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Citation:Barton, A. C., Drake, C., Perez, J. G., St. Louis, K., & George, M. (2004). Ecologies of parental engagement in urban education. Educational Researcher, 33(4), 3-12.

This study offers a new way to conceptualize parental involvement as an interactive process that draws upon multiple experiences and resources. The researchers present a data-driven model for conceptualizing parental involvement: the Ecologies of Parental Engagement (EPE) framework. Drawing from case study data the results indicated three important conjectures that come to light when parental involvement is examined through the concepts of space and capital: parental engagement is the mediation between space and capital; this mediation is an action as well as an orientation to action; and the differences in parental engagement across the different spaces within schools are micro and macro phenomena. These three conjectures were each illustrated through a case that was representative of the entire data set. This study presents a data-derived framework for understanding and studying parental involvement that focuses on how and why parents become involved rather than focusing on the "what," i.e. the activities in which parents participate. These data were collected from urban populations, and future research should be conducted in order to examine any differences (among other populations) in the EPE framework of conceptualizing parental involvement with a larger sample to ensure generalizability. Moreover, future research, including randomized controlled trials, should explore the effectiveness of strategies associated with the ecologies of parent engagement.

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