Different problems discussed

I will be analyzing the work of Ann Oakley and Liz Kelly. Both The sociology of housework and Surviving sexual violence are texts which are familiar in the feminist field. Both texts cover issues which are relevant to many women in society today, and as a woman I find it interesting to read the different problems discussed. The Sociology Of Housework was published in 1974. It considers a different method towards women’s domestic conditions, and is the first study to look at housework, as employment. The main part of the text looks at research study of women’s views towards housework.

The classic study was initially carried out for a doctoral dissertation. British sociologist Ann Oakley confused many other sociologists, who could not understand why housework would be of interest to sociology. This is because Oakley believed that the key topic of the book has some significance to the issue of sexism and links the two topics of prejudice against women in sociology and sociological neglect to housework. Surviving Sexual Violence was first published in 1988. The main part of the book is based on a feminist sociological study, which covers women’s experiences of sexual violence.

Kelly focuses on how women describe there incidents of the different forms of sexual violence and how they build up approaches to oppose and deal with it. Kelly explains the importance of feminist analysis, and involvement in theses practices by emphasizing how the criminal justice system and media add to the belittling of sexual violence. The text includes the findings of the study and draws attention to the significance for women to identify the occurrence of sexual violence in their lives and not to perceive themselves as victims.

She reflects on the outcome of the study for political organizations and feminist services so they can contribute towards putting an end to this dilemma. Oakley used in-depth interviews in-order to attain the results for her study. In-depth interviews are normally used to collect specific information about people, which was one of the main aims of the study. In-order to build up the interview plan, ten pilot studies were conducted. Another objective in the study was to examine the level of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with housework.

Using in-depth interviews highlights individual concerns, which may not have risen in group situations or if a questionnaire was used. When data is being obtained via in-depth interviews smaller samples are regularly used. In-order to attain results which correlated with the aims of her work, Oakley carried out her study on a sample of forty housewives. There age ranged between twenty to thirty and all participants were mothers of at least one child under the age of five. As this type of research method was applied, random samples were not used to select participants.

Likely respondents were selected from the medical records of two general practitioners. The doctor was questioned as to whether the participants had any reason concerning there health which could excuse them from participating in the research sample. This condition was used in order to obtain a reasonably identical sample. Many problems were encountered by using this method. The sample size which was originally seventy-one had reduced due to the ethnic groups of the patients being controlled.

As the respondents details were taken from the medical card, many of them had moved and the new address had to be followed up. The interviews lasted on average two hours so took only one sitting to complete. In order for Oakley to find what the housewives thought of housework, participants were asked to rate themselves on a scale of satisfaction. However this approach has the problem of the Oakley’s interpretation as the respondents may use different calculations whilst making there judgments. Criticisms were made for using such a small sample as the results may not generalize to people who were not interviewed.

However Oakley believes that ‘statistical representation is not assured by the means of large numbers’, and gave examples of the problems which occur whilst using large samples. Liz Kelly also used in-depth interviews in-order to get the required response for her research. In-order for Kelly to create an interview guides which were appropriate, she carried out four pilot studies with friends. The outcome of the pilot studies showed that if the women had time to reflect after the interview had been carried out, they would add more to the answers previously given, which would result in the end findings being more accurate.

After practical developments, the concluding draft of the interview guide asked questions which started with the participants contemplating on childhood, adolescents and adulthood experiences. Opinions were then asked on how women would try to prevent sexual violence and there future plans. Kelly advertised and gave a number of talks on sexual violence to determine the sample she needed. Ethical procedures were carried out by sending a letter to each of the applicant’s clarifying the aims of the project. Problems occurred with contacting some of the women who had volunteered, as many had changed there minds.

A voluntary sample was used, which was limited because it was self-selected. The interviews were conducted in communities with small ethnic minorities. The majority of those interviewed were white British, with a minority of mixed race. A number of the women interviewed also had some type of further education. Before the interviews were carried out, Kelly created a sample system, which involved interviewing a group of women with self confirmed experience of sexual violence and compared it with women who had not had that experience.

Many of the women were not identifying there affairs of sexual violence as rape, incest or domestic violence which enabled Kelly to recognize that there are additional types of sexual violence which she had not acknowledged. As a result the sample was reconsidered. Out of the sixty women, the thirty who claimed that they had experienced sexual violence were put into three groups of ten. The comparison group of thirty was separated into two groups of fifteen, depending on whether they had or hadn’t discussed an experience they defined as sexual violence throughout the interview.

Many of the problems Kelly experienced with the application of this method were that interviewing the women and writing out the tapes was time consuming. As sexual violence is a very sensitive subject to those who have experienced it, it …

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