Analysis of data in tables from reports of official statistics
Sociological Issue - Literature Review
The main theme of this analysis is Health Inequalities. In reference to this particular topic, in a publication written by Muntaner and Lynch (2002) p.325, it has been suggested that over the past 20 years, research on social inequalities surrounding medical science, the overall health of the population and the socio-economic inequalities has gone through a season of renaissance. The first source that I wish to review is entitled ‘Inequalities in Health. The Black Report, Chapter 2’ (1990). This chapter explores the continuing irregularities within health across the population according to one’s class status. This chapter accentuates the noticeable sequences amongst the various indicators across health inequalities, such as class, employment and gender. The second source that I wish to review is entitled ‘Inequalities in Health. The Health Divide, Chapter 2’ (1992). This chapter discusses health inequalities in contemporary society. Whitehead (1992) highlights the factors which affect the population’s overall health according to their social class, employment, geographical location and various socioeconomic elements’ ( p.227). 1.2 Research question -
The theme of this research is Health Inequalities, with the central concern being Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates measured by Social Class. This topic is of social importance and interest as it highlights the inconsistencies between the various health inequality variables and the links between them; such as ‘the relationships between gender and mortality, race and mortality, regional background and mortality, plus a range of measures of ill-health (Townsend and Davidson, 1990. P.43 )’. This area has proved a topic of interest for sociologists over the years due to these issues having had a direct impact on the population’s health and mortality rates. Research questions play a significant role in Social Research and are usually the central point of the Research design as (Mason 1996:15) suggests that research questions are like intellectual puzzles needing to be solved by some sort of explanation.
What is the relationship between social class and life expectancy? Blaikie (2004) States that ‘What questions require a descripted answer; they are directed towards discovering and describing the characteristics of and patterns in some social phenomenon, for example categories of individuals, social groups of all sizes, and social processes’ (p. 60).
Why do people in lower social classes have a higher mortality rate? Blaikie (2004) states that ‘Why questions ask for either the causes of, or the reasons for, the existence of characteristics or irregularities in a particular phenomenon. They are directed towards understanding or explaining the relationships between events, or within social activities and social processes’ (p.61).
What changes can be made to increase the life expectancy within the population of the lower classes? Blaikie (2004) states that ‘How questions are concerned with bringing about change, with practical outcomes and intervention. ’ (p. 61) 2.
Fink (1995) suggests that ‘Tables are especially useful in written reports because the reader can spend time with them. Technically oriented people also like them in oral presentations’ ( p.24 ). The tables selected contain information regarding the current and past trends in Life Expectancy by Social Class between the years 1972 and 2005. This is measured over four year periods, with the exception of 2002 – 2005, which is a three year period. There are four tables: •
Table 1 containing information displaying the life expectancy at birth and at age 65 social class of men in England and Wales from 1972-2005 •
Table 2 containing information displaying change in life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by social class of men in England and Wales from...
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