essay tips

family trends; essay pointers and tips

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  • Created on: 16-05-11 22:05
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Family Trends Essays
Tips for Top Marks
1. Address ALL the trends in the question; don't select some and not others
e.g. childbearing: decline in births, later births, childlessness, births outside
e.g. childrearing: rise in lone parent families, same sex couples adopting, step
families, beanpole families, kippers
2. For each childbearing trend, you need to give a variety of sociological
explanations: not just given one per trend i.e. women prioritising their careers as
a reason for decline in childbearing but there are several others
e.g. reduced stigma, improved contraception, decline in infant mortality so
parents have less children, child centred society so its more expensive to raise
children so parents have less etc
ChildREARING trends ­An examine question means it wants the
trend and then it wants you to give REASONS for trend i.e. why have
reconstituted families increased, why have lone parent families increased etc.
3. Use of theories in an `examine' essay
Use the theories to EXPLAIN why the trends are happening e.g. don't just
write what New Right think but say how the New Right would explain the
rise in lone parent families
E.g. New Right would blame the welfare state for their rise! However, post
modernists would say they have risen because we have more freedom and
choice in today's society to choose the family type that suits us. Same for
step families, bean pole families etc
4. How do you evaluate in a trends essay?
Evaluation means.....
a. Are the reasons that have been suggested for the trends correct or
b. Can we apply the trend i.e. decline in births, to all ethnic groups,
social classes etc
c. Are the birth rates a useful statistics i.e. births could be going down
because of fertility and people are less fertile rather than people
choosing not to have children/ having children later
d. Can we trust the statistics? They are based on comparisons with THE
PAST and sometimes historical records have gaps
5. How do you conclude in an examination of trends
The reason why we look at trends/ demography is to understand what is
happening to the nuclear family
So, your conclusion should always be `what impact have the above trends had
on the nuclear family structure' and you can argue this using different

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In response to the above childbearing and childrearing trends, the New
Right would argue that the nuclear family is obviously in decline ­ some couples
are choosing not have children and in others, we have a rise of same sex and lone
parent families. However, liberal feminists would state these changes do not
indicate a decline in the nuclear family ­ they are simply indicative of more
freedom from patriarchal oppression for women.…read more


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