Social networks, social capital, information and communications technology, and achievement among African American middle school male students
Zaria F. O'Bryant, Walden University, United States
Walden University . Awarded
African American male students are at the low end of an academic achievement gap when compared to their African American female and Caucasian peers. Perceptions of the influence of social capital within social networks on the high academic achievement of African American male students have not been researched qualitatively to inform closing the achievement gap. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the influence of information and communications technologies (ICT) on the development and maintenance of social capital associated with high academic achievement. The perceptions of high achieving African American male middle school students on the influence of social capital within social networks on academic achievement were also examined. Any perceived influence of ICT on the development, maintenance, and activation of social capital within social networks was highlighted. Data were collected from 7 participants using in-depth interviews, sociograms, and personal narratives. Key statements were generated and analyzed using thematic and category coding. Regarding the influence of social capital on academic achievement, love, interdependence, and optimism emerged as common themes within the family and were supported by non-kin affiliations in faith-based and recreational groups. ICT were tools of empowerment to access the social capital already created in face-to-face social networks. This study contributes to positive social change by informing research, policy, and practice aimed at improving academic outcomes for underachieving African American male middle school students. Armed with such information, families, schools, and communities may be better able to provide the opportunities and support necessary for all children to be successful.
O'Bryant, Z.F. Social networks, social capital, information and communications technology, and achievement among African American middle school male students. Ph.D. thesis, Walden University.
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