We conduct comparative surveys because despite the challenges involved, there are clear advantages. This can be best explained using examples. Comparative surveys are often discussed in terms of the risks and benefits involved. Today, comparative survey has become a significant field that can be applied to various subjects, particularly Sociology and other Social Sciences. The field of Social Policy has greatly benefitted from comparative survey as it allows for comparison of social policies and approaches with those of other countries. Comparing one thing to another of similar position has a long history of fascination. Social research has a rich and extensive background.
Montesquieu conducted a systematic survey to explore how society shapes individuals as "social animals." He viewed society as a continuous journey towards progress and freedom, rather than an imperfect development. Tim May (1996, p. 15) describes the study as an investigation into...
the benefits derived from comparing national healthcare systems to identify factors that are unique to each system.
A comparative position can broaden national perspectives and simultaneously enhance the understanding needed before making conclusions. Comparative study plays a crucial role in various fields of Social Studies. For many years, empirical and comparative studies have been essential components of ongoing Sociology research. Comparative study has become widely accepted as a research tool in numerous subjects over time.
The text highlights the importance of properly conducting a comparative survey. Before analyzing the positive and negative aspects, it is crucial to address the initial inquiries. Determining the level of comparison is essential for commencing a research project on a comparative basis. Researchers may provide multiple levels or focus on the minimum requirements for comparison.
The text discusses different levels
of comparison that can be conducted, including internal comparisons within local authorities or organizations. It also mentions comparisons between different systems such as international comparisons or those between the private and public sectors. In order for surveys to be effective, they should aim to identify similarities or differences, and the measurements used in the survey should be directly or indirectly comparable. If a comparison cannot be established, it becomes difficult to conduct a meaningful comparative study. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of clearly defining the target groups of the study and having comprehensive knowledge of the research subjects.
Having a clear understanding of the direction in which their research is heading is crucial for research workers. It is important for scholars to recognize the validity of comparisons as it helps gain acceptance for their theories. The ultimate goal of comparative evaluation, which should be clearly defined, guides researchers throughout their studies. However, Comparative Study has encountered challenges from its beginning. Many social scientists have expressed concerns about comparing organizational systems or sub systems that are not equivalent. Furthermore, there is a risk that social scientists may be tempted to seek ideal solutions to national problems based on experiences from other countries.
This is not an intelligent way of conducting research because the unique aspect of each situation cannot be replicated for study purposes. Each country's experience will be distinct and varied due to specific circumstances, and this 'uniqueness' cannot be compared with another, possibly possessing its own distinctiveness. This social, political, and economic peculiarity could be a result of that particular country and culture and cannot be universal. Some researchers argue that theory plays a minor role
in comparative studies. It undoubtedly exists but is only a small fraction of the overall study. However, theory does not contribute as significantly as it should.
This has been an ongoing issue in the field of research as comparative studies have gained popularity. Another common concern is the excessive use of comparative surveys. Even the most basic market studies, public opinions, or any small aspect have now been subjected to comparative analysis, making it a routine method of research. As a result, it has lost its novelty and has become monotonous. The methodology has been utilized numerous times with minimal satisfaction. Many social scientists have expressed this sentiment.
There is a belief that an all-encompassing global scientific discipline is emerging as a result of excessive use of comparative study. Scheuch's historical analysis of the development of comparative social research demonstrates how market and opinion research institutes began conducting cross-national comparisons as early as the 1930s (Oyen, p.6). However, this practice could potentially erase the unique characteristics and differences among various societies, resulting in a homogenous society lacking any distinctions, which would be a catastrophic outcome for humanity. Another drawback is the challenge of sampling, including the potential limitations and difficulties it may present. Sampling could be hindered by a lack of diversity, leading to variations in dimensions.
When studying different ethnicities, one challenge that arises is that the unique characteristics and unfamiliarity of a particular country may not be recognized in another country. It is also difficult to track down counties or regions with similar cultural attributes. Additionally, individuals themselves possess their own distinct characteristics, further complicating the study. Many social scientists do not appreciate the indirect
nature of these observations, as they feel it makes the study impersonal and less engaging.
The authors of this argument advocate for a more personal and humanistic approach in conducting sociological studies, rather than simply relying on statistical data. They emphasize the importance of comparative studies as a significant and frequently employed tool in sociological research. When conducting an evaluation or study, it is easier and more comprehensible to have another standard to compare it with. If there is no way to measure it, the study lacks clarity.
Sociology is often criticized as a transparent and mythical field of study. However, it serves as a solid foundation for verifying other details and acts as a point of reference. Comparisons in surveys can have limitations due to differences in circumstances and objects being compared.
The end merchandise and atmosphere may differ, and fortunes can change periodically. It is impossible to sustain the same conditions indefinitely, as these studies can last for many years.
Social atmosphere has been unpredictable, and it is unrealistic to expect them to remain unresponsive to societal scientists. The established norm might be challenging to meet, as it could undergo further modifications and may require additional changes. The circumstances may not have much similarity.
Comparative cultural studies is an area where finding similarities between communities is impossible, yet researchers are compelled to find at least some similarities. However, it is widely accepted that cultural societies can never have identical customs or backgrounds. Tensions and lineages can never be the same, even though future societies may be moving towards a gloomy similarity. In sociology, there is no study that is not compared with something else, even remotely. It has
become a common practice in most evaluative studies, despite the drawbacks.
Despite the difficulty in finding precise or acceptable comparisons, comparative studies are necessary in social policy. Other countries' social policies are constantly being compared to it, either favorably or unfavorably. Finding exact similarities for these comparisons is impossible, resulting in inaccurate conclusions. The results are mostly speculative or of negative nature rather than concrete. Comparing different types of policies at the same time would save time and effort.
All explanations are not required. If one explanation is provided and the others are represented symbolically, it is sufficient. This advantage allows for a comparison of the remaining explanations to be less confusing and more authentic. There are various methods to approach the comparative method, but none of them are straightforward or completely satisfying.
In large part, it began with cross-national studies that originated outside of the realm of sociological research. Both internal and external forces play a role in comparative studies, which have been greatly influenced by recent internationalization. This has resulted in various forms of societal, political, cultural, and economic interactions that extend beyond national boundaries.
Intense mobility has become prevalent and individuals are no longer tied to one location. Internationalism is apparent in various domains. Likewise, previously domestic job opportunities have become globalized. There are now few jobs that remain domestic, with the majority being internationalized and glamourized. Individuals conducting studies may have an interest in multiple countries and may desire to conduct a cross-country comparative study, which would be beneficial for their own work. Politicians request such studies to summarize their achievements.
Comparing their achievements to those of another state can make them feel superior if the
other state's achievements are relatively unimpressive. Politicians would definitely feel that their position within and outside their country improves with this kind of comparison. Comparative studies are also based on the theory of pluralism rather than dictatorship. Another area that is frequently subjected to comparative study nowadays is the international ecosystem. As the preservation and concern for the ecosystem have become a global issue, comparative study in this field has become essential.
The eco system lacks comparison with other universes, but it can be compared to different regions of the world and their eco systems. This comparison is valuable for identifying errors and analyzing conversation outcomes. However, there is a need for more specific comparative studies in this field. Comparative evaluation has gained importance as a research area and will keep progressing. The reliability of these studies is also growing rapidly.
The field of sociology has seen a notable increase in data collection through national and international studies and surveys. Recent advancements in techniques and methodologies have allowed social scientists to become more skilled in their research. This transformation has resulted in sociology evolving from an abstract subject to a more precise area of study. Comparative surveys offer an additional benefit in this regard.
It is capable of providing clarity on any obscure topic. A new package of recent engineering can make comparative surveys easier. Technical issues in cross-national studies can be researched and evaluated without complication. Cross-national research has taken on various forms and relationships. Comparative study has brought topics like Sociology from a theoretical perspective. Through our struggles with comparative research, we have learned that any cross-national comparisons must be theoretically justified - and theoretically dissecting
countries is a complex process, of which we have only just begun to grasp a glimpse, according to Oyen (1990, p.
3). Therefore, comparative study does not solely reduce Sociology to a matter of statistics and figures, but maintains the significance of its theoretical component. From this perspective, it can be argued that comparative study advances the subject without undermining its traditional framework. It is an additional benefit and certainly not a substitute. Cross national research employing comparative study as a tool is primarily conducted to reduce previously unexplained discrepancies. Sociologists are also increasingly favoring conventional research methods.
Although new methods are being embraced, traditional research methods are still valued and not urged to be abandoned. Both macro sociological analysis and micro sociological methods involve theory and patterns. The examination of normal behavior and norms requires recognizing deviations from the norm. Oyen (p. 4) asserts that no social phenomenon can be studied in isolation without comparing it to other societal phenomena. Comparative study has been instrumental in advancing international social science.
Globalization has expanded the scope of social science beyond national boundaries, transforming it into a global discipline. Comparative studies now serve as a catalyst for bringing together societies from different corners of the globe. Additionally, this interconnectedness has facilitated the rapid sharing of knowledge across borders, thereby fostering continuous growth in our collective understanding.
The cognition of the present coevals is growing rapidly compared to earlier generations.
The illustration of eradicating child poverty:
Child poverty affects all countries in the world in various ways. It is closely related to parental poverty, so it is necessary to improve the quality of life in order to combat child poverty. However,
there are also orphans and disadvantaged children who cannot be solely attributed to parental poverty. The level of child poverty varies greatly between countries due to differences in living standards, resources, government support, and other social, economic, and political factors.
Conducting a comparative survey of various states would be beneficial in the ongoing fight against child poverty. Research indicates that unemployment has significant secondary effects, even if there is no poverty present. An investigation conducted in Denmark recently demonstrated that it increases the likelihood of family breakdowns and ultimately results in children experiencing unemployment later on (Esping-Anderson, 2002, p. 54).
Gender inequality exists to varying degrees in all societies, both Western and Eastern. While it may be less harmful in Western societies, it takes on a more malicious form in traditional societies. Though a comparative cross-nation survey may seem unnecessary and ambitious at first glance, it does provide assistance. By considering other factors and bringing together the backgrounds and politico-social elements of each society, a cross-national survey would help researchers gain a balanced understanding of gender inequality worldwide and provide valuable insights for their own research.
Social Policy: Societal policy has become a crucial aspect in Western societies throughout the years. While countries like America and Canada have been able to develop effective social policies due to their size and resources, smaller Western countries face challenges in providing for their population's well-being. Although these countries may still have flaws and shortcomings, they strive to feed, educate, and clothe their large population while constantly working towards improving their quality of life. Therefore, each country is unique in its approach to social policy.
Still, it is observed that through comparative research, the experience of one country can be effectively utilized by another country to great advantage. Comparative studies on social policy comparing the Western countries to each other, comparing them together with other developing countries, comparing the European social policy system with that of Canada or USA have been a continuous, flourishing branch of the study for social studies. These studies should not be disregarded. They provide the foundation for further enhancement in social civil orders of all countries.
They bring together various factors found in all states, including the supposedly highly advanced states that could gain numerous benefits from the practical knowledge of other less well-known states. There exist different medical systems that have not yet gained true popularity. Utilizing and studying these systems could greatly benefit other systems. They could complement existing systems and effectively bridge the gap in knowledge. It is important to understand that there is no such thing as perfect and ultimate knowledge, and even the most ancient societies can teach us something.
Comparative studies have consistently highlighted this notion. We are currently in a time where competing forces once again advocate for their visions of a Good Society. In fact, there are indications that we are moving towards another significant change in government, according to Esping-Andersen (2002, p.2).
- Esping-Andersen, Gosta, (2002), Why we need a New Welfare State, Oxford University Press.
- Elienne du plessis, (2004), Compulsion and Restitution, Stair Society, Edinburg.
- Hensel, Howard, (2004), ed. Soverignity and the Global Community, Aldershot, Hants.
- Hansen, ed. (2002), A Comparative study of six city-state cultures, Royal
Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen.
- Quovertrus, Mads, (2002), A Comparative Study of Referendums, Manchester University Press.
- Whiteford, G. (2003), A Comparative Study into the Competitive Advantage Theories, (Thesis).
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