Field Research Projects

Residential Segregation in Detroit: Exploring the 8-Mile Divide

Each field research project will be evaluated/graded according to the following 
criteria: 1) data collection (25%), 2) data analysis (25%), 3) use of supplementary 
materials (25%), and 4) presentation of findings (25%).  Your group will be required 
to fill out a grade sheet (one per group)  which explicitly states what you have 
done for each phase of the project.   

This initial phase represents the greatest difficulty in this particular project.  
You will need to gather demographic data on the different areas of the Detroit 
Metropolitan area.  This data is most readily  found using the US Census which 
has broken up differing areas into ‘Census Tracks'.  There are several ways of 
getting the Census data, the easiest however is by using the Internet.  If you have 
difficulty obtaining Internet access in the library, let me know immediately and 
we will make alternative arrangements.  There are several pieces of information 
that you will want to obtain about each Census track.  This information includes: 
1) the average education level, 2) the average income, 3) the average price of housing, 
4) the racial composition, and 5) employment rate.

Your research question is a descriptive one, so the task of your analysis is to 
put together the data you have collected in a way which accurately and concisely 
conveys to members of the class the socio-economic and racial composition of various 
Census Tracks in the greater metropolitan Detroit area.  You may choose to present 
a detailed map to the class, you may want to provide a series of charts, or you may 
think of an alternative way to convey the information.

While collecting and presenting the descriptive data are the bulk of your task, 
you should be able to use the supplementary literature to answer questions about 
the relationship between SES and  housing patterns, or between race and housing 
patterns.  You should push yourself to consider the broader structural issues at hand, 
such as the effects that the observed housing patterns have on race relations. You will 
be able to answer these questions by using some of the outside reading suggested below  
and from our discussions about inequality in class.  I have suggested several readings 
listed below which can be located in the Eschelman library or may be borrowed from my 
personal collection (remember, I know where you live!).  You will be required to cite 
the relevant literature in your presentation.  This means that you should select 1-2 
of the items if you are an individual, or all of the items if you are a group and determine 
the main argument from them.  You will be expected to provide a sociologial explanation 
of why people experience society differently which encorporates the work which currently 
exists in the field.

Some outside reading you may want to look at includes:

Hacker, Andrew J. (1992).  Two Nations: Black and White; Sepaarate, Hostile, Unequal.  New
	York: Ballentine Books.
Jencks, Christopher.  (1995).  The Homeless.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton. (1993).  American apartheid: Segregation and the making of 	the underclass.  Cambridge, Mass:  Harvard University Press, 
Oliver, Melvin and Thomas Shapiro.  (1995).   Black Wealth, White Wealth: A New Perspective on
	Racial Inequality.   New York: Routledge.
Wilson, W. J. (1987).  The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. 
	Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

This project calls for a great deal of creativity in its presentation.  I will be looking 
to see how effectively you are able to the portray degree of residential segregation in our
own area to the members of the class.  I will also be evaluating how you are able to situate 
your presentation within the arguments of the existing literature and field questions from 
the class.