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, 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 grade 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, the students were so far 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 for 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 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.