Marginalized youth, delinquency, and education: The need for critical-interpretive research

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There is a lack of critical, interpretive research on marginalized youths' schooling experiences. There is a significant need for research that furthers theoretical and empirical understanding of how these youths experience school. I posit that a specific type of critical, interpretive research is required in order to understand and improve the educational experiences of marginalized youths. This paper argues that the vast majority of current delinquency and education research, while providing important and useful information, is limited by its adherence to the positivist paradigm and quantitative methods. I suggest that researchers must critically investigate schooling objectives and processes to explore how the educational system may be implicated in reproducing marginalized youths' academic failure and delinquency. Such critical research would investigate how the substantive content and processes of schools correspond with students' everyday lives and values. Such an approach will enable us to learn how to make "better" schools that serve marginalized youths and create more effective learning environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-312
Number of pages20
JournalUrban Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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