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Official Statistics Secondary Methods 1
P Practical Issues E Ethical Issues T Theoretical Issues
Time And Money Informed Consent Theoretical Perspectives
Skills and characteristics of the researcher Physical and Psychological harm Validity
Subject Matter Reliability
Confidentiality and Privacy
Research Opportunity Representativeness
Who likes stats?
+ Confidentiality: When researchers obtain the information they POSITIVISTS
need, for example from certain businesses or information They take it for granted that official statistics are reliable, objective social
Practical Advantages facts. As such, they are a very important resource in the scientific study of
from the police, they have to ensure that certain people
involved aren't shown in the real thing society
They are a free source of huge amounts of quantitative date People could criticize the methods used, and they could be Major source of representative, quantitative date that allows the sociologist
As only the state has power of the documents, and they organize a census deemed inappropriate as a `quick fix' way of finding to identify and measure behaviour patterns, test hypotheses and develop
form which has to be completed, reduces the problem of non-response information causal laws to explain the patterns (compared to SURVEYS)
Allow us to make comparisons between groups and to do it easily Researchers also have to be careful with the risk of harming Believing they are representative, means that the findings can be generalized
Because they are collected at regular intervals, they show trends and some people, as research could be bringing back past to the wider population and used to test hypothesis
patterns over time; this produces a `before and after' which can identify experiences Large scale for what budget they have
correlations Believe they are reliable: if repeated it would bring the same results believe
because of the staff involved
Who dislikes and why
Reject the use of quantitative survey methods such as structured interviews
and questionnaires because they regard this as a `masculine' or patriarchal
model of research.
As official stats are created by the state, they regard this as maintaining
patriarchal oppression A FORM OF PATRIACHAL IDEOLOGY.
Believe official stats underestimate women's economic contribution and they
reflect the patriarchal nature of the state.
Give a distorted picture of gender and social class.
See official statistics as serving the interests of capitalism.
See capitalist society as composed of two social classes in conflict with each
other; the capitalist ruling class and the working class.
Marxists see official stats as performing IDEOLOGICAL FUCNTIONS in
several ways, for example, politically sensitive data that would reveal the
unequal, exploitative nature of capitalism may not be published
The definitions used in creating official stats also conceal the true reality of
capitalism. For example, the state has frequently changed its definition of
unemployment, and this has reduced the numbers officially defined as
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The government creates statistics for its own purposes, not for
sociologists so it could be difficult to find what we what to find out
(nothing on the topic we need)
Could be mismatches between sets of statistics, which makes it difficult to
establish the degree of correlation
The definitions the state uses to collect data may be different than those
of what sociologists use, this could then lead to different views on how
large the problem is
The state may change the definitions it uses…read more