Thursday, 14 May 2009

Operationalising concepts.

--Translating concepts into the form which can be measured.
It is needed when producing questions but sometime it's difficult to get the right translated definitions of questions and get to an agreement among researchers. e.g. unemployment,poverty

Example 1:
Hypothesis: Higher rates of literacy make democracy more likely.
Defining Concepts: Literacy is defined as the completion of six or more years of formal education." Democracy is defined as a system of government in which public officials are selected in competitive elections.
Operational Definitions: Literacy is the percentage of people in a country that have completed six or more years of formal education.Democracy is a country where the secondplace finisher for the chief executive office has received at least 25% of the vote in an electionheld in the last eight years.

Example 2:
Hypothesis: Highly educated people tend to be liberal.
Defining Concepts: Highly educated is defined as at least some college education.Liberalis defined as believing the government should help those who are less well .
Operational Definitions: Highly educated is having completed at least two years at a college or university." Liberal is answers `yes' to the question `Should the government provide low income housing for citizens?"'

Blog Homework!!- Research methods 1.

1.“The popularity of questionnaires is undoubtedly due to to the considerable range of advantages they offer to researchers” – Discuss
- Questionnaire is a form of questions produced by researchers to ask for respondents' opinions,in which responses can be provided though alternatives or respondents can answer in their own words. Undoubtedly,questionnaire is a common and popular way to collect data and informations as what we can see always from schools or those assignned by people in the streets.
Considering the usefulness of questionnaire as a whole,they tend to be desighed as quantitative data which is easier to see the preference of respondents and to compare and code the answes into different categories. Compared to other research method like experiments or observations,it takes less time cost less money of the researchers.

However,whether the questionnaires are good or not should depend on different types of questionnaires and distinct types of questions they use. There are two types of questions used in questionnaires,they are,closed questions and open questions. Closed questions are more likely to be seen that the range of responses is fixed by researchers and respondents have to choose from the alternatives(tend to be quantitative data). This type is less time-consuming,cost less money and easier to discover correlation between variables and to be coded. But it can't provide more details and depth to explain the respondents' behaviour or ideas. In contrast,open questions (quanlitative data) allow respondents to answer questions in their own words which provides more scope and detailed pictures. But it is not preferred by respondents for that it's complicated to answer and takes longer time to think about. Therefore,sometimes the data may not be valid as respondents may aim to finish them quickly without thinking carefully.

Besides,self-complete questionnaires and structured interviews questionnaires have different advantages and disadvantages.Self-complete questionnaires can be postal questionnaires that they are more efficient by sending questionnaires to a large number of people in the same time and cost less money. Furthermore,they can explore some questions of embarrasing areas because the respondents will not meet with the researchers. But on the other hand,the respondense rate is relatively low and sometimes the respondents may not understand the questions because of low literacy. Also,the answers can be fake,invalid. Opposite to that,questionnaires of structured interviews have high respondense rate and respondents can fully understand the questions with the help of interviewers but it costs more money,more time and the anwers may include bias.

What's more? There is a difficult problem involved -operationalising concepts. This part is significant for designing questions and sometimes researchers find difficult to reach an agreement of the form of measurement to replace the concepts. The inaccuracy operationalising questions may affect the validity of answers. But the pilot study can be used to identify some proplems of the questionnaires.

Overall,questionnaires contain a considerable range of advantages like less time-consuming,less cost,easier to get a conclusion but also involve some problems which researchers should consider with caution. Besides,the benefits depend on which type of questionnaires is used.


Monday, 4 May 2009

Sociology mock before about family&Comment.

Family and Households Questions.
a) Explain what is meant by the expressive role?

It's defined by Parsons about the role of women inside family including emotional support, childcare and housework which are aimed to create comfort for family members.

Comment:All people can get the key word--woman,childcare,housework,emotional support or home comfort. The official answer from internet is expressive role=woman=inside family(tension management and child socialisation)

b) Suggest two ways in which 'family life may have a harmful effect on women'
1.In terms of Ansley,men tend to take out stress from working place by exploiting women like domestic violence which can lead to mental and physical illness of women.
2.Tranditionally,women have to do stay at home,doing housework and childcare which can create dependence of women on men and restrict their freedom outside family.

Comment: answers by others: less power on decision-making and money management, unpaid domestic housework.( but they'd better explain why it's bad for it takes woman's time to do housework and it's very tiring but they don't get paid.)

c) Suggests three reasons for the decrease in the death rate since the 1900 improvement in medicine treatment.
2.welfare policy:government concentrate more on low-income family and lone-parent family that they provide supports and service for them to reduce poverty and solve health problems.
e.g Means Testing,New Deal Programme
3.a decrease in manual,heavy jobs

Comment: all answers are right but some of them are not so related as sociological answer like an increase in income,end of wars and an increase in education. they can explain them in sociological ways or expand answers.

d) Examine the ways in which childhood can be said to be socially constructed.

Something that is socially constructed means it is constructed by social meanings and definitions of the society.
In the pre-industrial society,children were not so different from adults that they shared work together as home production. It is just as Philip Aries describes in 1962,the concept of childhood didn't exist in medieval until the 16th century when the upper class family sent their children to schools to get education and children began to be separated with adults. Afterwards,the boundary between adults and children is more clear that in the 19th century,there were some laws that "employment of children is banned and education is compulsory" which shows the separation of children from the adult settings and the different legal status. Besides,the change from extended to nuclear family makes parents more time to concentrate on primary socialisation of children and care for their needs with the increasing housewives. Then,as the society's value and actions of children change,the childhood also changes. It is followed by 1989 that the Children Act firstly outlined children's rights and aimed to protect them. Besides,the 1993 Child Support Agency forces the absent parents to pay and finance for bringing up the children. Also,as children's poverty and infant mortality problems are serious in some deprived areas,govenrment establish some programmes like Sure Start to increase children's quality. What's more,there are lots of special rights of children like price reduction on transport and limited access to alcohol. When we have a look at society of other culture and ethnicity,we will see different kind of situations dueing to the different social construct. If In 1963 Firth found evidende of cross-culture childhood that some culture allowed children to go to the sea if they thought they already are fully prepared . Furthermore,dual-heritage and black children are more likely to end up cares by Statham&O'wens in 2007.
However,childhood is not socially constructed all the time. It is said by Nick Lee that the adulthood becomes unstable and therefore reduces the control on the children. Although it is argued by Neil Postman(1994) that the media is breaking down the boundaries between adults and children which may lead to the disappearance of childhood,correct education and displine by parents and teachers can guide the children and protect their world innocent. There are some initiatives done by government to restrict some over-violent programmes to children like watershed time that those special programmes can't be seen before 9 o'clock.

e) Use material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess the view that the raise uclear family is no longer the norm.
2B item -A popular image of the family has been the 'cereal packet' nuclear family norm of a married couple and two children who are the couple's biological offspring. The husband is the main breadwinner and the wife is primarily concerned with housework and childcare.It could be argued that this nuclear family is no longer the norm. A number of changes have taken place, such as the rise in the number of same-sex couples and of lone parents. these have resulted in families becoming much more diverse.However Somerville (2000) argues that these changes are exaggerated. The apparent diversity of family life is based on a snapshot at any one time and, if a life cycle approach is taken, many people have a fairly conventional experience of the family.

Tranditionally,nuclear family,which is consist of a married couple and two children who are the couple's biological offspring, is considered as universal which fits every family well by Murdock and also supported by the New Right as the Bedrock of Society. However,from the item 2B,we can see there is a rise in the number of lesbian,gay family and lone parents which is against the nuclear family. Furthermore,Susan MacRae made an introduction in 1999 that Britain today is a more complex society than before, with great family diversity: one-person family,cohabitation,lone-parent family and same-sex couples.

In fact,we can see it as a result of changes in society of social construction,social value and social policy. Firstly,since the society converted to industrial society, the labour market is expanded and the types of jobs have changed with an increase number of service jobs which requires more women to work. Therefore,women were changing their attitudes and increasingly aimed for occupations which is found by Francis&Skelton. With the increasing independence and confidence suggested by Sharpe,they have the ability to divorce or bring up children by themselves which will lead to lone-parent family or singlehood. Besides,as Allan and Crow says,the improving technology in health care as 1967 contraception makes couples possible to cohabit without the fears of having babies which may encourages the number of cohabitation. Nextly,divorce becomes more socially acceptable indicated by Cockett&Tripp in 1994 and is likely to cause reconstituted family as a solution of lone-parent family . Some people argued that a decilne in nuclear family meaned a breakdown of tranditional values on marriage and love. But in fact this diversity is supported by Postmodernist Stacey that no dominant family can meet each people's demand very well. What's more,the changes of social policy also affect the family structure very much. For example,government provides lots of welfare benefits to single mothers which encourages women to divorce. Besides,the simplified procedure of divorce made it easier and quicker to separate from the partners such as the Divorce Reform Act. Lastly,both the Act of Parliament in 2002 which made it legal for same-sex couples to adopt children and the Civil Partnership Act in UK in 2005 which gave identical rights to same-sex couples to marry increase the number of same-sex family.

However,although there is an increasing trend in family diversity,the changes may have been exaggerated suggested by Somevill in the item B and some functionalists like Chester. He claims in1985 that even though the increase in family types is obvious,the nuclear family remains the dominant family structure which can be seen from social trend statistics:78%children living in nuclear family and that the nuclear family is becoming more symmetrical (Willmott&Young) which fits the society better than before. Besides,the ageing population may distort the facts that family types were numerous at their period. Also,one third of cohabitated couples will choose to marry after a period of cohabitation according to social trend statistics. Even though government claim to support all types of family,Conservative party still prefer married couples with children that David Willett said it was overwhelming that children are better brought up in married two-parent family in 2002. Nowadays,more policies are supporting nuclear family like ending couple penalty or providing home health visitng service to family with a new born baby by Conservative Reform Act.

In additional,society of different class,ethnicity and culture will have distinct situation. For example,polygyny is still common in Pakistan while Polyandry exists in Nepal. As Bonnerjea&Eversley found in 1982,middle class is more likely to be nuclear family while working class has high percentage of lone-parent family. A more recent study by Berthoud&Beishon in 1999 shows that Asian tend to marry early with less divorce which is opposite as Afro-Carribean families.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

HHappy BBirthdaY!!~

My first post on May is for Chris and SiYi!!!!!
Although you are getting older and older(60?!I can't believe it!!),you are really full of power and dynamic which always pushes us to do lots of things even though we are sometimes unwilling....(haha~!). But in my opinion,since you may need more more time to care your health in case of some illness of old should have more rest at home without so much work. Un...despite and .....homework,i want to appreciate for your time and effort devoted to us and always giving us some valuable advice about schools and studies sincerely!!!!! I believe we will all work very hard until finishing exams and get satisfactory results!!!!!!! Happy Birthday,Mr Chris!!!!>_<
Next,to my dear SiYi!!! Although you always make fun of me and did some bad things to me the other day on the road home,you are still a really good friend who brings me lots of laughters and happiness!!!! As you are older(I know i'm older than you...),wish you get slimmer, mature like a lovely girl,hehe.

It's one month and four more days before i can go back to China. It's almost one month before my C2 exam,my Economic and Accounts exams. It's 17days before my Statistics exams. Then,my sociology unit 2 15 days later and....the most important one which is just 9 days until my first sociology unit1 exams....!!! I will work hard,hard,hard and read more notes about policy education and sociological researchs on the internat and blogs and do more practises.
I believe i'll not lose if i can keep on and concentrate with all my effort.

I will do my economic and sociology homework today and tomorrow!.
Summarise in the end,happy birthday for people who are older today!Mr Chris and SiYi!!!~

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Is nuclear family universal now?(briefly)

Nuclear family,in which there are couples of a male and female with one or more children,is tranditionally considered as universal as the norm of family that fits any people by functionalists and New right. Murdock believed it was an universal institution with universal functions and in1993,Gittins also provided an ideology cereal packet image of nuclear family by labelling other types of family as undesirable. Besides,according to New Right like Saunder and Morgan ,nuclear family is the bedrock of society which leads to a lot of laws and social policies to support. For example,conservative government introduced Family Law Act which says there has to be a year before divorce during which couples can have time to think of it carefully. With those laws,nuclear family spreaded quickly as universal at that time. Moreover,with the industrialisation,nuclear family was becoming more popular which can be described by Parsons using the concept "isolated nuclear family". The characteristics of it including geographic mobility,achieved status and loss of functions are consistent with the changes of industrialisation. This can be proved by Willmott and Young's researches in 1973 which shows that nuclear family was the mainstream in industrial society.
However,there are a lot of arguements. As found by Anserson from study of Preston consenus,extended family was popular at first stage of industrialisation and Willmott also said extended family is important but always held in reserve for some cricis. Nowadays,family diversity is increasing in terms of the introduction of McRae in 1999 with more single-hood,cohabitation,lone-parent family and same-sex family. It may be seen as a result of improving technology like contraception(Allan&Crow),changes of laws(like Civil Partnership),increasing status of women,changes of social values(Crokett&Tripp) and more expectation put on marriage(Fletcher&Parsons). Furthermore,this change is advocated by Postmodernists like Stacey as it satisfies the need of different people's preference. But we can not consequently say nuclear family is not universal. Although there is an increasing family diversity,nuclear family remains the dominant one which is said by functionalist-Chester that we should also consider the decreasing death rate with more old people living in extended family.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Answer to essay 1-changes of position of children

What i didn't write and realise??

1.the current condition of children: age patriarchy(Diana Gittins)- parents enforce dependency to put legal control and protection on children.
2.impact of mass media(Neil Postman)-dissappearance of childhood.
3.a reduction in infant mortality
4.lastly,evaluation should consider class,ethnicity and gender
5.include debates between,March of Progress by functionalists

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Essay3-Examine the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation on the family and household structure

Examine the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation on the family and household structure.

-The main and clear effect will be a change of family structure from extended family to nuclear family. With the industrialisation,the extended kinship network is not good for the changeable jobs of the labour. Therefore,as indicated by Parsons,isolated nuclear family with a loss of functions replaced by society,achieved status which concetrates on the the individual ability and more geographic mobility appear and gradually becomes the mainstream. Moreover,it is said by Willmott and Young that industrialisation lead to a symmetrical relationship of family because of equal roles of husbands and wives that the former control the outside while the latter control family inside.
However,it is argued by Anderson that extended family is very common at early stage of urbanisation in which people come from other cities have to live with their extended members.
Furthermore,Oakley said that the industrialisation forced women to stay at home which lead to a separation of roles between couples and a more asymmetrical family relationship.