Chapter 2: Research Methods
Chapter 2: Research Methods hdfr 2200
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by madisoncasey3 on Monday October 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to hdfr 2200 at University of Colorado Denver taught by H. Gomez in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views.
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Date Created: 10/03/16
LFHD Chapter 2 Reading + Notes Studying the Family Why Are Theories and Research Important in Our Everyday Lives? There are many reasons why theories and research are important to our everyday lives People have morals that dont match with what research actually shows Ex) People believe children will grow up more welladjusted if they sit around the dinner table with their families every night. Research actually shows no difference in behavioral acts of a child regardless if dinner is spent with family or alone What we dont know cant hurt us Theories and research help us understand ourselves and our families They improve our ability to think more critically & make informed decisions in our own families What We Dont Know Cant Hurt Us: Many American women rely on talk shows for information on a variety of topics. Such misinformation can be dangerous Many of these talk shows/websites are ran by people who know little about family issues/unprofessionals We may be wasting money and time on things that dont serve the purpose we believe they fulfill Ex) Long ago, people stated that diets high in fish supplements have lower rates of heart disease, then sales in fish oil supplements skyrocketed, to find out that research shows no relation from fish oil to lower rates in heart disease. A healthy diet prevents heart disease Theories and Research Help Us Understand Ourselves and Our Families: Theories and research illuminate many aspects of family life Ex) Spanking; many say its right, many say its wrong; research shows no matter if you inflict physical punishment or not, neither prevent bad behavior Ex) Many say child obesity was because unhealthy foods were promoted at school, taking out all vending machines would solve the issue; comes to find out research shows that childhood obesity stems from home life. Theories and Research Helps Us Make Informed Decisions: We are always encountering statistics that affect some aspect of our lives Some of the information is sound, but biased, inaccurate, and spat out by “experts” who arent really experts Studying research may help you avoid situations that you dont want to come up Ex) Learning about the Myths of Marriage (CH.1) may help you prepare yourself for the realistic aspects of marriages instead of giving your hopes up for the 'perfect' marriage, and might help avoid divorce Theoretical Perspectives on Families: There is no relationship between theory and practice Microlevel influences and macrolevel influences both take a big part on how a family cooperates and works with one another Each theory focuses on one or both, but a lot is still left uncovered Many psychologists use multiple theory perspectives to accurately depict a family's dynamics The Structural Family Perspective: Also known as functionalism, the structural perspective examines how a societys parts work together to ensure its survival They look at how families contribute to society's stability Also examine relationships between family members, and other institutions like schools and religious institutions Family Roles: Instrumental Roles: the breadwinner of the family; providing food/shelter Expressive Roles: the homemaker of the family; providing support and nurturing the family These and other family roles are functional because they create and perserve harmony, stability and order Anything that interferes with these tasks are considered dysfunctional Family Functions: Manifest Functions: purposes and activities that are intended and recognized; clearly evident Latent Functions: purposes and activities that are unintended and unrecognized; arent immediately obvious Ex) Marriage: its manifest function is to publicize the formation of a new family unit; its latent functions are passing a message to past lovers, redefining family boundaries Institutional Connections: Functionalists also note that family is affected by and interrelated to other institutions such as law, politics, and the economy Critical Evaluation: Functionalism was the dominant perspective in the 1950/1960s It was too conservative and didnt accept the social changes to come Useful in understanding affects on the family in a macrolevel perspective but lacks interactions of families on daily basis' Only views the family through white, middle class, male lens The Conflict Perspective: Macrolevel theory Started when people started challenging functionalism Examines how groups disagree, struggle for power and compete for scarce resources Conflict and resulting changes are natural and inevitable; sometimes even desired to change someone's status in life Useful in identifying inequities across families and promoting structures and values that are less oppressive Social Class & Power: Families perpetuate social stratification Inheritance and other ways of gaining money without earning it; sets up inequalities amongst families to compete for resources and have equal power See society as a widespread inequality ring Based on research that white, middle aged males dominate political and economic decision making in the US Family Problems: Family problems stem from widespread societal problems rather than individual problems Racial discrimination has impacted families by limiting their access to health care, education, employment, etc Critical Evaluation: Stresses clashes and coercion instead of order and stability Negative view of human nature as selfish, ignoring love and self sacrafice Emphasizes institutional constraints rather than personal choices Doesnt propose an improvement plan Feminist Perspective: Examines the social, economic, and political inequalities between women and men Many types of feminism, each with a different emphasis Feminisy family theories generally address gender inequality, family diversity, and social change using both micro and macrolevel approaches Gender Inequality: Any person male or female that believe genders should have equal rights, is a feminist whether they resent the name or not Exists at home, in the workplace and intersects with race, ethnicity, and social class Family Diversity: Limiting families to the traditional nuclear definition excludes many other family forms such as; long term cohabiting couples, single parents and children, same sex families, stepfamilies and fictive kin Emphasis on Social Change: Have contributed to family theories and social change in a lot of ways Initiated legislation to address family violence and impose stiffer penalties on men who assault their wife/children Endorsed a greater equality amongst husbands/wives and unmarried partners, and pushed legislation to provide parents with parental leave rights Refocused much of the research to include fathers as involved, responsible, and nurturing family members that have a profound effect on the family Critical Evaluation: Focus primarily on issues that affect women and not really men Dont pay enough attention to other forms of oppression; age, disability, and religious intolerance Considerably more white/a american feminists compared to middle eastern/american indian families Emphasizing diversity leaves out commonalities that make families more similar than different People and some feminists thinks feminism has lost its bearings, emphasizing little issues (sexual freedom) instead of the broader issues (wage inequalities) The Ecological Perspective: Examines how a family influences and is influenced by the enviornment Four interlocking systems shape our development and behavior and can range from immediate settings to macrolevel aspects Microsystem: Interconnected behaviors, roles, relationships that influences a child's daily life Mesosystem: Relationships amongst different settings Ex) Kids act different in front of their friends than they do in front of their parents Exosystem: Settings/Events that a person doesnt experience directly but affects their development Ex) Parent's employment Macrosystem: Wider society and culture that encompasses all other systems These systems have been used to understand family related issues; such as, adolescent/marital well being, drug prevention programs, and the stress of early years of parenthood Critical Evaluation: Useful in explaining family dynamics and proposing programs to deal with issues Has several limitations Explanations of disintegration are absent Not always apparent how enviornment influences the changes in families Unclear how the systems affect nontraditional families Primarily explains the nuclear, straight, white families Not sure where the untraditional families fit in Family Development Perspective: Examines changes that families experience throughout their lifespans Emerged out of a specific interest in families and only focuses on the family The Classic Family Life Cycle: Family development theory evolved over decades One of the earliest variations is Duvall's Family Life Cycle The family life cycle consists of the transistions that a familt makes as it moves through a series of stages **INSERT TABLE 2.1** Begins with marriage, continues through child birth and ends with the death of one/both spouses Developemntal Tasks Change Over Time: As people progress through the stages of the family cycle, they accomplish developmental tasks Learning to fulfill various role expectations and responsibilities Ex) showing affection for people in the family Depending on our developemntal stages we learn how to interact and handle different challenges as we grow older Ex) Young children dealing with teasing; older children facing pressure to use drugs Developmental Tasks are Multifaceted: Developmental stages and tasks vary on different family structures Complex situations and problems that confront families in an aging societya are multigenerational, affecting parents and children Family life course may differ greatly for those in poverty or the middle class families Critical Evaluation: Most of the family development studies are microlevel Useful for therapists and practitioners who are counseling families with interpersonal problems such as sexual infidelity, or constant arguments Several limitations The family life cycle for some isnt so clearly and neatly segmented; sometimes marriage goes after the first child Most developmental studies study the nuclear, straight traditional fmailies Largely descriptive rather than explanatory Family development theory overlooks sibling relationships and only looks at a small aspect of the family life Symbolic Interaction Perspective: Also called interactionism Microlevel perspectives Examines an individual's everyday behavior Examine how our everyday attitude, ideas, and beliefs shape our daily lives; and how it affects our family life as well Symbols: Looks at subjective interpersonal meanings and how we communicate using symbols (words, gestures, or pictures that stand for something) To interact effectively our symbols must have shared meanings Significant Others: One of the most important shared meanings is the definition of the situation; how we percieve reality and react to it We learn the definition of the situation usually through significant others or people in our primary group who play an important role in socialization Family Roles: Each family member plays more than one role in a family Roles are relational (complimentary) because they are connected to other roles Roles also carry reciprocal rights and responsibilites Ex) Parents take care of their children, and children are expected to be obedient Roles require different behaviors both within and outside of the family Ex) Acting differently around mom and dad than you do in front of your siblings Critical Evaluation: Ignores macrolevel factors Macrolevel perspectives like poverty or single motherhood is likely to affect a families everyday life, adding stress, feelings of helplessness, and family conflict; all which have to do with everyday family interactions Interactionists have an optimistic/unrealistic view of peoples everyday choices Interactionists osverlook the irrational and unconcious aspects of behavior People often act impulsively without thinking of consequences Social Exchange Perspective: People seek through interactions to maximize their rewards and minimize their costs People will continue a relationship if there are more benefits than losses, or both are about equal What Do We Exchange? We bring a variety of resources to our relationships; energy, money, material goods, status, intelligence, control, youth, power, talent, fame, affection People 'trade' these resources for more, better, or different aspects than what they have As long as the costs are less than or equal to what they are giving, the relationship works Are Our Exchanges Conscious? Cost reward decisions may or may not be conscious Critical Evaluation: Put too much weight on rational behavior People dont always calculate reward and costs in their everyday decisions We rarely have the personal power, skills, resources, or social status to make the decisions we want Limited to explaining behavior that is motivated by immediate costs/rewards Family Systems Perspective: Views the family as a functioning unit that solves problems, makes decisions, and achieves collective goals Emphasis is not on individuals in the family; its on how they interact within the family system, how they communicate, how family patterns evolve, and how indicidual personalities affect family members What Holds Families Together? Equilibrium; a change in the family or the external envionment sets an adjustment process to restore the family in motion Ex) Illness, unemployment, death of a loved one Critical Evaluation: Generated a lot of terminology, but doesnt go into how the family really functions Created from dysfunctional families, so some question if this applies to healthy families as well Results are limited because they cant apply to larger groups Combining Theories: Researchers/Practitioners use several perspectives to interpret data/choose intervention strategies Instead of focusing on an individual, clinicians usually look at the natural enviornment, involve the childs teacher, and educate grandparents/extended family Rely on several theories at once to respond to family related issues Family Research Methods Social scientists use seven major research methods: surveys, clinical research, field research, secondary analysis, content analysis, experiments, and evaluation research. Rely on quantitative and qualitative approaches Quantitative; a large sample, non numerical material Ex) Surveys, Qualitative; focuses on a numerical analysis of peoples responses/specific characteristics Ex) Clinical Research, Neither method is better than the other; its just the strategy of using the right method to convey what you have to say; your purpose. Surveys Use of surveys to systematically collect data through questions/interviews Surveys offer many advantages; inexpensive, easy to administer, have a fast turnaround rate, usually gets more honesty than most because identities are kept confidential Face to face interviews are good because the interviewer can help if the respondent doesnt understand a question, read their body language, or gather information by examining their social class/neighborhood limitations; people lie/answer how they think they should, a lot of mail/phone surveys get ignored, biased survey sponsorships, and sometimes very expensive Clinical Research Studies individuals/small groups that go to a mental health professionals or other social scientists Many focus on family conflict and try to changge negative interactions between family members Often relies on the case study method Work with families/individuals on a one to one basis Use other research methods like experiments and direct observation Has many strengths; offers insights that enrich theories, beneficial to families/individuals seeking the long term counseling, can incorporate insights into more representative studies that use other research methods, often linked with long term counseling (case studies as well), longitudinal Offer a lot of limitations; time consuming, only people with severe problems/ willing and financially able to seek help, results arent representative of average/troubled families, subjective clinical opinions and little empirical evidence, small numbers of people, expensive Field Research (Observational Research) Collects data by systematically observing ppeople in their natural surroundings Highly structured and involves carefully designed projects Examine communication patterns More complex and sophistcated than it appears to be to the general public Participant Observation: where the researcher is part of the sample and their identity is unknown to the participants Nonparticipant Observation: researcher studies the phenomena without being a part of the situation Some are short term and ethnologies are long term Carry the strength of flexibility, deeper understanding of something in a quick fashion, can be modified over time, potentially unobtrusive Limitations include; expensiveness, time consuming, encounter multiple barriers, biased, subjective Secondary Analysis of Existing Data: Examination of data that was previously collected from someone else Can help identify bias May be historical materials, personal documents, public records, official statistics Many statistics in the textbook are secondary analysis Strengths; accessible, convenient, and inexpensive, allows researchers to examine trends over time, high quality data Limitations; May not provide the information needed,dcuments may be fragile, determining authenticity/accuracy is difficult, and may not include information the researcher is looking for Taking people's research and combining it together to create another opinion Content Analysis (Case Study) Systematic collection of some/a form of communication Can apply to any form of written/verbal communication Develops categories for coding the material, sorts and analyzes the content, and draws conclusions about the results Strengths; inexpensive, not time consuming, easy corrections, unobtrusive, can obtain specific data over time (not time conscious) Limitations; labor intensive, coding may be subjective, reflects social class bias Can be over any amount of time One person; all of their life or for some amount of time Experimental Study Carefully controlled artifical situation that allows researchers to manipulate variables and obtain a specific effect Strengths; isolation of the casual variable, low cost, can be replicated with different participants, can test for cause and effect Limitations; reliance on volunteers/paid respondents, give false answers, results cannot be generalized to a larger group, they are artificial, cannot rely on the results without replication (variables might not actually relate to eachother even if data says so), can be costly, ethical concerns, obtrusive Mainly study cause and effect relationships Based on obesrvations Evaluation Research Also known as program evaluation Process of determining whether a social intervention has caused the expected result Isnt a specific method, relies on other research methods to obtain their results It is an applied method Strengths; low cost, versatile (can address any topic), addresses common real life problems, very imformitive, can help to improve programs Limitations; flawed/inadequate (poorly designed), only address one/some factors of intervention and outcomes that affect behavior, nonprobability samples but generalizing results, only represent positive findings, findings arent well received if theyre contriversial Can be used with really large samples Ethics, Politics and Family Research: What ethical/political dillemas do family researchers encounter? Ethical Research Because so much research relies on human subjects, the government has formulated ethic codes to protect participants Do not harm the participant physically, mentally, or emotionally Must have the participants informed consent to be in the study Researchers must always protect the participant's confidentiality Scientific Dishonesty Ethical violations are mostly unintentional due to ignorance of statistical procedures, arithmetic mistakes, or inadequate supervision Some data collection methods are more prone to ethic violations Experiments and Observational Study can raise ethical questions; meanwhile, surveys and content analysis do not because researchers rarely interact with subjects Political, Religious and Community Pressures One of the most controversial research topics is human sexuality Research on teen sex bejaviot is valuablebecause it provides information that public services can circulate about STDs People suspect research of sensitive social, moral, or political issues **ON TEST: MATCH RESEARCH METHODS WITH EXAMPLES** **ON TEST:STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF RESEARCH METHODS**
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