Social Issues - Research Methods

Created by Calum Crosbie

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11 slides

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FunctionalismStrengths

Highlights interdependence between groups
Gives and explanation for inequality
Shows evidence of mobility
Emphasises importance of hard work, education and qualifications

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FunctionalismWeaknesses

Accepts the capitalist state
Accepts tradition and status quo
Accepts inequality as necessary
How decides what jobs are functionally important

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MarxismStrengths

Conflict is the force of history
Theory and political movement brings about change
Highlights exploitation of the proletariat - polarisation
Emphasises the importance of economic ownership
Explains the rise of capital and the rise of political movements

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MarxismWeaknesses

Economically deterministic
'Privileges' the proletariat
There has been no revolution yet

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Theories and ResearchFunctionalism - is there evidence of social mobility?

Marxism - has society become polarised?

Weberianism - Is there evidence of social closure?

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Blanden J, Gregg P and Machin SIntergenerational Mobility

Method:
Population divided into quartiles (lowest 25% of earners to the top 25%)
Data was collected on 7 countries - USA, Canada, West Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

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Blanden, Gregg and MachinLess upward mobility for those born in 1970 than born in 1958

Sons born in 1958 - 31% born into the bottom quartile were still in it when they were 33 - 17% had reached the top quartile

Some born in 1970 - 11% had reached the top quartile - 38% were still in the bottom quartile

Intergenerational Mobility had fallen in Britain - it had one of the lowest mobility rates across the 8 countries.

Education - sons of affluent families were taking advantage of increasing education opportunities compared to sons of poorer families.

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Qualitative MethodsStrengths:

Gives indepth responses

Gives the chance for follow-up questions

Allows for indepth responses


Weakness:

Data gathered is difficult to put into a general theory

Relies on the researcher's ability to interprete the data - could be biased

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Quantitative MethodsStrengths:

Allows for general theories to be constructed
Allows for large samples to be used

Method is objective in gathering information

Weaknesses:

No follow-up questions

Relies on the participants being honest and open in their responses

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Ethical ConernsBritish Sociological Association (BSA):

Methods must be appropriate
Social and cultural diversity must be respected
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