Advantages and Disadvantages of official statictics


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  • Practical Issues - Cheap, not time consuming, allow to make comparisons between different  social groups, collected at regular and frequent intervals so show changes
  • Representativeness - covers virtually everyone
  • Reliable - government imposes standards on how they should be collected makes them reliable


  • Practical issues - Stats gathered for different purposes and deffinitions of key concepts may have changed over time
  • Validity - socially contstructed so may be some manipulation


Favoured by positivists as they achieve main goals of reliability, generalisability and representativeness. Interpretivists reject official statistics as they fail to achieve the main goal of validity and are believed to be social constructs not social facts.


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