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A study of a student leader and popularity in an Oregon high school

26 August 1992


This is an ethnographic study of popularity in an American high school. The researcher studied a popular student who was the student body president of an Oregon high school by using the research techniques of observation and description. This ethnography was based on a half year of fieldwork conducted in the school setting. The researcher participated in each class attended by the student body president every Friday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The research for this ethnography includes interviews with the school principal, teachers, and students. The researcher tape-recorded and took field notes during the interviews. The results of this research show that school activities play an important role in the popularity of the American student. The activities can be things like student government, drama, sports, music, and so on, but athletics is the most important criteria for popularity in American high schools. Further, self-confidence is one such factor that affects popularity. ' Family support, teachers, and activities all help students to define themselves and know they are people of worth. The finding of this research project may be of future use to those concerned about helping students face peer pressure and improving self-esteem.


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