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

Assess the strengths and limitations of using official statistics for investigating the effects of material deprivation on educational achievement.

Extracts from this document...


Assess the strengths and limitations of using official statistics for investigating the effects of material deprivation on educational achievement. Material deprivation is a complex issue when linked to educational achievement. Although it is widely accepted that greater material deprivation is inextricably linked to poorer educational achievement, the finer points and relationships within the subject are highly debatable. Additional problems are posed when investigating the issue; although official statistics have numerous benefits, there are draw backs with secondary sources which are usually associated with validity, reliability, accuracy and representativeness. Official statistics, in sociological research, are secondary sources originally produced and published by official sources such as the government, and they provide large-scale statistical data. Low income is directly with underachievement. A poor home environment is detrimental to educational success: lack of resources to cover hidden costs, lack of educational toys/extra curricular activities and a poor diet all contribute to a reduced academic performance. ...read more.


When studying this, sociologists must combine official statistics with more qualitative data; so, although (from a positivist perspective) this offers a complete structural picture (as location and quality of schools can be discerned through OFSTED reports, which draw on the advantages of being well funded, objective and reliable), the information provided by official statistics must be correctly analysed and collated in order to form a credible argument. They benefit from the defining strength of most secondary sources: official statistics are inexpensive and readily available and accessible. Census data is the product of a �400 million project, and sociologists would otherwise be incapable of accessing such data. The inclusion and consideration of such large scale studies adds balance to a study, with standardised, nation-wide research lending the text credibility and a more objective, all encompassing structuralist element. Nevertheless, a sociologist must draw together numerous statistics and sources when developing an argument. ...read more.


Such discrepancies with official statistics can invalidate research conducted by governments/schools/sociologists; ultimately, this research forms the basis of sociologist's investigation and argument - sourcing inaccurate information would discredit and undermine the working hypothesis and, consequently, the results would be invalid. In conclusion, I believe official statistics can be very useful when investigating the effects of material deprivation on educational achievement. In my opinion, they must be properly used in conjunction with qualitative data collected through unstructured interviews and covert participant observation. Official statistics are useful in lending the study balance and a wider sense of scale, but must be complemented with reliable, accurate personal (and detailed) data collected meticulously/properly in order to offer the study all of their benefits and offset their drawbacks. In addition, they must be well sourced and recognised as valid/reliable/accurate results, or else the findings of the research could be considerably discredited/invalidated. ...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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification 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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Using material from item B and elsewhere assess the strengths and limitations of non-participant ...

    For example it may be possible to quantify the anti-school behaviour e.g. how many times a fight broke out, how many times students swore at a teacher etc. This would mean that the data was more reliable as the observation could be conducted again to obtain similar results.

  2. Demography topic revision notes. The study of populations and their characteristics is called ...

    Better nutrition increased resistance to infection and increased survival chances of those who did become infected. However, others have challenged McKeown's explanation. For example, it does not explain why females, who receive a smaller share of the food supply,

  1. Sociology independent project - mormons

    As stated before there sacred text is one called the book of Mormon. The book of Mormon is organized as a compilation of smaller books, each named after its main named narrator or a prominent leader, beginning with the First Book of Nephi and ending with the Book of Moroni.

  2. Assess the strengths and limitations of using interviews for the study of educational achievement ...

    As item B suggests, Harker (2006) ?reviewed evidence commissioned by the housing charity Shelter to look at the links.? This is very time-consuming, especially after interviews as the researcher will have to analyse data at home which will mean they have to make new conclusions however if they had used official statistics, it could have been easier to see the trends and therefore make a conclusion.

  1. Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the extent to which material deprivation ...

    A sociologist who argues that cultural deprivation is the most important reason as to why working class children don?t do so well in education compared to a middle class child is Herbert Hyman who argues that ?members of the working class band, place a lower value on education, placing less

  2. Using materials from Item A and elsewhere, assess the strengths and limitations of official ...

    For example, official definitions of pupils social class are based on parental occupation, whereas Marxist sociologists define class in terms of property ownership. All these would be practical issues for the sociologist. In spite of the limitations, on a practical level, a vast array of statistical data is readily available

  1. Cultural deprivation and class differences in achievement

    Cultural deprivation is the theory that states majority of working class and ethnic minorities are inadequately socialised and therefore lack the ?right? culture needed for educational success. Cultural deprivation theorists argue that majority of people are taught from birth the correct; attitudes, norms, and behaviour expected within society for educational

  2. Access the strengths and limitations of using the secondary sources of data

    Therefore, to access the strengths and limitations of the secondary sources of data, it is necessary to test if all the previously mentioned characeristics of data are found in the specific methods of secondary sources. That would definitly provide a valid assessment of of using secondary sources of data.

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