Disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the United States represents a critical social challenge to promoting the ideals and values of social justice. The ecological nature of DMC, a phenomenon emerging from the intersection of micro- and macro-level factors, necessitates the application of systems theories in understanding the issue and designing solutions to address it. This article illustrates the application of socio-ecological systems theory in thematic analysis, drawing associations across multiple systems between contributing factors to DMC in the juvenile justice system in North Carolina, USA. Analysis examined data from 6 focus groups comprised of 55 statewide stakeholders involved in the juvenile justice continuum. Application of socio-ecological systems theory in thematic analysis revealed structural and individual conditions associated with DMC, to include institutional racism demonstrated by biases present in stakeholders across schools and the juvenile justice system. The article presents ways in which micro to macro factors influence social challenges. Findings present an analytic strategy for constructing a practical model in qualitative research of contributing mechanisms to DMC and addressing issues of social justice in the United States.
Socio-Ecological Theory, Focus Groups, Qualitative Inquiry, Disproportionate Minority Contact, Social Justice, Thematic Analysis
The authors thank the original research team of faculty and students at Winston-Salem State University. A special thank you goes to members of the project team: Drs. Pedro Hernandez and Richard Moye, Alvin Atkinson, Jamie Mendenhall, Regina Autry, and Loring Greaeux. This project would not have been successful without funding from the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission.
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Recommended APA Citation
Henderson, D. X., & Baffour, T. (2015). Applying a Socio-Ecological Framework to Thematic Analysis Using a Statewide Assessment of Disproportionate Minority Contact in the United States. The Qualitative Report, 20(12), 1960-1973. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2015.2405