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As sociology coursework - effects of a fatherless childhood

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Aim My aim is to find out the effects of a fatherless upbringing on a child's behaviour, emotional stability and educational attainment. I chose this area of study because I noticed that compared with personal knowledge, the New Right Ideology appears to exaggerate how fatherless upbringings affect children. Amongst my peers there are people raised in lone parent and nuclear families, and members of both groups experience similar amounts of problems and share similar social values, unlike Rebecca O'Neill's conclusion that children from lone parent families are more likely to have underage sex due to a lack of parental control. (100 words) Contexts and Concepts In 1993, Olson and Haynes conducted a study of American lone parent families. The results led to them identifying seven strengths of these families, six were relevant to my research. The first was that lone parents accepted the responsibilities of their roles and problems were always solved. The second was prioritisation of the parental role, meaning parents did not have to split attention. The third strength was discipline, proving children did not go without discipline and they knew how to behave in society.

Middle

(400 words) Main Research Method My interviews will be unstructured, as it would be the most relevant way of gaining qualitative results, which are useful for finding out the opinions and emotions of interviewees, leading to a conclusion about personal social values. Using unstructured interviews would be significant because each person would have individual values, ones which they may not be able to fully express with structured interviews. Unstructured interviews would also mean the interviewees could talk about things that are relevant which I had not thought about prior to the interviews. The interviews will still have slight structure, in that I will be taking an active approach in engaging the interviewees in conversation about points I would like to cover for my research. I feel that an active approach would be useful as an interviewee engaged in conversation would probably be more likely to talk about their opinions and create a sense of friendship and trust. These may be needed to allow the interviewee to feel comfortable about topics such as sex, intoxicant use and criminal activity, things which they may otherwise consider as taboo.

Conclusion

I will also need to find ways of ensuring my interviewees come to no emotional harm as a result of the interviews. Validity may be difficult to ensure. Due to my method's informal nature, I may find myself making comments or asking questions that are biased, influencing interviewee responses. Also affecting validity is the interviewee. Some may have bad memories, and report things differently to what they are, others may conform to social desirability and make statements which are untrue, just to have themselves perceived in a certain way. This may also affect how reliable responses are when coming to a conclusion. The research method will be free in terms of money, but not time. Realistically, for me to get the maximum information out of interviewees, I would need to spend at least an hour with each. But, that would take at least a month if all were to be done in school hours. Therefore, I will only probably get half an hour with each interviewee. My method also has the disadvantage that general conversing in unstructured interviews could lead to the discussion of irrelevant topics. My sample could cause a problem of the small group I use not being representative of youths of other ages or social backgrounds. (298 words)

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