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

Assess the usefulness of official statistics as a source of secondary data in sociological research.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the usefulness of official statistics as a source of secondary data in sociological research. Official statistics are considered useful because it is high in reliability. Emile Durkheim believed suicide statistics from European countries were sufficiently reliable to establish correlations between suicide and other 'social facts'. From the statistics, he concluded that higher level of social integration among Catholics result in lower suicide rate. It was evident that this statistical data is reliable because when he checked on differences within the population of particular countries, he found out that Bavaria, the area of Germany with the highest number of Roman Catholics, also had the lowest suicide rate. ...read more.

Middle

Hence, we can say that although official statistic is useful in terms of its reliability, the usefulness is flawed by its validity problem. Another usefulness of official statistics is they are high in objectivity. As claimed by Alan Bryman, many official statistics such as statistics on birth and death are collected as a matter of course in the everyday procedures of government agencies and are therefore relatively unobtrusive. Nevertheless, based on Ruth Levitas' findings, official statistics are not as objective as positivists claim they are. Levitas found out that figures on public expenditure were manipulated, waiting list for NHS patients were reduced, and census statistics no longer included deaths by social class (they might reveal a growing gap between life expectancy of different classes). ...read more.

Conclusion

Based on this study, it was found out that among a range of offences committed during 2001-2002 in Britain, only 42 per cents were reported. Nonetheless, Hazel Croall pointed out that the data from this survey is not entirely reliable because it can only record crimes which victims are aware of and therefore exclude many crimes. Furthermore, the early Crime Surveys only interviewed people over 16 and therefore omitted most crimes committed against younger age groups. We can deduce then that it is not entirely acceptable that official statistics are low in validity based on the British Crime Survey because the validity of the data from the survey itself is doubted. In sum, official statistics are useful based on their reliability and objectivity but their validity is somehow doubted. ...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. Outline and Assess the Usefulness of Conflict Theories in Explaining Social Class Inequalities in ...

    Over the years there have been conflicts caused by various factors. In South Africa the apartheid divided people based on their race, status groups are of high importance within the Caste system in Hindu society. Weberian Theory is useful in explaining conflict with contemporary UK as it takes so many factors into account.

  2. Free essay

    Discuss official statistics with regard to how useful one might find them when conducting ...

    As these are produced by the state, they may be biased to favour a certain government to reflect success of policies. Some data may be avoided and focus on the bad rather than the good, such as talking about social scroungez\rs instead of talking about the number of non-domiciles.

  1. Assess the usefulness of Positivist Research

    Researchers engages in Positivist Research can also twist research towards their own favour in order to confirm their own hypothesis, as they alone control the method of research, subject being researched and other vital factors such as the sample size and methods of data collection.

  2. Free essay

    Assess The Usefulness Of Official Statistics In Sociological Research

    When adapting quantitative methodological procedures to derive specific data, official statistics is often used as a source of sociological evidence to simply enhance or complement practical research methods. However when looking at what is gained from the use of official statistics, it is important to recognize the limitations, which serve

  1. Sociological theories and Healthcare.

    Although it isn't always down to the lifestyle you lead as someone I know was really fit and healthy and she caught it so sometimes there's no explanation for it. Genetics can be the reason why certain people get cancer than others obviously if most of your family has cancer then you are more likely to get it through inheritance.

  2. Discuss the usefulness of Quantative and Qualitative Methods in study of Suicide.

    Atkinson looked into the validity of suicide statistics by using interpretist methods to look into the meaning behind them. This is essentially critiquing Durkheim's research and so he is externally criticising Durkheim's suicide study. Atkinson looked into how the suicide statistics are constructed.

  1. Assess the usefulness of observations in sociological research

    Low reliability is perhaps the main limitation of Patrick's research. Because the research was an observation it was not carried out in controlled conditions and thus can not be repeated. This is a problem as the research cannot be compared with other results and trends are not easily identified.

  2. Assess the usefulness of interactionist approaches to the study of society

    Labelling theory assumes that ?when a situation is defined as real, it is real in its consequence? (Thomas 1928). The call is seen as real and an argument begins. This idea has been developed and applied by to the sociology of deviance through the work of Becker.

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