Exploring Society By The Numbers

"Ain't I a Woman?" Motherhood and Status Deprivation

Willie Melton, Michigan Technological University

Summary

The proposed exercises are to be used in my Sociology of Family and my Society and Power courses. The exercise would seem to work best with readings or discussions of gender, family structure, social stratification and life chances. The activity begins with a modified version of an SSDAN exercise created created by Elizabeth Jordan, "The Explosion of Teenage Motherhood: Myth or Reality?" The concluding activity, exercise 2, is designed to give students an introduction to generating and testing a formal hypothesis.

Learning Goals

Skill
  • Have students gain additional practice in constructing and presenting evidence to test and evaluate ideas. (That is, constructing and interpreting numerical tables in support of substantive conclusions).
  • Have students test a deductively derived hypothesis.
Substance
  • Have students explore some popular notions about the explosion of teenage motherhood since the 1960s.
  • Have students appreciate the difference between a psychological explanation (causes are internal or individualistic) and sociological (causes are external).

Context for Use

This exercise is designed for an upper-level society or women's studies course. The exercise would seem to work best with readings or discussions of gender, family structure, social stratification and life chances.

Description and Teaching Materials


Exercise: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 80kB Jul1 09)
Exercise: DOC (Microsoft Word 43kB Jul1 09)


Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a customized data set made from combining census information from 1950-1990. and guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!

Assessment

Visit DataCounts! for assessment tools.


References and Resources

Glock, Ringer and Babbie's "Comfort Hypothesis."

(See The Practice of Social Research, chapter 2, or Glock, et al., 1967, To Comfort and to Challenge, Berkeley, CA.)

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