Just Sociology

Exploring Research Methods and Complexities of Family Sociology

Research methods and issues related to families and households have been central to sociological inquiry for decades. Understanding these topics is important because they provide invaluable insights and data that inform social phenomena, policies, and structures.

However, these areas of study come with a set of challenges that require careful consideration of ethical, practical, and theoretical issues. This article discusses some of the complexities related to research methods, focusing on issues around the use of questionnaires with closed questions, and the disadvantages of using qualitative methods.

Additionally, this article covers various topics related to families and households, including primary socialization, negative childhood experiences, reasons for the decline in death rates, impact of increased choice on family patterns, and the role of government policies and laws on the family.

Research Methods

Problems of using questionnaires with closed questions

The use of questionnaires with closed questions has become widespread in sociological research. They are considered to be a quick and convenient way of collecting large amounts of data, as well as being cost-effective.

However, they come with a set of limitations that make them problematic for certain types of research, such as when trying to gather in-depth data about a topic. One of the primary problems with using questionnaires with closed questions is the imposition problem.

This refers to the idea that by asking people specific questions, researchers are imposing a set of pre-existing categories onto the respondent. It may be that respondents do not feel represented by the categories provided, or they might not be able to express their ideas fully.

This leads to a lack of nuance in the data collected, and it may even cause researchers to overlook important information. Another significant issue is the ethical considerations of closed questionnaires.

Some questions may be invasive or trigger personal responses that become uncomfortable for respondents to answer. For instance, questions about sexuality or mental health can be sensitive topics, leading to ethical considerations on the researchers part.

If the respondents confidentiality is not preserved or if the research causes harm, it can result in legal trouble for the researcher.

Disadvantages of using qualitative methods

Another widely used research method in sociology is the use of qualitative methods, which typically produce descriptive data that capture the complexity of social reality. Although qualitative methods are often praised for their flexibility, there are some disadvantages when compared with quantitative methods.

The first disadvantage is the lack of reliability. Because qualitative research is often interpretive, it relies heavily on the researchers interpretation of the data collected.

This means that two researchers could collect data from the same source and interpret it differently, leading to inconsistency in the data collected. Further, this lack of consistency means researchers cannot reproduce the research later in time, and the results are considered constantly changing.

The second disadvantage is a lack of representativeness. Unlike quantitative methods that rely on random sampling to help generalize the data set, qualitative research typically samples specific groups or individuals.

It may lead to a lack of comprehensive data and representativeness of the sample. Lastly, qualitative research requires a great deal of time to analyze results, leading to practical problems with data collection and analysis that make it less efficient than quantitative methods.

Families and Households

Primary Socialisation

Primary socialisation is the process of socialization that begins in childhood and is primarily done by the family. This process plays a crucial role in shaping and setting the foundation for an individuals worldview, values, and beliefs.

During this process, children learn the norms, values, and customs of their society, including language acquisition.

Negative experiences of childhood in the UK

In contemporary UK society, some children experience toxic childhood characterised by inappropriate exposure to adult themes, a culture of fear and mistrust, changes in the family model, and reduced opportunities for exploration and play. Besides, research has found that many girls face more controlling parenting, limited opportunities, and earlier socialisation into gender roles.

Worse still, a large proportion of children grow up in poverty or facing different forms of abuse, which could shape their outlook and shape future life chances.

Reasons for the decline in death rates in the UK since 1900

Death rates in the UK since 1900 have declined significantly, and there are diverse reasons behind this decline. One of the critical factors is the growth of the economy, which allowed for better living conditions and nutrition, overall leading to more human development.

Second, medical advances have transformed treatment approaches and cure rates, playing a vital role in reducing deaths. Lastly, social policies and improvements in sanitation and working conditions directly affected mortality rates.

Impact of increased choice on family patterns

The increased level of choice in contemporary society has had drastic impacts on family & household patterns. One of the most obvious changes is the way individuals make intimate personal decisions, like when and whom to marry or have children.

There is more decision-making autonomy than before, leading to less uniformity in family patterns; young people leaving home when to marry and when to start a family are all no longer straightforward decisions. There has also been an increase in the variety of living arrangements, including living individual lives without a partner.

Government policies and laws on the role of the family

Different perspectives underpin government policies and law-making around the role and value of the family in contemporary society. From a functionalist perspective, the family plays critical roles in socialisation, care work provision, and moral guidance.

The New Right perspective argues that policies should improve family values, strengthen the traditional family form, promote marriage and self-help. Welfare policies are hotly debated.

Still, they typically aim to provide financial assistance to families and individuals who can’t support themselves, while the Divorce Act is part of a more liberal approach towards family relationships. Postmodernism, feminism, and civil partnerships all challenge perspectives on the family, recognising diverse family forms, relationships, and values.

Conclusion

In conclusion, studying the sociology of family and households coupled with research methods allows us to better understand and appreciate the complexity of modern-day societies. It remains important to appreciate the ethical, practical, and theoretical restrictions that come along with research methods, especially concerning questionnaire design and qualitative research.

The sociological focus on family and households trends like primary socialization or analysis of the impact of the increased level of choice and influence of government policies and laws on the institution remain at the forefront of sociological inquiry. In conclusion, this article has highlighted the challenges and complexities of research methods concerning questionnaire design and the limitations of qualitative research.

We have also explored various aspects of family and households, including primary socialization, toxic childhood, government policies, and laws. These topics are all essential in understanding the complexities of modern-day societies and the importance of sociological inquiry in shaping policy and social structures.

FAQs:

1. What is primary socialization?

Primary socialization refers to the process of socialization that begins in childhood and is primarily done by the family. 2.

What is toxic childhood?

Toxic childhood is characterised by inappropriate exposure to adult themes, a culture of fear and mistrust, changes in the family model, and reduced opportunities for exploration and play.

3. What are the reasons for the decline in death rates in the UK since 1900?

The growth of the economy, medical advances and improvement in social policies, sanitation and working conditions have contributed to the decline in death rates in the UK since the 1900s. 4.

What is the impact of increased choice on family patterns? Increased choice has led to a reduction in uniformity in family patterns, including individuals choosing when to leave home, when to marry or whether to have children, and an increase in varieties of living arrangements.

5. What is the functionalist perspective on the role of the family?

The functionalist perspective argues that the family plays critical roles in socialisation, care work provision, and moral guidance.

Popular Posts