Official Statistics

  • Created by: edolling
  • Created on: 17-04-19 21:22
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  • Official Statistics
    • Official Stats provide secondary data. they are secondary as they have been collected by someone else perviously. The government uses it for all manner of topics, and can serve as a useful source of data for social researchers,
      • The census is an official survey conducted every 10 years which covers each household in UK. Although the individual detail is kept confidential for years the data can give useful stats for a range of issues.  Advantage is that it come close to 100% of the target population.
      • They are often divided up into Hard and Soft data. e.g birth and death rates are Hard and crime stats are Soft.
    • Usually freely accessible. Makes a highly practical source of data. They are free and can be accessed and analysed quickly. While government stats are freely available some may cost money, Even so they are likely to be cheaper than generating your own.
    • Advantage involve a larger sample than sociologists could ever achieve. But where has the sample been used, the researcher has no control over how it's done . This gives an issue for secondary data. Overall greatly representative
    • A  disadvantage is that data collectedly somebody else for a different reason and the researcher has no control over the original data collection. Can bring both reliability and validity of the data into the question. It can be manipulated for the governments political advantage
      • Would be seen as being  a reliable source of information. the Office for National Statistics regulates the reliability of official statistics. There are exceptions like police stats where inconsistencies in the collection of the data have led to questions about reliability.
      • While stats might be well reliable they re rejected by Interpretivists as they lack validity because they only give quantitative data they are unable to give a deeper insight. They high reveal a trend or correlation but they offer no explanation for it and give no VERSTEHEN.
    • Not having many ethical problems, the data already exists and are anonymous. But some say while there is few ethical concerns their very existence in some areas may be quesionable.So see the collection of some data to be examples of state surveillance and so some data may be socially damaging.
    • Favoured by Positivist who like quantitative data. But they would prefer to generate their pwn quantitative data so that they had empirically observe their results themselves, the practical and ethical benefits of using then and representativeness make them a good option for Positivists.
      • Interpretivists find them unhelpful as they are quantitative and provide no insight into the reasons for the phenomena or the subjective opinion or interpretationof the research subjects.
      • Marxists dislike as they are collectedly the government in order to serve the interests of the ruling class, rather than in the so-called national interest. So they are a biased sources of data, created for political purposes that should not be trusted.


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