SOC261: Based on the given news clippings and commentary articles, apply at least two sociological theories to analyse the changes and emerging trends in family forms and peoples’ attitudes towards marriage over the past 50 years. Sociology of Family assignment
Module / Subject / School:
SOC261 Sociology of Family
Singapore University of Social Sciences
- Read the following news clippings:
Tham, Y.C. “Support for Section 377A drops as attitudes towards same-sex relationships shift, survey finds”, The Straits Times, 16 June 2022.
- “No marriage please, say Japanese”, New Straits Times, 15 June 2022.
- Gan, N. “Chinese millennials aren’t getting married, and the government is worried”, Cable News Network, 30 January 2021.
- Mathews, M. “Commentary: On homosexuality and cohabitation – differences on moral issues need not lead to polarised society” Channel News Asia, 17 May 2019.
Perform the following tasks:
(1) Based on what you understand from the above news clippings and commentary articles, apply at least two sociological theories to analyse the changes and emerging trends in family forms and peoples’ attitudes towards marriage over the past 50 years. You should also debate on the extent to which these changes could possibly become a threat to the family institution in future. You could draw examples from Singapore and other countries to explain how state policies may play a part in either curbing or navigating these emerging trends. [Note: You should write about 850 words for this part of your essay]
(2) Suggest a research plan to conduct a sociological study on Singaporeans’ perceptions of ‘marriage’ and ‘family’, as well as their attitudes towards alternatives to marriage, such as singlehood, cohabitation and same-sex relationships, etc. Your research proposal should include a brief description of your research objective(s) and research approach(s) [qualitative or quantitative design], research hypothesis (if any), sampling design [choice of sampling method and desired sample size] and the method(s) that you would use to collect your data. You should explain each of these research decisions clearly to show your understanding and appreciation of research methodologies in family sociology research.
In reviewing your research decisions, you should recognise the pros and cons of your chosen research approach, sampling design and data collection method(s), as opposed to other research approaches and methods. Also, discuss some of the problems that you may possibly encounter in your data collection process and how you would try to address these possible difficulties and challenges. [Note: You should write about 350 words for this part of your essay]
(1) For this part of the TMA, you are expected to show your understanding of the global developmental trends and changes in the family institution over the past 50 years or so.
You should see the various news clippings as indications or evidence of emerging family forms that are subject to social sanctions in the various countries.
Do remember to present sociological arguments (using relevant theories) to explain the changes in peoples’ attitudes and ideas towards the meaning of marriage and family, and how people and governments negotiate and cope with these changes.
(2) Research Proposal:
In your research plan, you should state clearly your research objective(s), your research approach (qualitative or quantitative research design, or both), research hypothesis (if any), your sampling design (including your target population — that is, who you plan to conduct your study on; your sampling method – how you would choose your research subjects;
desired sample size) and how you would go about collecting your data (e.g. through faceto-face depth interviews, or the survey method, etc.)
While you may wish to use a table format to organise the above research components in your proposal, you should explain each of these research decisions clearly.
- SStudy Guide: Relevant pages in Chapters 1, 4 and 6
- Furstenberg, F. (2019) “Family Change in Global Perspective: How and Why Family Systems Change”, Family Relations, 68 (July 2019): 326–341. [Available in SUSS elibrary]
- Cherlin, A. (2004) “The Deinstitutionalisation of American Marriage”, Journal of Marriage and Family, 66: 848–861. [Available in SUSS e-library]
What we score:
Our Writer’s Comment
This assignment tests students on their understanding of the sociological theories.
Based on the assignment requirements provided, here are some comments to help students score well on this assignment:
- Analysis of changes in family forms and attitudes towards marriage: To score well in this assignment, it is important to analyze the changes and emerging trends in family forms and people’s attitudes towards marriage over the past 50 years, based on the provided news clippings and commentary articles. Apply at least two sociological theories to support your analysis. Additionally, debate the extent to which these changes could potentially become a threat to the family institution in the future. Use examples from Singapore and other countries to illustrate how state policies may influence and shape these emerging trends.
- Research plan for studying Singaporeans’ perceptions of marriage and family: In this part, you need to propose a research plan to conduct a sociological study on Singaporeans’ perceptions of ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ and their attitudes towards alternatives such as singlehood, cohabitation, and same-sex relationships. Your research proposal should include a clear research objective, the research approach (qualitative or quantitative design), any research hypothesis, the sampling design (including the choice of sampling method and desired sample size), and the data collection method(s) you would use. Explain each of these research decisions to demonstrate your understanding and appreciation of research methodologies in family sociology research.
- Evaluation of research decisions: When reviewing your research decisions, it is important to recognize the pros and cons of your chosen research approach, sampling design, and data collection method(s) compared to alternative approaches and methods. Discuss potential problems you may encounter during the data collection process and propose strategies to address these difficulties and challenges.
- Integration of sociological arguments and theories: Ensure that you present sociological arguments using relevant theories to explain the changes in people’s attitudes and ideas towards marriage and family. Discuss how individuals and governments negotiate and cope with these changes in different societies. Use the provided news clippings as evidence of emerging family forms subject to social sanctions in various countries.
- Recommended readings: Take advantage of the recommended/suggested readings provided in the study guide and the specific articles by Furstenberg and Cherlin. These readings can help deepen your understanding of the global developmental trends and changes in the family institution.
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