In this chapter, the modern sociology of education is defined as an interdisciplinary field investigating educational processes on different analytical levels as well as the interrelations between educational systems and the social order. Leading questions and research topics for an innovative research programme are discussed. Furthermore, different tasks of sociology of education are described briefly. Finally, key challenges for sociology of education in the future are presented in order to improve the empirical research on education in social contexts.
Edited by Rolf Becker
Klaus Schomann and Rolf Becker
Christoph Zangger and Rolf Becker
We critically examine how experimental designs are used to address causal questions in the sociology of education. Starting with some general thoughts about causality, causal inference and the underlying counterfactual approach, we review different applications of experimental testing in the lab and field as well as survey and natural experiments throughout sociological and economic research on education. In the discussion of these applications, we highlight both the advantages and the limits of experiments in giving causal explanations of social phenomena, stressing the need to integrate the empirical framework within a coherent theoretical background that links cause and effect.