Longitudinal Studies and Case studies & Life histories

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Longitudinal Studies

  • Longitudinal Studies: A survey carried out over a considerable amount of time on the same people to provide a clearer and moving view of the population

1)Selects a sample- Sometimes callled a "panel" or "cohert"-Data collected by repeated surveys at regular intervals over a period of years. Each of these surveys are called "wave" or "sweep"

2)Enables a collection of data on the same group of people,which can be developed and compared from one survey to the next, showing change over time

-The use of Longitudinal Studies: Makes it possible to study change over time,sample remains the same it makes it possible to discover the causes of change, provide valid data; Studies which ask people about past events rely on human memories & people may distort past events, but LS avoid this because of the previous studies

-Problems of Longitudinal Studies: Original size can drop,people die, move away-Reduces the representativenss, Those in the sample are conscious of the fact they are being studied, could change their behaviour: Hawthorne Effect, Problem of cost

-Examples of Longitudinal Studies: Census- Carried out every 10 years, Trace patterns of social chnage, make comparisons. Parker et al- Studied illeagal drug use among 1,125 young people aged 14 outset for 5 years, using self combinations Q & I, The  LSOYP: Launched in 2004, in depth transition of a representative group of young people into adult hood experiances & aspirations

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Case studies & Life histories

  • Case study: Involved the intensive study of a single example of whatever it is the sociologist wishes to investigate. Case study can be carried out using almost any method of research. 
  • Life Histories: Are case studies which usually focus on on individual or one small group. Most commonly obtained through in-depth unstructured interviews and guided conversations, backed up with reference to personal documents

-Advantages: CS & LH do not claim to be representative, A particular study can be used to test the usefulness of theories, Such theories may be useful in generating new hypotheses, Enable researcher to see the world from the POV of the individual, more detail and understanding

-Disadvantages: May not be representative, May not be possible to generalize or draw broader conclutions, May not be reliable or valid- Accuracy to recall facts, generate a reinterpretation of the past

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