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Women at work 'You can't have a conversation with a feather duster' The meaning of work to a Working Mother

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Section A Title: Women at work 'You can't have a conversation with a feather duster' The meaning of work to a Working Mother Author: Katherine Rees Date of Publication/completion: Publisher or Source: Collins Educational Section B Katharine Rees's aim was to try to decipher the main reasons why women return to work soon after childbirth and to present a picture of the attitudes of British women on the subject of work. Another aim was to discover why women often return to lower status jobs than they previously held before childbirth. The type of data that was collected was qualitative which is favoured by interpretivist approach. Informal interviews were carried out on a stratified sample of 10 women in a period of six weeks. She accessed them through family members and work associates and set up the interview via the phone. The women interviewed were of white British origin and came from a 'nuclear family'. The study focused on three main sectors of the workplace (three from each sector): Manual labour, clerical work and jobs of a professional status, and one was a service woman. ...read more.


Another problem is social desirability, where the interviewee could tailor their answers in order to present themselves in the best possible way, affecting the validity of their response. The responses were recorded in note form which may have hindered the answers because the women may have felt distracted by the interviewer writing the response. However, Rees felt that this method was appropriate for the type of research. Rees accessed her sample through friends of the family or work associates. The size of the sample was small due to time and cost constraints. Interviews are time consuming. However using a small stratified sample allowed Rees to compare the answers. A pilot study was undertaken to certify that questions being asked were not leading or resulted in interviewer bias. It enabled Rees to check that the language used in the interview schedule was clear and unambiguous and the data met the aims of the research. Additionally Rees could practice her interviewing skills, essential as she was a student not a professional: adding to the reliability of the data. ...read more.


The researcher is also unable to check for body language or double-check the answers. To increase reliability Rees should taped the interview, it would have enabled her to double-check the responses for inaccuracies. Video taping would have been better as it would have allowed her to check for verbal and non-verbal responses. A pilot study was done to increase the reliability. The pilot allows the researcher to check for unambiguous language and eliminate leading questions. The researcher also is able to ensure they are asking appropriate questions to fulfil their aims. Validity was increased by establishing a good rapport. Allowing the interview to take place in their home and with a female interviewer, the participant felt comfortable and was therefore more likely to give honest in-depth answers. However, social desirability may decrease the validity; the interviewee may want to represent themselves in a certain way (especially if they know the researcher). The assurance of confidentiality and anonymity would also have contributed to the gathering of accurate and honest responses. Taping the interview would increase validity because they can assess body language to gage whether the answers are valid. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anita McCulloch 12.4 Sociology coursework 2006 Ms Charlton ...read more.

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