Evaluation of Methods - Sociology Essay Example
The major problem I had during carrying out this research was that, it was difficult for me to find Indians from the last generation who were brought up in the Indian society - Evaluation of Methods introduction. Most of them moved here at a young age, therefore it would mean that they would have grown up in a British society and tend to have the British norms and values and not the Indian culture.
Another trouble that I had to face was; asking teenagers for their opinion on arranged marriages. As I asked teenagers from the age of 13, some of them had not decided or thought of their marriages, and they felt they cannot complete the questionnaire, as they had no idea of the marriage that they would like to have, and returned the questionnaire uncompleted. Therefore it was difficult for me to evaluate my questions, as most of them were unanswered. I solved this problem by; as I gave out the questionnaires than the expected amount, I used those results to complete my results, so at the end I did get the total of 20.
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The main disadvantage was that; my respondents knew what I my trying to find out, so they gave answer which would agree with my hypothesis. For example, some might be for arranged marriages, nevertheless my hypothesis says the opposite, and consequently they would give the answer that will prove my hypothesis. Even though it is good on one hand, as there is more chance of proving my hypothesis is correct; however this will not give me an accurate result of what the respondents’ actual view on arranged marriages. This will certainly affect my results.
Another disadvantage of my method was that; some respondents were doing the questionnaire in groups. Even though they were meant to do it independently, some did it in groups. This will definitely affect my results. When doing it together, they will often share their views to each other, and the result of this would be that each of their answer will be influenced by each other. If one thought that arranged marriages are actually very good, but as doing it with their friends, there will be more chance of them writing down what their friends think, meaning that their results will depend on their friends’ results. This therefore shows that, my results are not going to accurate, since some of the results are not going to be accurate because some of the answers were relied upon others’ answers.
Quota sampling was another problem. To reduce my time and money, I have used this sampling but this is not completely random, and each individual did not have an equal opportunity of being selected. As I just randomly picked each of them, it could have been a group of friends who share the same opinions. So their results will depend on each others, therefore this will affect the precision of my results.
However, the most useful observation about my method was my pilot study. I had many problems with my pilot study, including; some of them did not understand the questions clearly, some misunderstood the question and also I did not include some relevant questions which could be very useful for my research. From doing the pilot study, it gave me a chance for me to improve my questionnaire, so the results I get are more relevant to the topic, and also my respondents understand the questions unmistakably.
My sample may not have been representive because, sociologists would know that a small and a representive sample will only reflect the group from which it is drawn from. So the larger the group of sample, the more precise answer will be reflected. However the rate in which improvement in the precision decreases as the sample size increases. However, I have only done 40 samples from both age groups, if I was to increase the sample from 40 to at least 80, so the precision of the sample will double. Also my research is on the whole of UK, but I have only asked people in London and only from some areas. This means that this is not representive to the whole of population in UK.
My results may not have been accurate because of the problems with my sampling and methods. The data I have collected are not very accurate, for example the questions I asked teenagers and adults about; if they consider themselves if they have traditional Indian value. The results for this question may not be accurate because, some may have thought they have the traditional Indian values for certain factors but do not for others, but given the answer was YES. Therefore it means that these results are not very accurate. Nevertheless according to all my questions I think my results are good enough to prove/disprove my hypothesis and answer my questions in my aims.
My first aim was to do a survey to find about either younger Indians and elder Indians prefer arranged or love marriage.
I found out that 70% of the population of 20 from the previous generation had an arranged marriage, but only 10% wants to get an arranged marriage from this generation. This shows how the issue on arranged marriage has changed from the Indians who were born and brought up in India and the teenagers who were born and brought up in the western society. But this does not necessarily mean that amongst the teenagers 90% will defiantly not get an arranged marriage, but their opinion is against the issue of arranged marriage. This can be seen from the first question that 50% teenagers said that arranged marriages are bad.
As most of them have a strong negative opinion about arranged marriages, therefore it means that it is less likely for them to get an arranged marriage, but their opinion could change in their future life, therefore I cannot actually say that these 90% will defiantly not get an arranged marriage. This is also similar to those 10% who said they do not want to get an arranged marriage. Their opinion may change in the future and may want to get love marriage. But by looking at this question it can be seen that the amount of people who had an arranged marriage in the previous generation is higher than those younger Indians who wants to get an arranged marriage in the future.
In my sociological context I have said, this difference can arise for several factors;
It could be because of ‘assimilation’. The state of change in the teenagers mind could have made them to assimilate form the traditional Indian values to the Western British values. This can be proved from the question I asked them whether if they thought they had the traditional Indian values. The adults’ response was that 65% said they did in their teenage ages and 40% said yes from the teenagers from this generation. This shows the decrease in the number of people for those who follow follows the traditional Indian values. To prove this it could be because of assimilation. This can be seen from the question I asked them about whether their opinion about arranged marriages would differ if they lived in UK/India.
The adults responded that; 60% said yes, that their opinion would change if they lived in UK when they were young, and similarly 60% of the teenagers said that their opinion would change if they lived in India. From this it would appear that, in order to ‘fit in’ with the western society teenagers feel that they have to change opinions on certain issues. As arranged marriages are seen ‘not common’ in this British society, and many people are against it, those Indians who were brought up according to this society would more likely to assimilate their opinion too.
The next context I have believed was important was primary and secondary socialisation. People in India are taught and grown up differently to people in UK. The social norms expected from both societies are different. In India, from a young age children are expected to learn that arranged marriages are the ‘best’ and ‘normal’ way of getting married, but in this society it was seen the opposite; they were taught that love marriage is the most ‘best’ and ‘normal’ way of getting married.
Therefore people here and there are socialised differently and this means that their opinions will differ. Indians who were born and brought up in UK would definitely be socialised into this society, this is to assimilate them here. This can be seen from the question I asked them about the importance of marriage which is placed in India/UK. For this question 100% of the adults population said that there is a lot of importance is placed on weddings in India and not much in UK. This shows, the way in which these people are socialised, more importance of weddings is placed in India than in UK.
Another context, I have said is the culture in both these countries are totally different. The culture on arranged marriages is stricter India than in UK. This can be seen from the question whether their opinion about arranged marriages if they lived in India/UK and why. The adults’ response was that 50% said it is because of the difference in the culture too. Both these age groups thought their opinion will change depending on the country which they live in; as the culture will differ.
The final context I have said is about the norms and values which is learnt is different in both these two societies. More expectations are placed on Indians in India than Indians in UK. These norms and values are learnt from their culture and primary and secondary socialisation. It is the norm to get and arranged marriage in India, and as it is followed from the ancient times, the values expected from each individual are high.
Whereas the norm in UK is to get love marriage, and the values expected for them to get an arranged marriage is very, very small. This can be seen from the question I asked them about, what they thought of arranged marriages. The adults responded that 75% said it is very good but the teenagers’ response was 10% which said it was very good. This shows how people’s opinion on arranged marriages from the same background has changed according to what they have learnt and taught.
As the norms and values is FOR love marriage, this is what young Indians assimilate. This context can also be proved by the question I asked about teenagers what they thought of the Indian culture promoting arranged marriages. Most of them answered ‘unsure’. This is because if they were brought up in India the norms and values which they would learn are different, so they will be brought up thinking that is the ‘best’ way of marriage. But in this country it is not the same, so they feel they cannot just agree or disagree on the Indian culture promoting arranged marriages and the norms and values which are taught and learnt is different.
My second aim was to compare these two sets of results and see the link between them. By comparing these results, I have seen that their opinion on arranged marriages change according to the society in which they were brought up in. All my results and my graphs for my questions show that people from the last generation are more supportive and in favor for arranged marriages, but people who were brought up in UK in this British culture are more against the issue of arranged marriages.
Many people at that time had an arranged marriage that was brought up according to the Indian culture but teenagers who were brought up in this culture do not want to get an arranged marriage in the future, as their opinions are all against the issue. This comparison can be seen from the answers I got from the questionnaire. For adults 70% said they did have an arranged marriage and amongst teenagers only 10% would like to have an arranged marriage in the future.
My final aim was to prove or disprove my hypothesis. From these results I have collected, I conclude that arranged marriages are decline amongst Indian communities in UK. This is due to assimilation, culture and primary and secondary socialisation. However, this hypothesis could not be proved in relation to the whole of society as my results were not accurate due to an unrepresentative sample group. Therefore, generalization cannot be drawn and applied to wider society based on such methods.
For this research I have decided to use a questionnaire. It is a series of written questions which people have to complete it themselves. The benefit of a good questionnaire that it asks people the right questions to find the information that the researcher wants to find about, in a clear and as simple as possible and as short as possible.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of using a questionnaire but also some disadvantages. The most important advantages of using a questionnaire are that;
It is very useful for reaching a large number of people as they just are handed out to widely dispersed people. It reduces bias, as the researcher’s opinion will not influence the participant doing the questionnaire in a certain way. And finally it will be easier for me to analyse a questionnaire compared to alternative methods.
But on the other hand the disadvantages of using questionnaires are that; the questions are standardized, so the questions cannot be clearly explained, this means that the participants may misinterpret the question. Another problem is that, open ended questions can cause many problems as it may take a long time to analyse the questions. Questionnaires may be answered superficially by the respondents as it may take a long time to complete it. They may not answer it truthfully as they could think it will not be beneficial or they might even penalize by giving their real opinion about the topic.
These problems can be sorted by;
By making sure that the participants do not misinterpret the questions, a pilot study should be taken on a small group of participants, so that the participants fully understand the questions.
The problem of large amounts of result can be reduced by limiting the space available for the students to write their answer of sample students and only survey portion of them. I cannot avoid asking open questions, as it is necessary for me to get in depth some opinions. But this does not mean they have to write a lot.
To reduce the problem of participants answering superficially is by avoiding too many people to answer the questionnaire.
To issue of answering the questionnaire not truthfully and thinking unbeneficial can be avoided by letting the participants know the information which is being collected is beneficial and also telling them to answer the questions as honestly as possible and tell if their response is negative it is just as a positive opinion.
I decided not to do an interview because it takes a lot of time, as I have to go around each individual and ask them the questions. Whereas if it was a questionnaire, I can just give it to them and they can complete it in their own time, as this would not take a long time. Another problem is that it is not useful for a large number of people. As before, it will take a long time to ask each question on a big scale. Finally, in an interview it is difficult to discuss personal questions. This will make them answer untruthfully and will definitely affect my results. For these reasons I think that a questionnaire is better than an interview, as problems in the questionnaire can be solved simple than an interview.
It is not possible for me to give every single person a questionnaire; therefore I have to select a small sample of the overall group. The sampling method I am going to use for my investigation is Quota sampling. Quota sampling is where the “interviewer is told to go out and interview an exact number of specifically identified groups of people in direct proportion to the existence in the population as a whole” (source; sociology alive by Stephen Moore).
The advantages of using Quota sampling is that it is very quick to organize. However the disadvantages are that it is not representive of the population as a whole compared to other sampling methods. Also, as it is non-random, it is hard to find out the possible sampling errors. So, for this investigation I know half the population is going to be teenagers and the other half going to be older people from both gender, so the interviewers are told to find people from both the age groups in both gender (male and female) in the correct proportion of the population.
Ethics is very important when doing a research. It is being responsible for your respondents. In this study I will ensure that this research is entirely ethical. I will do this by;
Keeping the questionnaire confidential- this means that I will ensure that the names of people who took part in my study are kept secret. I will do this by making sure the questionnaire is anonymous. This means that the participants do not need to put their name in the questionnaire. I will leave these questionnaires with my teacher and if anyone wants to fill them in, they can do it and return it to the teacher, so that I will not know who did which questionnaire.
I will also ensure that this questionnaire is an informed consent research. This means that I will tell the person what the study is about and ask them if they would be willing to take part in the study before I get them to complete the questionnaire. As, this would be an anonymous questionnaire, at the top of the questions I will write what this reach is about and they can choose if do or do not want to take part in my research.
Finally, I will make sure that there is not harm done to my participants. This means that I will ensure that the person who takes part in this study does not come to any harm either physically or emotionally. I will do this by not asking the person any embarrassing questions or forcing them to answer any questions.
For this research I am going to ask 20 people from both age groups. For the teenagers I am going to ask people between the ages 13-19 and for adults I am going to ask between the age groups of 30-40.
Before I carry out my research I am going to do a trail run (pilot study) to see if the participants understand the questions clearly and see if I need to make any improvements in my questionnaire to make the questions more relevant to my topic.
Before any study is conducted by the researcher, they will want to conduct a ‘dry-run’ just to make sure that have got everything right. This ‘dry-run’ is called a pilot study. There may be problems with the way questions have been written so people cannot understand them, or perhaps there are too many questions so that people get bored. To make sure this does not happen it is my responsibility to firstly conduct a pilot study. It would help me to identify any problems and would enable me to make changes before carrying out my full scale study.
After doing the pilot study I spotted that I had to improve some of my questions to make them more relevant to the topic I am researching and also improve the way my questions are phrased so the respondents understand them more clearly.
Age and gender
These factors will enable me to make links between the data obtained from particular groups of people. I think these questions are fine, so I am going to keep this for my real questionnaire. From this I can be able to see that I am not biased that I ask both genders from a variety of age groups.
‘What do you think about arranged marriages?’
I think this question is quite important to the topic which I am researching, therefore it is necessary for me to keep this question, but I have given them space to write their opinions, but for me to easily analyze the data it is necessary for me to keep the questions as closed as possible and also I have to make sure my participants do not get bored of writing. This means, I think I should give them a list of options which they can choose from. This would make it much easier for them to choose their answer from and for me to analyse the results.
‘Did you get an arranged marriage?’
This is also an important question for this research, it is necessary for me to keep this question. From my pilot study I do not think anyone had any problems with this question, so there is no need for me to change this question.
‘Did you follow the Indian culture in your teenage years?’
Again this question is significant to my topic for me to compare and see if the old generation followed the Indian culture and if the Indian children who were grown up in this British culture follow the Indian culture too. There seems to be no problem with this question therefore I am keeping it the same.
‘Do you think arranged marriages have been less popular for the last 10 years? And why?
This question is needed in my questionnaire for me to find out the opinion of how they think the culture of the new generation of Indian children in UK has changed. Just from my pilot study I had a variety of answers which I think would help me to support my sociological context.
‘From your experience what would you prefer?’
This question would help me to compare which type of marriage they had and if this differs from the way they got married. This way I can see if they prefer the marriage in the way they got married or if the other is a better option.
‘Do you think your answer will differ about arranged marriages if you lived in UK when you were younger? If yes why?
This question is also important to my questionnaire as from this I can see if it makes a difference to people’s attitude towards arranged marriage depending if they live in UK or India, and I can find out the reason why they think this.
‘How much importance is placed on weddings in India?’
This question is necessary to my topic as it is possible for me to see from their experience how much importance a wedding is in India. But in order to improve my question, I can also ask how much importance is placed on weddings in UK. Therefore I can compare both of the results and see what they think about marriages in both countries, and how they are considered to differ.
‘Do you think the number of arranged marriages is on the decline in UK?’
This question would help me to conclude my overall hypothesis so it is important for me to keep this question.
‘Age and Gender’
Similar to the adults’ questionnaire the questions on their gender and the age are fine so I kept them for my real questionnaire.
‘What do you think about arranged marriages?’
This is an important question for me to see what the teenagers in UK think about arranged marriages and if this question contrasts the answers given by the adults. However I have given them space to write their opinion, to reduce the chance of them getting bored of writing and to make it easy for me, I think I should give them a range of options for them to choose from. So, it is easy for them to choose the answer which they think is more suitable for them. To make this question more relevant, I should also include another question, asking in which way they want to get married. This idea was given to me by one of my respondent. As this question would tell me a rough idea of what their future decision is going to be, so it is possible for me to see if the amount of arranged marriages is going to drop and also see if it has already dropped.
‘In which way did your parents get married?’
This question would help me to see if their answer on marriages differs from the type of marriage their parents had. However, the problem with this question is that, it might be difficult for some people as their parents did not have a marriage at all, but cohabitating. This means to improve the question I should ask ‘if your parent did get married, in which way did they get married?’
‘Do you think you follow the Indian culture?’
This question, from my pilot study many people found it difficult to answer this question. This is because the question is not specific enough. They were not sure in which way I meant culture, i.e. food, clothes etc. This means I have to make this question a bit more detailed by asking if they hold the traditional Indian values. This would make it clearer for people answering the question.
‘What do you think about the Indian culture promoting arranged marriage?’
This question would help me to see what the teenagers’ opinion about arranged marriage in India. If they are against the arranged marriage then it would mean the opinion on the Indian culture is different according to what is supposed to be. The question ‘why’ would let me see their personal reason on what they think about arranged marriages.
‘Do you think your answer will differ about arranged marriages if you were living in India?’
This question would help me if their opinion on marriages would change according to the society in which they are living in. It is relevant for me to keep this question.
The question ‘why’, would let me know how their opinion differ. From this i would be able to compare it to my sociological context and if those were the reason which made them change.
Overall from both my questionnaires I made some changes to make it more relevant to my topic and easier for my respondents to easily understand the questions.
One major improvement to both my questionnaires is that, at the top I should say what this research is about, this is to make my research ethical. Also, from the questionnaire for the adults at the top I should also say that they should only complete the questionnaire only if they are married.
Finally at the end of the questions I should say thank-you for their time spending doing the questionnaire.