Essay by 212575High School, 12th gradeA, November 2014

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Using the pre-release material and your wider sociological knowledge, explain and evaluate the use of a variety of quantitative data collection/ mixed methods in researching the value of integrative play for children.

The pre-release material (PRM) states that the aim of Holden's research was to, "examine the extent to which children's play at different ages and in different settings either reinforces or overcomes the segregation of different ethnic groups." Holden attempts to gather quantitative data in order to address his aim. This means that Holden is approaching his research from a positivist point of view. Positivism is the view that sociology can and should use the methods of the natural sciences. They believe that sociologists should use quantitative methods and aim to identify and measure social structures. The advantage of using quantitative data rather than qualitative data is usually that the researcher is able to more easily quantify analyse the data collected than qualitative data.

On the other hand, qualitative data is often seen as being more valid- it allows a researcher to uncover meanings behind actions and is therefore favoured by interpretivists. The interpretivist approach is where researchers take a micro-level view of society, focusing on small-scale face-to-face interaction usually involving qualitative data.

In this essay, I will be addressing whether Holden has managed to conduct his research successfully using several methods from a positivist position, or whether his research would have been more successful if he had introduced qualitative data collection methods and taken an interpretivist's approach.

Before conducting his research, Holden and his team would have had to operationalize any potentially problematic terms, such as "children", and "ethnic". Operationalisation refers to the transformation of an abstract, theoretical concept into something observable, and measurable in an empirical research project. For example, what, in Holden's view, constitutes...