Willis concentrated on a particular boy’s group in a non-selective secondary school in the Midlands, who called themselves ‘lads’. Willis attended all school classes, options (leisure activities) and career classes.
Participant observation allowed Willis to immerse himself into the social settings of the lads. He asked the lads (typically open) questions about their behaviour, encouraging them to explain. This included detailed accounts of the lads fighting, getting into trouble with teachers, bunking lessons, setting off fire extinguishers for fun and vandalising a coach on a school trip.