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The Importance of Marriage in Contemporary Mainstream British Society

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Introduction

"If I get married" Or The Importance of Marriage in Contemporary Mainstream British Society A Study by George Richmond HYPOTHESIS OR AIM It is clear that fewer people are getting married. Since the 1960's, the annual number of first marriages in the UK has dropped by 40%. Furthermore, the number of religious weddings has dropped. Is this actually caused by a shift in people's opinions of marriage, or is it simply no longer convenient to get married? This work will attempt to answer that question. My interest in this subject stems from my own parent's divorce, and studies done in class. However, I do not take the view that the reduction in the importance of marriage is necessarily a bad thing, as I am sceptical of the institution of marriage and how it actually benefits society as a whole. (117 words) CONTEXT AND CONCEPTS There are two social phenomena leading people to believe that marriage is becoming less important. These are: 1) The rising divorce rate: It can be argued that the importance of marriage is the cause of rising divorce rates. With secularisation, the stigma of Divorce has gone. ...read more.

Middle

This is another reason for my choice of research topic. (395 words) MAIN RESEARCH METHOD AND REASONS The main research method I will use here is a questionnaire, in the context of a social survey. This is known as a positivist approach, and I have chosen it because it is believed to be more objective, with quantifiable data, and so will be more widely accepted in the academic world. My sample will consist of 50 men and 50 women, between the ages of 18 and 45. I have chosen this age range because I want an adult's view, and older people's views will probably reflect those of previous decades, preventing me from obtaining contemporary views. I have chosen to use equal numbers of men and women as this will be representative of the population. This is called quota sampling, as I am setting certain criteria for the respondents. The questionnaire will be a form, posted on a discussion forum, such as Delphi, Yahoo, NBCi or AOL. I will make the form available to registered British users between 18 and 45 only. They will select their gender and answer multiple choice questions. ...read more.

Conclusion

These factors question my methodology on the grounds of validity. Something that many sociologists face in their research is deception by the respondent. As I will not be present when the questionnaire is filled in, it would be very easy for someone to lie about his or her details and views. This could happen quite easily, as there are many users of these forums who have nothing better to do than waste other people's time. Furthermore, people may feel that they do not fit into any of the categories set, and so choose an answer that is not actually representative of their views. This will bring the validity of the data into question, although it is precisely this lack of presence that eliminates impositional bias. Finally, a major criticism of questionnaires (highlighted by Steve Taylor in 'The A Level Sociology Magazine') is that the choice of words can have a huge impact on the answers respondents give. Different people can attach different meanings to words such as 'important'; invalidating the results. Therefore, my main grounds for choosing questionnaires (because they are more objective) come into disrepute, as questionnaires are not as objective and quantifiable as some might think. It is therefore clear that although I am trying to be objective, it is clearly an impossible task. (332 words) (1243 words) ...read more.

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