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Analyse how a sociologist might research different aspects of family life, evaluating the effectiveness and ethics of different methods.

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Introduction

Analyse how a sociologist might research different aspects of family life, evaluating the effectiveness and ethics of different methods. This essay sets out to cover possible ways of researching the family including case studies. The research methods I will be using in this essay are questionnaires, interviews and observation, which are types of primary research. There are many different types of research methods, two types being primary and secondary research. Primary research is carrying out the research from scratch without using any previous research. Secondary research is using information that has already been collected. The first research method I am going to write about is a study by Young and Willmott called The Symmetrical Family. ...read more.

Middle

Using a questionnaire to gather information about can be effective as it gives the opportunity to ask a variety of questions, it can have multiple-choice answers, which give you the answers, or it can have open-ended questions to gain more information. There are negative points in using questionnaires when researching the family as people may lie, or if it is a questionnaire through the post, many people are unlikely to take the time to fill them in. Another method in researching different aspects of family life is through observation this is primary qualitative research. There are various types of observation, participant observation is the researcher becoming a member of whomever they are researching, and non-participant is when the researcher is more like a fly on the wall. ...read more.

Conclusion

However as the subject is unaware research is going on the researcher can gain some very accurate information. When the research is overt, there are no ethical problems with misleading people. However because the people know they are part of some research then there is the chance that they are not completely themselves or tell the whole truth. There is a third primary research method that can be used to research the family which is interviews, as well as the other two this method has good and bad points regarding ethics and reliability. It very unlikely that there is ever a research method that can be used which is 100% perfect. The best thing to do is think carefully about what information you want to gain and way up the advantages and disadvantages regarding each method. ...read more.

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