Research Methods- LT5 Official Statistics

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What are the two types of statistics?
-Official statistics, -Non-official statistics,
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What is the defintion of official statistics?
Quantitative data gathered by the government or other bodies e.g. births, deaths,
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What is the definition of non-official statistics?
Statistics published by non-government organisations e.g. Trade Unions,
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What are the two ways of collecting official statistics?
Registration, -Official surveys,
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Give an example of registration?
Parents have to register births by law,
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Give an example of official surveys?
The Census and the General Household Survey,
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Who provides advantages of official statistics?
Positivists,
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What is a theoretical advantage of official statistics based on quantitative data?
Official statistics are based on the masses of quantitative data. This allows sociologists to test hypotheses and estbalish cause and effect relationships,
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What is another theoretical advantage based on predictions?
Detailed analysis of statistics makes it possible to make predictions of future events,
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Give an example with Durkheim?
Durkheim was able to make predictions that too much social control may lead to suicide,
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Give another theoretical advantage based on based on standardised categories?
Due to their standardised categories and collection techniques, data is easily replicated,
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What is the effect on the findings?
Reliability increases,
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What is another theoretical advantage based on the size of data sets and the efffect on the findings?
-Based on large data sets, -Therefore provide reliable, representative and generalisable information,
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Give another theoretical advantage based on comparisons?
It is possible to use OS to make comparisons between variables and map out trends over periods of time,
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Give an example with crime rates?
It is easy to compare crime rates between social class, gender and ethnicity,
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What is a practical advantage based on objectivity?
The collection os statistics is not influenced by the researcher, reducing bias,
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What is another practical advantage based on time and cost?
Statistics are readily available and cheap and quick to use,
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Give an example with statistics from primary and secondary shcools?
The government collects and publishes a range of statistics on over 40,000 primary schools and 4,000 secondary schools each year, otherwise it would be costyl and time consuming,
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What is another practical advantage based on shaping policies?
Statistics are useful to help shape social policy decision making,
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Give an example with statistics on birth and education?
Statistics on births allow governments to plan the number of primary shcool paces for the future,
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What is an ethical advantage?
OS are a public domain and therefore require no consent to be used and they preserve anonymity as no individuals are identified personally,
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Who criticses OS?
Interpretivists,
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What is a crticism based on social constructions and why?
Interpretivists see OS as social constructions as they are the product of decision making by various people and not necessarily the truth,
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What is the effect on the findings?
The validty has to be questioned,
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Give an example with racism and education?
Education statistics underestimate amoutn of racial incidents as they may manipulate them,
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What method do they prefer and give an example?
-Qualitative, -Observation, interviews,
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What is another theoretical criticism based on bias?
Statistics can easily be biased at the time they were recorded, lowering validity,
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Give an example with education statistics and exams?
Education statistics fail to include students who have no been entered for exams,
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What do Marxists claim about statistics?
They claim the government manipulates statistics so they can portray themselves in a better light,
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What is another theoretical critcism based on a lack of insight?
Studies lack insight into the meanigns, feelings and motivations of the people studied,
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Give an example with Durkheim and suicide?
Durkheim's analysis of the relationship between suicide and society completely ignores any individual motivations that people may have,
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What is a practical criticism based on lack of informations?
Because the information hasn't been gathered by the researcher, the statistics might no provide the information recquired,
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What is another practical criticism based on accept concepts?
In using OS, one must accept the way concepts are defined and measured,
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Give an example with truancy?
Governments may measure trauncy in a different way that underestimated the problem as definitions may change over time,
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Give another practical crticism based on verification?
Statistics can't be verified by the researcher and so cannot be double checked,
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Card 2

Front

What is the defintion of official statistics?

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Quantitative data gathered by the government or other bodies e.g. births, deaths,

Card 3

Front

What is the definition of non-official statistics?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What are the two ways of collecting official statistics?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Give an example of registration?

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