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Studying Marriage and the Family Thinking Critically Theories Research Methods

Studying Marriage and the Family Thinking Critically Theories Research Methods. Thinking Critically about Marriage and the Family. Our values, experiences and knowledge influence our thinking. Using critical thinking helps us to understand thinks clearly.

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Studying Marriage and the Family Thinking Critically Theories Research Methods

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  1. Studying Marriage and the FamilyThinking Critically TheoriesResearch Methods

  2. Thinking Critically about Marriage and the Family • Our values, experiences and knowledge influence our thinking. • Using critical thinking helps us to understand thinks clearly. • Objectivity- Means to suspend the beliefs, biases, or prejudices we have about a subject until we really understand what is being said.

  3. Opinions- are based on our own experiences or ways of thinking. • Biases- are strong opinions that may create barriers to hearing anything that is contrary to our opinion.

  4. Stereotypes- are sets of simplistic, rigidly held, and overgeneralized beliefs about the personal characteristics of a group of people. • Examples: • Nuclear families are best. • Stepfamilies are unhappy. • Lesbians and gay men cannot be good parents. • Latino families are poor. • Husbands are henpecked.

  5. Fallacies- are errors in reasoning. • egocentric fallacy- is the mistaken belief that everyone has the same experiences and values that we have and therefore should think as we do. • ethnocentric fallacy- is the belief that one’s own ethnic group, nation, or culture is innately superior to others.

  6. Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful. • Margret Mead (1901-1978)

  7. Theories and Research Methods • scientific methods- well-established procedures used to collect information about family experiences.

  8. Theories of Marriages and Families • A theory is a set of general principles or concepts used to explain data and to make predictions that may be empirically tested. • Research is found in journals that are peer reviewed such as Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Family Issues, Family Relations, Journal of Sex Research.

  9. Operationalization identifies how the researcher measures the concepts. What tools they use to gather the data. • Variables- aspects or factors that can be manipulated in experiments. Your marital status, gender, age, social class, etc. • Independent variables- are factors that can be unaffected by other variables. age, gender. • Dependent variables- are factors that can be affected by other variables.

  10. Theoretical Perspectives on Families • Symbolic Interaction Theory- a theory that looks at how people interact with each other. Symbolic interactionists, are concerned with relationships. • Interaction- a reciprocal act.Interactions are the everyday words and actions that take place between people. For an interaction to occur, there must be at least two people who react and respond to each other.

  11. Symbols- words or gestures that stand for something else. When we interact with people, we do more than simply react to them. We interpret or define their symbols. • Symbolic interactionism looks at how people interact with one another, communicating with symbols and gestures. • Interaction is a reciprocal act that takes place between people and uses symbols.

  12. Symbolic interaction tends to minimize the role of power in relationships. • It doesn’t account for the psychological aspects of life, emphasizes individualism.

  13. Social Exchange Theory • Social Exchange Theory- we measure our actions and relationships on a cost-benefit basis. People maximize their rewards and minimize their costs by employing their resources to gain the most favorable outcome. • The Social exchange theory examines actions and relationships in terms of costs and benefits.

  14. In personal relationships, resources, rewards, and costs are more likely to be things such as love, companionship, status, power, fear and loneliness, rather than tangibles, such as money. • Problems with social exchange theory include: it has difficulty ascertaining the value of cost and rewards; and values which are assigned are highly individualistic.

  15. Family Development Theory • Family Development Theory- examines the changes in the family beginning with marriage and proceeding through a set number of stages.

  16. 1. beginning family, • 2. childbearing families, • 3. families with preschool children, • 4. families with adolescence, • 6. families as launching centers, • 7. families in middle years, and • 8. aging families.

  17. The lives of all people involve response to certain universal developmental challenges. • The life cycle model gives insight into the complexities of family life, circumstances over time. • Family development theory provides a framework with which to view the maturational development of individuals as it influences and is influenced by the social environment of the family.

  18. Critique is that this theory assumes the sequential processes of intact, nuclear families. It doesn’t take into account childless families, divorce, single headed households or lesbian headed households. Many go through the same changes but the length often varies.

  19. Structural Functionalism • Structural Functionalism theorizes about how society works, how families work, and how families relate to larger society and to their own members. • It examines how the family organizes itself for survival and what functions the family performs for its members.

  20. Structural functionalists encourage men to develop instrumental traits and women to develop expressive traits.

  21. Criticism of this theory include: • 1. it cannot be tested empirically; • 2. it is not always clear what function a particular structure • serves; • 3. it has a conservative bias against change; and • 4. it looks at the family abstractly and has little relevance to real families in the real world.

  22. Conflict Theory • Conflict Theory- maintains that life involves discord; society is divided rather than cooperative. • Conflict theorists view conflict as a natural part of family life and not necessarily bad. • Conflict theory recognizes four sources of power; legitimacy, money, physical coercion, and love.

  23. Criticisms of this theory include: • 1. it fails to recognize the power of love or bonding; • 2. it assumes differences lead to conflict; and • 3. conflict in families is not easily measured or evaluated.

  24. Family Systems Theory • Family Systems Theory-sees the family as a structure of related subsystems. • An important task of subsystems is maintaining boundaries: When the boundaries become blurred, the family becomes dysfunctional.

  25. Family systems therapists and researchers believe: • (1) interactions must be studied in the context of the family systems theory; • (2) the family has a structure only visible in its interactions; • (3) the family is a purposeful system which seeks homeostasis; and • (4) despite resistance to change, each family system is transformed over time. • Many of the basic concepts of family systems theory are still in dispute.

  26. Feminist Perspective • Feminist Perspective—is not a unified theory. Gender differences are the orienting focus in most feminist writing, research, and advocacy. • 1. Feminists maintain family and gender roles have been socially constructed as ways by which men maintain power over women.

  27. 2. Feminists urge a more extended view of family to include all kinds of sexually interdependent adult relationships regardless of the legal, residential, or parental status. • 3. Feminists campaign to raise society’s level of awareness to the oppression of women and associate their concern for greater sensitivity to all disadvantaged groups.

  28. 4. The feminist agenda is to attend to the social context as it impacts personal experience and to work to translate personal experience into community action and social critique. • 5. The feminist perspective includes a variety of viewpoints. These viewpoints have an integrating focus relating to power and the inequality of power prevailing in the positions of men and women in society and especially in family life.

  29. Conducting Research on Families • scientific methods- well-established procedures used to collect information about family experiences. • quantitative research- is research that deals with large quantities of information. • Survey research and experimental research are examples of quantitative research.

  30. qualitative research- research that is concerned with a detailed understanding of the object of study. • secondary data analysis- It involves the reanalyzing of data originally collected for another purpose. Examples are analyzing U.S. Census data and official statistics, such as state marriage, birth, and divorce records.

  31. Survey research- uses questionnaires or interviews, is the most popular data-gathering technique in marriage and family studies. Surveys may be conducted in person, over the telephone, or by written questionnaires. • Clinical Research- involves in-depth examination of a person or a small group of people who come to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker with psychological or relationship problems.

  32. Case-study method- consists of a series of individual interviews, is the most traditional approach of all clinical research. • Observational research- scholars attempt to study behavior systematically through direct observation while remaining as unobtrusive as possible.

  33. Experimental Research • Experimental research- researchers isolate a single factor under controlled circumstances to determine its influence. Researchers are able to control their experiments by using variables.

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