Cross National Comparison Research Task

Below is a task students of A-level sociology can usefully do to give them a feel for doing Cross National Research.

The main aim of this research task is to illustrate some of the strengths and limitations of doing cross national comparisons.

Select any one of the questions below and use the resources nuder the relevant headings below to explore these questions

  1. Why are some countries richer than others?
  2. Why do some countries have higher levels of gender equality than others?
  3. Why do some countries perform better in the PISA tests than others?
  4. Why are some countries happier than others?
  5. Why are some countries more peaceful than others?

Why are some countries richer than others?

This is a list of countries by Gross National Income per Capita, provided by the World Bank. The countries should appear listed in order.

Look at the top 10 countries, the bottom 10 countries, and look at ten in the middle.

NB you may need to screen out certain odd countries (such as those which are Islands with very small populations for example!)

Using your own knowledge, and further research on these countries if necessary, try to find out if any of the above three groups (top 10, middle 10, bottom 10) have anything in common.

Can you come up with theory for why rich countries are rich and poor countries are poor?

Why do some countries have higher levels of gender equality than others?

This link will take you the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, 2020.

Look at the top 10 countries, the bottom 10 countries, and look at ten in the middle.

NB you may need to screen out certain odd countries (such as those which are Islands with very small populations for example!)

Using your own knowledge, and further research on these countries if necessary, try to find out if any of the above three groups (top 10, middle 10, bottom 10) have anything in common.

Can you come up with theory for why some countries are more gender equal than others?

Why do some countries perform better in the PISA tests than others?

The Programme for International Student Assessment assess students from dozens of countries in their ability in maths, reading and science. All students do the same test and so we get national league tables as a result.

This is the hub page for the 2018 PISA results (results are only released every four years). Have a look at the countries at the top of the league tables compared to those at the bottom – can you think of a theory for why students in some countries do better than students others?

Why are some countries happier than others?

This is a link to the World Happiness Report.

Can you think of a theory for why people in some countries report higher levels of happiness than people in others?

Why are some countries more peaceful than others?

The Gobal Peace Index uses around 30 indicators to measure how peaceful countries are and reports every year.This is a link to the 2020 Peacefulness results.

Can you think of a theory which explains why countries such as Iceland are at the top, which countries such as Afghanistan are at the bottom?

Try to think of why some countries might be more prone to war and conflict than others.

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