Approaches to Studying Individuals and Families

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Transcript Approaches to Studying Individuals and Families

Approaches to Studying
Individuals and Families
Chapter 2
Opinions and Perceptions
We tend to form opinions based on our
observations and discussions we have had
in our own families, or of those close
around us
 However, we tend to base our perceptions
on the media portrayal of families
Studying Individuals and Families
As we study this topic, we will need to
examine our own beliefs, perceptions, and
opinions so that we can approach the
topic objectively and with an open mind
What are people concerned about?
How is marriage and family changing?
 Who is responsible for that change?
 What should be done to support families?
 What can governments and other
institutions do to help?
 Some are concerned because of moral
reasons –many alternatives to choose
Concerns cont’d
What is financially viable to do
 What is politically appropriate?
Central question: what choices should
Canadians make in their own lives
What is a Pre-Conception?
Many are worried that the number of
children raised in one parent families is on
the rise, that the divorce rate is going up
The Trends
According to Stats Canada:
 Canadians are not avoiding marriage, they
are just waiting longer to get married
 More couples are ‘co-habiting’ before
 1/3 of marriages will end in divorce, but
that rate is not going up
 Have a look at the pie graph on pg 27
How do we study the Canadian
 People tend to generalize from their
personal experiences and observations
 Canadian society is very diverse – so it is
quite likely that we will come across ones
that contrast with our own
 Individual and family behaviour are
popular in the media – but are they
realistic and factual in nature
Are there any dangers in setting
aside all of our preconceptions?
Academic Study of Family
Just as in the field of scientific research,
Reliable research methods must be used
in the social science field as well in order
to put forth theories with some backbone
Read the case study p. 28 and
answer the questions
Theoretical Perspectives
This text uses a variety of theoretical
perspectives from several disciplines (Sociology,
Anthropology, Psychology)
 A theoretical perspective identifies a point of
view based on a specific theory
 A theory is a framework for organizing and
explaining observable evidence
 You need to have facts to support a theory, but
you also need that theory to organize the facts
4 Fundamental questions of
Science Research
What happens?
2. How does it happen?
3. Why does it happen?
4. How can people change what happens?
Each discipline approaches their research in
slightly different ways
 Macro studies: a large-scale study of a society
 Micro studies: small – scale of individual cases
The study of human behaviour in
societies, or, the study of culture
 Methods used:
– Live within the culture to observe behaviour
Cultural anthropologists study contemporary
societies to determine cultural patterns and
regional or national variations
Anthropologists study the diversity of
behaviours that fulfill the functional
requisites of society
 Ethnocentrism: the tendency to evaluate
behaviour from the point of view of our
own culture
Explains behaviour of individuals in social
groups, families, and society
 Sociologists are concerned with the
patterns of behaviour of large groups of
 They look at social sources of behaviour in
order to explain rates of behaviour
Sociological Methods
Uses statistical analysis to produce
demographics of Canadian population
 Statistics Canada is the arm of the
government that does much of it in
 Politicians then use this info to make
policy decisions
Reginald Bibby has done a large amount of
research in the field of adolescence and
youth in Canada
He also done much research in the area of
religious trends - trying to explain why
there has been a decline in church
attendance over the last 20 years
Sociologists don’t necessarily explain
behaviour – they make note of it
Study of behaviour based on mental
 Psychologists are the ones who like to
‘explain’ individual behaviour, based on
their understanding of how our brains
function and our ‘personality’
 They also look at how we as individuals
interact and influence each other