Critical Analysis Chapter 6: Are the Samples Representative and the Measures Valid?

For the assigned passage(s), identify the thesis and reasons. Then name the target population, the sample, and the characteristic of interest. Finally describe whether samples are representative by examining their size, breadth, and randomness. Please use complete sentences, not simply phrases or single words, in all segments of your answers. Also, avoid quoting full sentences. Paraphrase instead.

Passage 1:
In her 1987 book Women and Love, author Shere Hite concludes that the female of the species is disillusioned, fed up, angry – and is frequently breaking away from her male relationships, through either divorce or extramarital affairs. Some of Hite’s numbers: 70 percent of all women married five years or more say they are having affairs; 98 percent of all women who answered the questionnaires wish for more “verbal closeness” with their male partners; 95 percent report incidents of “emotional and psychological harassment.”

In 1980, Hite sent out 100,000 questionnaires to church groups, women’s voting and political groups, women’s rights groups, professional women’s groups and storefront counseling or walk-in centers. She got back 4,500 responses. The questionnaire had 127 items, and the women were encouraged to choose to answer only those that appealed to them. Some questions were: “Are you happy with the relationship? Inspired? What do you like most and least about it? Can you imagine spending the rest of your life in it?” “What is the biggest problem in your relationship? How would you like to change things if you could?” “Do you ever feel pressured into sex? Into liking sex? Why? To be loving? To be hip?” “Have you ever been raped? Was this an important experience? How did you feel? Whom did you tell?” “Have you/are you having sex outside the relationship?”

Passage 2:
Letter to the Editor: Last Sunday some neighbors and I went to visit and talk to neighbors of a halfway house for juveniles, housing four young men fourteen to eighteen years old, in a nearby community. I would like our community to know what we found. We found very scared people and families including a neighbor who was afraid to let his three-year-old daughter play in his own front yard and another afraid to leave her front door open. Another woman we talked to was afraid to be alone at night and said that a resident of this halfway house recently jumped her backyard fence and peeked in her back windows. We saw where these windows were and the young man definitely had to make a lot of effort to look in them. She said that she was afraid to think of what this person would have done had her neighbor not called her.

We were also told these young men have caused many disturbances in the schools. Just last week, according to a neighbor, one of these “boys” started a fight at a church festival in the area. These young men are the same age as the children our children’s service agency wants to put in our community. Members of our community, these are some of the things we are trying to avoid by opposing the placing of this group home in our community.

Passage 3:
A 1980 study conducted by Letty Pogrebin, Growing Up Free, yielded interesting information about the nature of socialized sex roles in American society.

Pogrebin’s study asked 70 Wisconsin children ages three to five what they wanted to be when they grew up. The boys’ list included fourteen occupations: fireman, policeman, father/husband, older person, digger, dentist, astronaut, cowboy, truck-driver, engineer, baseball player, doctor, Superman, and the Six-Million Dollar Man. Girls responded with eleven jobs: mother/sister, nurse, ballerina, older person, dentist, teacher, babysitter, baton-twirler, ice skater, princess, and cowgirl.

When asked what they thought they would really be when they grew up, the girls usually modified their choices to historically traditional roles (e.g. mother.) The boys, however, tended to change to more exciting and adventurous roles (e.g. from husband to fireman).

The study suggests that children, even at very young ages, have been socialized into expected roles. The children have clearly been victims of the societal propagation of sexually-unequal role conditioning. Unless something is done to alter the mindset of both current adults and those of the next generation, we can expect such attitudes to be regenerated once more with the next crop of parents and children.

Study information adapted from Sociology, 2nd ed., by Ian Robertson. Copyright 1981 by Worth Publishers, Inc.

Passage 4:
It would seem that Americans still admire social workers in spite of the recent ACORN scandals. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was a collection of community-based organizations and social workers in the United States that advocated for low- and moderate-income families by working on neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing, and other social issues. A poll was conducted in early 2010 to measure Americans’ attitudes toward social workers like those at ACORN. The poll asked the following questions:

  1. Have you ever known anyone who did social work?
  2. Do you think being a social worker is a valuable profession?
  3. Don’t you agree that social workers should earn more money than they currently earn?
  4. Should social workers get paid higher wages because they work with dangerous people like criminals and drug addicts?

The poll found that 72% of Americans have very positive attitudes toward social workers.

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