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What are the practical advantages to official statistics?
A free source of quantitative data and only the state has the power to conduct large surveys and compel people to answer them. Allow comparisons between whole groups. Show trends and patterns over time.
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What are the practical disadvantages to official statistics?
The government creates statistics for their own purposes, not sociologists. There may be the ones that sociologists use. The state may also change the definitions they use over time.
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Why do positivists like official statistics?
They provide a representative sample however official surveys aren't as representative because they are a sample anyway. They also regard official statistics as reliable due to the standardised measuring instrument such as a schedule used.
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Why do interpretivists dislike official statistics?
Statistics are social constructs. Invalid, but there are varying levels of validity. Soft statistics - invalid and are recorded due to people's interpretations. Hard statistics - valid e.g. births and deaths, because no dispute of how to label them.
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How do Marxists view official statistics?
They serve the interests of capitalism and the state creates the statistics to help the capitalist class in an ideological state apparatus. Any politically sensitive data isn't published. Definitions also conceal the true reality of capitalism.
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How do feminists view official statistics?
Don’t like them because they use interviews or questionnaires. They are created by the state which maintains patriarchal ideology. However not all statistics reflect patriarchy.
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What kinds of information do documents include and what can sociologists use?
Documents include written texts such as letters, and other texts such as paintings. Sociologists can make use of public documents, personal documents or historical documents.
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What are 3 practical advantages and 2 disadvantages of documents?
They may be the only available source. They are free or cheap. It saves the sociologist time. However it isn't always possible to gain access to them and individuals and organisations create documents for their own purposes, not the sociologists.
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What are some of the theoretical issues of documents?
Interpretivists argue they give a valid picture of actors meanings. However, they may not be authentic, credible or the sociologists may misinterpret them. Positivists argue they're unreliable as they aren't standardised. They aren't representative.
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What is content analysis and what are the 2 types?
A method for dealing with the contents of documents, especially those produced by the mass media. The 2 types are formal content analysis and thematic analysis.
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What is formal content analysis?
Allows us to produce quantitative data from documents. Gill - select a representative sample, decide catergories, study each person and place into groups, then quantify. Attractive to positivists and feminists. Lack of validity and not objective.
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What is thematic analysis?
Qualitative analysis of media texts used by interpretivists and feminists. However, no representitative sample, selective results, and only an interpretation.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What are the practical disadvantages to official statistics?

Back

The government creates statistics for their own purposes, not sociologists. There may be the ones that sociologists use. The state may also change the definitions they use over time.

Card 3

Front

Why do positivists like official statistics?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Why do interpretivists dislike official statistics?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

How do Marxists view official statistics?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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