Using a quantitative method enables you to draw up conclusions from the statistical results
a) Using a quantitative method enables you to draw up conclusions from the statistical results.One advantage of this is using questionnaires to get generalisable results.You are able to distribute these across England and Wales to all types of people, working class, middle class, male or female etc, which later makes your results more representative of the population that you are studying.
You have results from a range of people instead of one particular group, which may have higher rates than others due to material or social factors.
Another advantage is quantitative data is a lot faster than qualitative data, so if you didn’t have a lot of time to gather your results then a quantitative approach would be best. You don’t have to ask informal questions in interviews but instead can gather statistical information via quick survey questions that make your results easier to read.
b) One advantage of using two methods to gather your results is you can measure them against each other. If your results are similar then they are more likely to be valid measure of your sample. If however there is a major contrast then you could adopt a different method until you have similar results, to ensure your results were a valid measure of the thing you were studying.
Another advantage is the more results you have, the more you can generalise about your sample. You could extract results from each targeted group you were studying which would make them representative and in the end more reliable. You have a wider range of results that you could pick your results from.
c) Despite minor fluctuations, Item A demonstrates a steady rise in divorce rates in England and Wales over the past 30 years. It has increased dramatically by over 10%. The main cause according to the item is the introduction of divorce laws in the UK, in particular The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1967. This saw a massive 80 thousand divorce increase peaking after the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act of 1985 to 160 thousand divorces in England and Wales in the same year. What we notice from item A is that a bigger number of divorces are filed by women rather than men, particularly in the latter years where there are over twice as many women filing for divorce compared to the mere number of men. The ratio widened dramatically after the Divorce Reform Act of 1971, which allowed couples to divorce on grounds of marital breakdown. This increase did not simply represent a backlog of couples waiting to legally end marriage as the rates continue to rise over the following years.
d) In order to start my research I must first operationalise the concept “stability of family life.” Family life in this case means a married couple with their own children who they still support. Stability will be based on the grounds that the family own a mortgage and are not on the brink of divorce.
To get into the field I will interview children and their parents at schools throughout England and Wales. To make my results generalisable, I will use a public and a Comprehensive school from each county. This also makes my result representative as I am using schools from different social backgrounds, which will give me a good representation of the stability of family life from different social classes.
Once I am in the field I will use unstructured interviews and focus groups to gather my data. I will interview children to make sure I obtain reliable results – one answer tends to be better than two. When interviewing children I will make sure their parents are present in case anything is said that they disapprove of which would be unethical. To gain access of parents I will use parents’ evenings to interview them together. This way I will get one answer from them instead of two, which could be different. It also saves time comparing results.
When conducting the interview I will ensure my questions are similar for each and that the family understands what the questions entail so my results are valid. I must make sure I am measuring the stability of family life that I recognize, not what someone else believes is the concept. This will then make my results reliable for use.
e) When using qualitative data, the methods used can make results unreliable for a number of reasons. The main concern with my method is, are families likely to confess to a stranger that their family is unstable? The simple answer is no as that could be embarrassing and it’s a personal question. If I was using quantitative data for example, questionnaires then people might put a truthful answer down as they are not under scrutiny from the interviewer or their partner. Interviewing children is also difficult especially whilst under the influence of their parents. They are likely to know if their parents are in an unstable relationship for obvious reasons but may not wish to say so because they are being watched by their parents which raises the point of obtaining reliable results. However you can’t interview them without their presence due to ethical values.
Parents are also under the influence of each other. Even if the marriage is unstable, one may be too afraid to say so due to the reaction of the other, again causing concern for the reliability of my results.
My method of collecting data may not work when it comes to interviewing families at parents’ evenings. Statistics show that parents from working class backgrounds are less likely to show up. This could be due to work factors such as shift work that most working class people tend to do. This would mean that you would have more parents show up in public schools than you would in your local Comprehensive thus giving you an unrepresentative measure of your sample.
Another drawback is generalisability. You need to have a diverse sample to make sure it is representative but this then makes your method time consuming and expensive. You would need to carefully select your destination but either way there is a downfall to this factor.