‘Evaluate the Strengths of Using Social Surveys in Social Research’ (20)
This is an essay plan for a possible essay for the AQA’s A Level Sociology paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods. This essay plan uses the TPEN structure which covers the theoretical, practical, ethical and ‘nature of topic’ factors relevant to this research method.
You might like to review this post which introduces social surveys and this post on ‘the advantages and disadvantages of social surveys‘ first.
- Theoretical Factors: Positivists/ Interpretivists – Positivists generally like social surveys because the data from Structured Social Surveys is easy to put into graphs and charts – it is easy to make comparisons, find trends and uncover the ‘laws’ of human action
- Theoretical: Representativeness/ Sampling – It is generally easy to obtain large samples
- Theoretical: Reliability – Surveys generally have good reliability because….
- Theoretical: Validity – Validity should be good for simple topics and it is less likely that the researcher’s opinions will affect the research process as with more qualitative methods
- Practical Factors: Social surveys are one of the cheapest methods for collecting data from a wide, geographically dispersed sample of the target population; they are generally one of the quickest ways of collecting data
- Ethical Factors: There are few ethical issues with this method compared to more qualitative methods.
- Nature of Topic: Social surveys are best used for simple, straightforward topics.
- Conclusion: Social Surveys are good for gaining an ‘overview’ of social trends