The topic of physical discipline

I have chosen to study the topic of physical discipline used on young children. I will be focusing my study mainly on two generations of males and females, parents and non-parents, to observe the wide range of opinions between the differing groups. I thought this would be an interesting topic due to the large media attention recently concerning physical discipline and whether the government should ban it. It will be interesting to observe the possible differing opinions of both parents and non-parents and also males and females of the different generations.

In my opinion the older generation, both male and female, may have more of a positive view on this subject whereas the younger generation may feel more negatively about it due to media attention and government views. It will be interesting to see whether the interference from the government will or has further eroded the ability of some parents to exercise their authority or if parents feel that the government has eroded their rights. The current law regarding physical discipline on children has been in place since 1860, which allows reasonable chastisement of children.

Laws to protect children from physical punishment have been passed in 10 other European countries including Scotland. I would like to see whether some parents’ views have changed because of these facts, which have been quite widely spread across national papers recently. My hypothesis is that people of a younger generation will think negatively about physical discipline towards children unlike an older generation who may think it is a positive step in order to fulfil high levels of discipline in their children.

My aim is to identify whether the views of physical discipline used on young children has changed over generations of parents and non-parents. I want to also discover whether the large media attention surrounding this subject could have had any effect on the opinions of the participants. I would like to assess whether peoples views on physical discipline used on young children differ between the two sexes. I will evaluate the reasons why people choose either way to physically discipline their children or not.

I have chosen to sample 15 people, as I believe this will be a sufficient amount in order to retrieve a wide range of opinions and views. I will use a quota sample as I can request my own volunteers for the study and this will ensure that my study will be representative. The method I have chosen to use will be questionnaires. I will include some open questions in order for me to receive valid data from the participants, which will reflect how the respondent really feels. The questionnaire will also include some closed questions, which makes it possible to discover a correlation between two or more variables.

Questionnaires produce data that can be easily compared. Each respondent is answering the same questions and responding to the same thing so any differences in answers should reflect real differences between the respondents. Questionnaires are also reliable as the results can be carried out again to make a comparison over time. I have chosen not to use interviews, as I believe I will not be able to retrieve a sufficient amount of responses as I will not have enough time to thoroughly interview enough people and acquire the results I am hoping for.

This also means that in the long run my research will not be valid and representative to the population. From using interviews I would also run the risk of interviewer bias and interviewer effect, which is unavoidable. Also interviews have an impact on validity as the respondent may act in different ways or may exaggerate opinions or behaviours, which are seen as socially desirable. Interviews may also lack reliability, as they are difficult to repeat and obtain similar results. Within a topic such as physical discipline used on young children I have to consider ethical issues even though I am only using a questionnaire.

My questionnaire will contain personal questions relating to the respondents childhood and their own personal experiences with physical discipline. I will make it clear that it is not compulsory to answer every question and that if the respondent does feels uncomfortable answering any question then they are fully aware that they are not obliged to answer. I have to also take into consideration that some respondents may have to remember things from what may have been a very unpleasant or difficult childhood and I may have to deal with that situation by offering counselling or something similar.

I believe that after having picked my method and sample and thoroughly discussing my aims and hypothesis and other important issues that my study will be successful and I will hopefully retrieve the data I require. The Research I began my study by choosing my sample population. As I was using a quota sample it was up to me to retrieve my respondents. I chose to hand out 15 questionnaires in order to receive a wide range of opinions and views so I knew that I had to begin by dividing my respondents into sections. This section would have to be fairly reasonably balanced based on two factors, which were gender and parents and non-parents.

I had to make sure that one group of parents had a fairly balanced proportion of males and females, both older and younger, and the second group of non-parents also had the same. I did this in order to make my study fair and representative and also so that my results would be clear and show a possible definition between the opinions of the respondents. I found this section of my study quite time consuming, as I hadn’t really considered previously how I was going to go about dividing my respondents into sections.

Luckily I had enough volunteers to enable me to divide each group up successfully and therefore hand out a fairly well balanced questionnaire. When it came to designing my questionnaire I decided to look into previous research, which were suitably related to my topic of study. However I found this a little more challenging than I first imagined. I read through many textbooks and I couldn’t find any studies that were even related to mine. I then decided to search the Internet and luckily found a study, which was conducted in Scotland on Scottish parents by Simon Anderson and Lorraine Murray.

Although it wasn’t directly related to my area of study I did find it useful. The piece of work I found was based mainly on the answers they had received from the parents in Scotland but it did open up my eyes to questions that I hadn’t previously thought of such as questions based on the education of the respondent and the respondents parents and also previous childhood experiences of physical discipline. I think including questions relating to childhood experiences was a good idea as my aim was to identify whether the views of physical discipline used on young children has changed over generations of parents and non-parents.

These sorts of questions help me to retrieve not only the opinion of the respondent but I am also able to gain an insight into the way in which the parents’ opinions were at that point in their life. This is useful in itself as the parents of the respondents will be of an older generation and may well have the same opinions as the older generations who took part in my questionnaire. Whilst conducting my questionnaire I found it fairly difficult to word my questions. Due to the sensitivity of the subject I had chosen to study it was very important to consider ethics.

With each and every question I had to think of many different ways in which to word them and then choose one that I felt was appropriate. This however was time consuming and quite complicated. Looking back at my questionnaire I think I may have portrayed some of my own opinions on physical punishment within some questions such as: – “When you were a child, did your mother or father ever use physical punishment, like smacking, slapping, ear twisting or hitting you in some other way?

” Here you can see that I have used my own opinions on what classes as physical punishment within the question. I also think that the subject I chose to study is quite difficult and challenging. Due to the lack of sociological research on this specific area it was very difficult to relate any of my findings to previous conducted studies, which is a major area of my coursework. Another problem that I encountered was trying to find the right number of females and males and parents and non-parents.

I new that at the beginning I had to have a reasonably equal number of males and females both of the older generation and younger generation in each section (parents and non-parents). This was a very difficult task in itself and took up quite a lot of my time. I did find that questions that asked the respondent to talk about their personal views on physical discipline and areas related to this were not as successful as straightforward questions, which did not ask you to comment.

All in all I found my questionnaires quite effective and I managed to retrieve the information that was important to my study. Although it did take up a lot of my time I think that it was quite successful. Due to the fact that I was advised not to conduct over 15 questionnaires I have found it difficult to separate all the different categories such as parents/non-parents etc. My opening question within my questionnaire asked the respondent if they agreed or disagreed with physical discipline used on young children.

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