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Family troubles?Exploring changes and challenges in the family lives of children and young people$
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Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Carol-Ann Hooper, and Val Gillies

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447304432

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.001.0001

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The role of science in understanding family troubles

The role of science in understanding family troubles

(p.45) Chapter Four The role of science in understanding family troubles
Family troubles?

Michael Rutter

Policy Press

This chapter considers methodological issues in researching family troubles, arguing that ‘good science’ can make key contributions to the field in terms of determining rates and patterns of family troubles (including ‘normal variations’), their origins and environmental mediation, and variations in the ways in which children experience their upbringing. It argues for rigorous attention to methodologies and methods, including: systematic sampling and good measurement, well-focused and incisive questions, the use of a range of research strategies, the testing of alternative explanations and the examination of inter- and intra-group variations. It further develops themes to illustrate how good science (through both quantitative and qualitative research studies) can contribute in practice including the making of generalizations, responsiveness to the unexpected in research, consideration of the meanings of the measures used, attention to social interactions as well as to the point of view of the individual, and considerations of heterogeneity.

Keywords:   Methodology, Family troubles, Science, Quantitative methods, Qualitative methods

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