Outline the sources of secondary data that sociologists use and assess their advantages and disadvantages

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Outline the sources of secondary data that sociologists use and assess their advantages and disadvantages. (33 marks) A source of secondary data that sociologists use is official statistics, official statistics are quantitative data created by the government or other official bodies. A ten-yearly Census of the entire UK population is done on a range of area’s e.g. births, marriages and divorces. Government use official statistics in policy-making and there are several types of sources: registration, official surveys and administrative records. Official statistics are free source of quantities date, is quick to access and is available on a range of topics. Official statistics also shows up-to-date trends and trends over time, this allows…show more content…
Also official statistics are created by the state which feminist regard as maintaining patriarchal oppression. Official statistics are a form of patriarchal ideology, they conceal or legitimate gender inequality and maintain women’s subordination. Even though some statistics do not measure what they claim but this doesn’t mean that all official statistics are equally invalid. There are hard and soft statistics, soft statistics tend to give a much less valid picture of reality. They often come from administrative records created by state agencies such as the health service, police, courts and schools. The soft statistics represent a record of the decisions made by these agencies rather than a picture of the world. E.g. truancy statistics show the number of pupils schools have caught truanting/defined as truanting, not the same thing as the number who actually truanted. Soft statistics often have a ‘dark figure’ of unrecorded cases this is due to many reasons e.g. victims not reporting a crime or if crimes are seen as too petty agencies might not record them. Whereas hard statistics provide more of a valid picture e.g. statistics on births, marriages and divorces. This is because there is little dispute as to how define the categories used to collect data and they are often created from registration data (there is a legal requirement to register births and deaths). Documents are another source of secondary data that
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