In disagreement with my hypothesis Robert Chester’s concept the neo-conventional family; a family consisting of an adult male and female with one or more children, own or adopted where the husband is not the sole breadwinner, argues that the changes that are taking place in British family life are only minor changes. He said the Rapoports research was misleading, and that family life had remained largely unchanged for the majority of the British population. Chester believes that a snapshot of household types at a particular time doesn’t provide a valid picture of the British family. Chester’s other concept is life cycles, he says that life cycles make it inevitable that at any one time some people will not be a member of a nuclear family household, everyone would have experienced living in a nuclear family in the past or would do in the future
Social Trends research in 1992 and 1999 said that there was a decrease in the number of people in the population living in a nuclear family; 59% in 1981 this declined to 49% in 1998, even though Chester says that the changes that are taking place in British family life are only minor changes it still shows that nearly half of the population are living in a nuclear family so is therefore in agreement with Chester’s research.
The method I am using is questionnaires as I believe that this will be the best method for my research; it will enable me to collect quantitative data. Using the positivist approach I will be able to produce quantitative data which will easily show family structures at Glenthorne. Quantitative data is in the form of numbers which will be useful for me because I do not need qualitative data because my hypo only needs quantitative figures to show who does or does not live in a nuclear family, my research is quite simple so therefore I do not need to know a lot of detail about their family circumstances just the type of household they live in. This allows me to make a straight comparison, because numerical data is really easy to analyse. I will be sending my questionnaire out over e-mail will cut down on paper which will be more cost effective and time effective.
My sampling frame will be year 7 pupils and year 13 pupils at Glenthorne High School; I have chosen these two year groups because I will be able to see if the family structure at Glenthorne High School is different between these two years. I will send out 20 questionnaires by e-mail. I feel that this is a reasonably good way of getting quantitative data; and in case the response rate is very low I should still get enough responses back to work with and get some good data. I will do I small pilot study with a small sample to see whether my questionnaire over e-mail is a successful way of conducting my research.
I will have a list of members of the family for example mum, dad, aunty, uncle, cousin, granddad, grandmother, I will then tell them to copy what members of the family live in their household so I can gather my information to see whether they live in a nuclear, lone-parent or extended household. By conducting my questionnaire this way will enable me to analyse my date quicker therefore saving time also this way seems like a fun way for the year 7’s to do a questionnaire. The results that I will gather from the questionnaires will enable me to confirm or reject my hypothesis, that families and households at Glenthorne are mainly diverse. Also my methodology will confirm or decline the research of the Rapoport’s and Chester.
One potential problem that I will come across in my research is the low response rate, which is can range from 25% to 50% for questionnaires. This would raise problems of un-representativeness and low reliability; this would cause me problems because I am only sending out 20 questionnaires to each year group, if the response rate is low then I could only receive up to 10 back, this would create low reliability because if someone else was to carry out my study again then they would most probably get different results because of the respondents. One reason why there could be a low response rate is that some people might just delete it because they are either to bust or simply cannot be bothered.
Another potential problem that may occur is the level of I.T skills of the pupils that are taking part in my questionnaire they may find it difficult to understand what I am asking them to do; also access to e-mail could cause a potential problem.
If someone else was to repeat my study in say 6months time on the same people they would not get the same results because their family circumstances could have changed; my research can only show a snapshot from one period in time for example marital breakdown could happen within that specific period of time.
The another potential problem I could face would be the reliability of my results, because I am studying teenagers the maturity of the students could be a problem; they could misunderstand the questions.
The final potential problem I could face is the ethics of my study, for example the pupil may not want to tell me what their family structure is say if they have just gone through a marital breakdown they may be upset about it.
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