement in a panel-survey comprising more than 2,000 students of the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades from schools in North Rhine-Westphalia. In terms of data collection, our study has two special features. First, at the school level, we interview all students in each of the three grades. Hence, we consider the students’ networks not only at the classroom but also at the grade level. Second, so far the students were interviewed at three time points, namely in April/May 2013, in January/February 2014, and in October/November 2014. We intend to extend the study to include further time points. The collected network panel data will help us to investigate the causal interplay between social networks and ethnic identifications. Specifically, we apply stochastic, agent-based models for the co-evolution of networks and behaviour that have so far been rarely used in migration research.
Field work for the second wave ended in February 2014. Based on these data, we submitted a research paper for publication; we currently conduct additional analyses. We made our measurement of ethnic identity available to the scientific community via ZIS (GESIS). A related article will be published next year. Field work for the third wave is about to be completed. The project ends in July 2015, before which we will clean the data and prepare a final report. We have applied for further funding at the German Research Foundation; we intend to collect three more waves of data.