L9 official stats


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  • Need 25 mins to answer 10 ao1 10 ao2
  • L9 official stats

    1. 1. Official Statistics (Secondary Data)
    2. 2. • Official Statistics- quantitative data gathered by the government or other official bodies e.g. Social Trends, the Census, birth/marriage and death rates, exam results• Government gathered to use in policy making
    3. 3. TheoreticalPositivists prefer official statistics because theydeliver large scale, representative, quantitativedata collected by reliable methods such asquestionnaires.Interpretivists see them as socially constructedand lacking validity, they are simple counts ofevents not true representations of reality
    4. 4. Marxism• Official Statistics are serving the interests of capitalism• Government statistics are politically biased and serve the interests of the ruling class.• Unemployment statistics are a good example. The state has regularly changed the definition of unemployment over the years. This therefore reduced the numbers officially defined as unemployed so disguising the true level of unemployment
    5. 5. Advantages• Cheap and available• Can study trends over time (like Durkheim)• Big sample, so representative• Objective and reliable sources of data. They look for correlations and cause and effect.• Stats allow comparison between groups• High in reliability- same categories are used each time the statistics are gathered so can be replicated• Cover most important aspects of social life e.g. Education, divorce, crime etc
    6. 6. Disadvantages• Don’t always measure what they say they measure. So lacks validity.• Reliability- recording errors can be made• Interpretivists say that OS are not hard facts and are not that objective. They are social constructions and don’t tell you about meanings or motives.• Male Bias- OS are biased against women e.g. Definitions of work used in the census exclude unpaid housework• Government collects stats for its own purposes and not for benefit of sociologists so may be none available
    7. 7. Content Analysis• A method of dealing systematically with the contents of documents.• Best used in analysis of documents produced by the mass media e.g. TV news bulletins or ads (usually qualitative)• Content analysis enables sociologists to produce quantitative data from these sources• Deals with counting categories and comparing to official statistics to see if media are presenting false or stereotypical views
    8. 8. Advantages:• Cheap• Easy to find sources of material in the form of newspapers, TV broadcasts etc• Positivists see it as a useful source of objective, quantitative, scientific data• Interpretivists argue that simply counting up the number of times something appears in a document tells us nothing about its meaning
    9. 9. In Class Essay• Examine the use of structured interviews in sociological research (20 marks)
    10. 10. In Context• Can study issues on: • Ethnicity, social class and gender • The Curriculum • Special Educational Needs • Marketisation of Education (New Right) • School attendance • Vocational Training • Subject Choice