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Exploring Social Capital with Students from an Alternative School: “A Mixed Methods Network Ethnography in an Agricultural Internship




Hogan, Eric

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study involved the exploration of the first year in an agriculture internship with four students from an alternative school. In the first chapter, I provide the reader an overview of my study outlining the research problem, research questions, and a brief introduction of Op Grows; the agriculture program that hired the interns. Chapter two outlines a conceptual framework of pragmatic social justice to show how I believed the Op Grows staff attempted to engage with the interns. In chapter three, a literature review is presented to further show what research has been done beforehand and where this study fits. Certain things are presented such as how individuals attempt to define and measure social capital, adolescent social capital, and agriculture projects. In chapter four, a detailed explanation of the methods is presented, outlining study boundaries, a description of each intern, and data collection and analysis procedures, specifically discussing the use of a convergent parallel mixed methods design (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). In chapter five, I build on Van Maanen’s (2011) notion of a confessional tale. In this chapter, I document how I did not live up to a pragmatic social justice framework by confronting my own privilege while working with the interns. In chapter six, data from the ethnography and networks are portrayed and discussed to indicate how the interns navigated their social resources related to academics, employment, and citizenship. The ethnographic portion of this chapter is told through Van Maanen’s (2011) notion of realist tale. In the final chapter, I write on things that have been presented in the previous chapters as well as review my findings. Then, I discuss the significance of the study, limitations, and future directions from this research.