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6) Secondary Sources.docx - Official Statistics Advantages:...

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Official StatisticsAdvantages:Find Patterns in dataPatterns of behavior may be picked up by statistical analysis because they provide a broadoverview of behavior across potentially wide areas: local, national and international.Durkheim, for example, identified distinct patterns to suicidal behavior based on acomparative analysis of official suicide statistics across a range of different societies.Trends over time can be ID’dIn terms of trends, statistical data drawn from different years can be used to understand howsomething has changed.For example, education statistics can track changes in levels ofachievement. Statistics can also be used to track changes in behavior, such as before andafter the introduction of a new law.Comparison between groupsStatistics can be used for comparisons within groups such as differences in middle andworking class family size, and between societies.Bakewell suggests that official refugeestatistics are useful because they quickly and easily demonstrate the size and scale of aninternational social problem.Practical x 2In practical terms, official statistics may be the only available source covering a particulararea of study, such as suicide.In addition, data that would be costly, time-consuming and difficult to collect, such asstatistics on marriage, divorce or crime, are readily available – especially since thedevelopment of the internet.Representative SampleOfficial statistics are representative as they tend to deal with the entire population.Marshalnotes, statistical data are almost invariably nationally representative, because they areobtained from complete censuses or very large scale national sample surveys.Hard StatisticsHard Statistics are extremely valid, such as divorce or marriage rates because they areadministered and thus recorded by the state.Disadvantages:Soft StatisticsSoft statistics lack in validity: For example, crime rates tend to be inaccurate as many crimesgo unreported and unrecorded.

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