Critical Thinking

In elements that are known directly to experience

In this first part of this report, there will be a
development of sociological theories, and this report will show my
understanding of how research can be used to understand a social issue. A
chronological overview will be done starting from the history of social theory,
using sources I have found to back up my discussion.  And in the second part of this report I will cover
a topic area on domestic violence, describing and summarising a positivist and
interpretivist journal articles by Sanmani, Sheppard and Chapman, (2013) and
Thornton (2014), and discussing how research contributes to knowledge in the
topic area and how reading the topic area helped me in understanding the
process better.

During the 1700s the Enlightenment was a social
movement that happened throughout the whole of England, Germany, France, and in
other parts of the European Union. It was emerged out by the scientific
revolution in early 1500 transforming every part of the world (Sparknotes.com,
2018).  In 1789 the French revolution
marked the recognition of republican ideals. These republican beliefs of
opportunity, freedom and native rights brought the old agrarian administration
and outright government to an end. The French revolution is frequently observed
to some degree, the result of mid-eighteenth-century European enlightenment
thoughts which overtime opposed tradition and religious traditional bodies of authority,
promoting philosophical and logical ideas of reason as the fundamental approach
to advance in human affairs. (Giddens and Sutton, 2016).

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Auguste Comte (1798-1857), who introduced the world
‘sociology’ around 1840. Comte approach to positivist
”was based on the principle of direct observation with theoretical statements
aimed at establishing causal, law-like generalizations” Giddens and Sutton (2016,
p.72). Positivism is a principle which says that science ought to be
concerned just with discernible elements that are known directly to experience (Giddens and Sutton, 2016).
Thus, positivism formed a vital role in the Enlightenment tradition: science
and affirmations restricted metaphysics and speculation; faith and revelation
were no longer acceptable as sources of knowledge (Swingewood, 2000).  

The ideas of Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) a French
sociologist, had more effect on sociology than those of Auguste Comte. Durkheim
considered sociology to be another science that changed customary philosophical
investigation into sociological ones which asked genuine research studies.
Durkheim argued that we should study social life with an indistinct objectivity
as experts study the natural world (Giddens and Sutton, 2016). Functionalism as
a distinct technique and concept of society originated first within the work of
Comte, Spencer, and Durkheim (Swingewood,
2000). Functionalism a sociological approach would be described by relating the
society to the human body, and for us to know the importance of these organs in
the human body we need to know the functions each of them carries and how they
work together in supplying the basic needs of human life (Browne, 2008).

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) was the founder
of modern structuralism (Swingewood, 2000), Structuralism puts forward a
different view of the role of a person in the society, this theory focuses on
how a person behaves in the society, his or her values and attitudes are
controlled by the government and the environment in which they live in, and
mostly the social groups to which they belong to in their society (Larkin,
2011).

George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) owes so much to
symbolic interactionism (Giddens and Sutton, 2016), this theory is interested in
the way people behave and interact socially. For example, teenagers and a group
of friends have different ways of interacting with one another, they sometimes
make use of body languages, gestures to communicate with one another this to
some extent may form part of the norm to the society in a subjective manner
(Larkin, 2011).  Phenomenology, on the
other hand, has been one of the key intellectual traditions that have been
accountable for the anti-positivist position. It is essentially what an
individual is perceiving right and what a person is experiencing regardless of
what on the outside (Bryman, 2016).

Critical theory occurred during the Marxist
tradition, and it was established by a set of theorists at the University of
Frankfurt in Germany who called themselves The Frankfurt School. “Critical
theory effectively separated itself from fundamental concepts of Marxism such
as class struggle and the leading role of the working class in social change” Swingewood
(2000, p.132). There are contemporary manifestations of critical theory which
include: Feminist theories, critical race theory, gender and queer theory and
media theory and media studies (Palmer, 2017).

 

SUMMARY
OF RESEARCH STUDIES ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE  

POSITIVIST 

Domestic violence has an enormous prevalence in the United
Kingdom, with one out of four women and one out of six men encountering
domestic violence throughout their lifetime. One incident of domestic violence
is reported to the police each minute and two women are killed each week by
their present partner or ex-partner.

Domestic violence has remained the main cause of morbidity
for women between the ages of 19-44years and has a relationship with sexual
medical issues. The negative effect domestic violence has on women’s health has
been recognised by researchers which are an unwanted pregnancy, sexually
transmitted diseases, and mental health problems. 

The aim of this research study carried out was to identify
domestic violence from 12 months and the entire lifetime of both male and
female and to find out the association between age, employment status, gender, occupation,
marital status, misuse of alcohol and drugs.

In July 2009, an anonymous self-questionnaire was given out
to patients attending Bournemouth genitourinary medicine clinic to discover
associations between lifetime domestic violence and sociodemographic, sexual
and behavioural factors. Overall, the percentage of this study shows that 21
percent pronounced that they have been battered by their partner 12 percent of
men and 29 percent of women.

Research shows that women are more likely to report lifetime
domestic violence than men because men find it difficult to report domestic
violence to their local authorities. It also shows that married men and women
were less likely to report domestic violence than those who are single, which
means that marital status was non-significant.

In a nutshell what this study found out was that using
logistic regression that being a female and having children, misuse of drugs
were essential factors linked to lifetime domestic violence (Sanmani, Sheppard and Chapman, 2013).

 

INTERPRETIVIST

Whilst domestic violence is all over the place in the United
Kingdom, it occurs mostly in varieties of personal and hereditary relationships
irrespective of their cultural backgrounds, social, and educational groups.
Young children who are living with domestic violence and who have experienced
domestic violence have low communication skills and find it hard to express
their feelings towards others than those from non-violent homes.

In the early 1980s, some researchers began to question
domestic violence using quantitative methodologies asking mothers to attempt
some questionnaire about violence that transpired in their various homes and
what indicators have they observed in each of their children. Children living
with domestic violence have described feeling lonely and neglected or
struggling to share how they feel due to restrictions on their peer groups or
through doubts of not been believed by professionals. These children need
assistance to be able to share their experiences and feelings which have been said
to be helplessness, frustration, guilt, and fear.

All participants that took part in this study were white
British mothers between the ages of 24 and 42 years old, their relationship
with their violent partners ended between two years and six months prior to the
study, they were recruited through voluntary sector agencies working with
survivors of domestic violence, with the help of some support workers provided,
they gave some written information about what the study is all about to the
mothers of the children and the mothers will have to discuss the study with
their child.

The study aimed to sincerely pay attention to young
children’s perspectives on their experience and deal with them as active
participants in the research process, though this research was done within a
small sample size groups, it neglects other variables, its findings make an
interesting contribution to understanding the emotional impact of domestic
violence on younger children. It is paramount for clinical and educational
professionals to be aware of important indicators expressed by young children
through presentations (drawings) and behaviour Thornton
(2014).

 

 

DISCUSSION

Research has shown that domestic
violence is common in the United Kingdom. According to the World Health Organisation
domestic violence happens all over the world.  A study was carried out by the Commonwealth
Fund they assessed that just about four million women are physically mishandled
every year in the United States, while a 1995 survey carried out by the Beijing
Marriage and Family Affairs Research Institute found out that 23 percent of
husbands confessed to beating their wives. (Giddens and Sutton, 2016).

The qualitative study I looked at was
to understand the emotional impact of domestic violence on young children by
hearing directly from them about their experience within their families. But
the other study looked at, how a person socioeconomic factors, sexual
behaviours, misuse of drugs and alcohol are associated with lifetime domestic
violence.

The quantitative study showed the
scale and prevalence of domestic violence for example, one out of four men and
one out of six men experience domestic violence during their lifetime, while
the other study showed that 25 percent to 30 percent of women going through domestic
violence over their lifetime with a typical beginning at the season of
pregnancy, birth, or when their children are small.

The participants that took part in
the qualitative study were survivors of domestic violence who were recruited
via voluntary sector agencies, where eight children from five families took
part in the study and their mothers were interviewed to confirm if their
children had witnessed physical and verbal aggression directed at their mother,
either from inside a similar room or caught from another room in the house. But
the other study was done in a hospital located within the District General
Hospital that offers both Sexual Health and HIV services, it was done on
patients in Bournemouth genitourinary medicine clinic to see how occupation,
age, gender, environment, drugs, and alcohol, to see how these factors are
associated with domestic violence using Predictive Analytics Software. While
the qualitative used projective play and drawings can be used on the young
children who have experienced domestic violence because they find the hard to
express themselves and make their voices and need to be heard.

What I found good in the qualitative
study is that ethical considerations were taken place in both studies which I
looked at, the qualitative study ensured that the children are protected from
potential harm, their mothers and children were given right to opt-out from the
study at any time and the children packs that were given to them used the right
language for their age and photographs of to explain why they are participating
in the study, confidentiality was made clear and also consent was checked again
by the researcher at the beginning of each child’s session, but consent from
their mothers did not assume consent from their child.

But the other study there was a space
on the questionnaire to decline if they would like to take part or not which 2
percent of women and 8 percent of men declined to complete the questionnaire,
this was the only ethical consideration I could find in this study which was a
bit worrying for me. 

To what I have found out from other
sources, all research studies with human participants or their personal
information raise ethical issues that researchers must deal it (Jacobsen, 2012).
The issue of confidentiality raises problems for many styles of qualitative
research studies, while in quantitative research studies it is easy to make
records anonymous and to report findings in a manner that does not permit
individuals to be recognised (Bryman, 2016).

 Conclusion

Finally, this report has demonstrated an
understanding of how a qualitative and a quantitative research study can be used
to understand a social issue

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