• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine problems faced by sociologists when using secondary sources in their research.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Problems faced by sociologists when using secondary sources. Secondary sources consist of data which hasn't been collected by the sociologist. This data can offer primarily qualitative or quantitative data, and, as such, is useful to both interpretivists and positivists in macro and micro sociological research. The data itself can range from small collections of notes in the form of personal diaries, to historical documents of varying length and focus to large-scale studies conducted by governments or independent researchers. As a result, secondary sources can vary considerably in their size, content and usefulness. Secondary sources often come in the form of historical documents. Like qualitative data from primary sources, secondary sources are often open to a number of interpretations. Historical documents typically rely heavily on inconclusive data: investigations making use of unavailable data (Laslett, 1972 - census) or unrepresentative data (Anderson, 1971) ...read more.

Middle

Another source of secondary data available to sociologists is that provided by the mass media. The media are a convenient source of information, particularly when events which would otherwise be vague or unclear are well documented by newspapers and news channels. However, the media has been criticised by some sociologists for promoting distorted images of society, driven more by ideology than irrefutable and clear cut statistics. For this reason, the mass media is often the subject of content analysis. The four main approaches outlined by Ray Pawson (1995) focus on analysing formal content (objectivity/reliability), bias/ideology, textual (effects and influence of linguistics) and audience (response of public). Sociologists often use secondary sources for practical reasons. This approach is less time consuming and expensive than conducting primary research. ...read more.

Conclusion

in the absence of legal obligation, households would not provide the accurate information recorded in the census which is invaluable as a quantitative source and which would be incredibly difficult for sociologists to obtain independently. However, not all sociologists accept the reliability and validity of all statistics. Some official statistics might offer untrue snippets of reality because they are poorly conducted/underfunded, lack a high response rate (as is often the case with crimes such as rape) or remain widely unknown or classified. In my opinion, secondary sources are a valuable source of information for sociologists. Despite problems posed by perspective and neutrality, sociologists are capable of drawing together various secondary sources which can form the basis of a convincing, cohesive and purposeful argument. Indeed, sociologists with an aptitude for sorting, evaluating and analysing numerous sources can benefit greatly from the wide range of secondary data which is readily available. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Miscellaneous essays

  1. crime and its effects on society

    * Drug treatment and testing order- the probation service monitor drug rehabilitation and give compulsory drug testing. * Community rehabilitation order- this is where the offender has to meet with a probation officer to talk about how there behaviour has been.

  2. Investigating The Use of Pectinase

    Results Time (s) Volume (cm3) Repeat 2nd Repeat Average 30 1.5 1.5 1.2 1.40 60 2.6 2.4 2.1 2.37 90 3.4 3.4 2.7 3.17 120 3.7 3.9 3.5 3.70 150 4.1 4.3 4 4.13 180 4.5 4.7 4.3 4.50 210 4.8 5.1 4.7 4.87 240 5.1 5.5 5 5.20 270

  1. Analyse the factors that influence the interaction undertaken (D2)

    In the group communication my aims weren't as specific as my goals here were to interact with the group effectively completing the end of the book with frequent feedback from the rest of the group throughout it. So my goals at the end were for me to know how much

  2. Ownership of the T & T industry

    in the region; this would then create more jobs and a wealthier region in the long run.

  1. Leisure Studies- Unit 5- A02

    Around twice the proportion of men purchased computer software and hardware and electronic equipment than women. For example, 26 per cent of men purchased electronic equipment compared with 13 per cent of women. Conversely a higher proportion of women than men used the Internet to purchase food and groceries (24 per cent of women and 17 per cent of men)

  2. Discuss research into the explanation of the function of sleep

    effects Horne believed that body restoration is not the purpose of sleep. He suggests it occurs during periods of relaxed wakefulness, leaving core sleep to provide for the restoration of brain systems. Horne applies his study to human participants and it is possible the theory put forward but Oswald could

  1. Communication in todays society

    It is relationship developed through communication. Life is not about being a solitary individual. It is about relationship. How we get along together. How we help or hurt each other. And whether we make shared progress or try to self-made men or women. In anyone's success, there are others involved.

  2. Children are active in constructing their own learning.

    Whilst theories such as those above provide various beliefs in relation to child development, they also allow us to gain some understanding of how their minds work and develop, I shall now go onto to compare and contrast the extent to which the children are seen as active learners in each of the theories.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work