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usefulness of quantitative and qualitative sources of data in studying suicide

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Introduction

Assess the usefulness of quantitative and qualitative sources of data in studying suicide Quantitative data is data in numerical form - in the form of numbers. Because quantitative data is in a numerical form it allows us to analyse it more easily i.e. test significance, present graphically, compare measures of dispersion and central tendency between groups. Official statistics are an obvious example. Questionnaire and structured interviews are the usual research methods used to obtain Quantitative data whereas Qualitative data is all types of data that is not in the form of numbers. Qualitative methods often provide data that is rich and detailed and gives a good insight into the person's experiences and behaviour. It is difficult to analyse, compare or to draw concise conclusions from qualitative. It is often the case that qualitative data may have to be converted in to a numerical form anyway in order to draw conclusions. ...read more.

Middle

Some of the factors uncovered through use of official statistics found that suicide varies according to religion, family size, political/national crises, economic conditions, occupational groups and the divorce rate. Quantitative data helped Durkheim to consider suicide rates as social facts. Durkheim found correlations between suicide rates and a range of social facts. He calmed that these correlations indicated causal relationships. For e.g. an individual's religion, marital status and family size can all be used as measures of their level of integration in society. Durkheim's study was based on official statistics of suicide. Critics argue that he paid insufficient attention to both their reliability and validity. Suicide statistics are reliable if coroners - the officials who decide the cause of death reach the same conclusions. However one coroner might give a verdict of suicide when the evidence suggests that a person probably took their own life. ...read more.

Conclusion

The central problems (like all official statistics) centre on the issues of reliability and validity. As regards validity, it is likely that there is an under-recording of the true rate of suicide. Douglas suggests that Durkheim did not give enough consideration to how official statistics on suicide are collected. They contain gross inaccuracies. In each case of death an official agency investigates and officials interpret the death to decide cause. What ends up in the official statistics as a suicide is therefore the end result of a process of interpretation and decision-making. These data problems arise from the criteria used by coroners to diagnose death. For e.g. the family and friends of the victim may do their best to conceal his or her death as suicide. And this, in turn may influence the coroner to deliver a verdict of accidental death or death by natural causes. ?? ?? ?? ?? Atiya Fazalbhai ...read more.

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