‘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.
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
More school types – more diversity, surely = less value consensus?
(P2) Teaching skills for work – economic function
Vocationalism and apprenticeships have expanded
Are apprenticeships useful?
(P3) Bridge between home and school
School prepares us for the world outside the family – it acts like a society in miniature
Particularistic/ Universalistic Standards
Doesn’t apply to everyone – Home schooling
R(P4) Role Allocation
Different qualifications sift people into appropriate jobs
Does this through exams – sifting and sorting
Meritocracy (since 1944)
Marxism – not meritocratic – myth of meritocracy,
Feminism – gender stereotyping and subject choice
Evaluate using other perspectives –
Marxism – Agrees with Functionalists that school socialises us into shared values, but these values are the values benefit the ruling class (we get taught that inequality is natural and inevitable, we believe in the myth of meritocracy and so end up passively accepting society as it is.
Feminism – Functionalism ignores the gender divide in school
Interactionism – Argues Functionalism is too deterministic – it sees individuals as passive, but there is a lot more evidence that pupils are active and aren’t just moulded by the school system
Conclusion – You must point out that this perspective is too optimistic and overgeneralises!