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MSO-002: Research Methodologies and Methods

MSO-002: Research Methodologies and Methods

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MSO-002 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Research Methodologies and Methods, you have come to the right place. MSO-002 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MSO, MPA courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MSO-002/AST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MSO-002

Assignment Name: Research Methodologies and Methods

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer questions from both the sections.




Answer any two of the following questions


Q1) What is phenomenology? Explain with reference to the contribution of Martin Heidegger.

Ans) The search for new techniques was sparked by the limited comprehension of the phenomenal world that could be attained using the methods covered in this unit's previous sections. Such seekers found inspiration in phenomenology. Consciousness is viewed by phenomenology as a given datum on which knowledge claims can be predicated. Here, there is a supposition of direct access to consciousness. The explanation of the nature of practical consciousness is the main goal. The goal is to disregard a priori structures and focus on the account of experience.


This entails describing the actors' bodily movements as well as their aims and goals, classifications they create, and the perceptions and meanings they ascribe to their surroundings. The extreme subjectivity encouraged by the later German idealists' theory infuriated a number of Austrian philosophers in the late nineteenth century. The Austrian philosophers opposed overly in-depth study of personal experiences. Without turning to theory, reasoning, or presumptions from other fields, such as the natural sciences, they instead focused on experiences as they were presented to awareness.


Brentano suggested that every mental act be regarded to have a double substantial representational function in his book Psychology From an Empirical Standpoint. The purpose is to purposefully distinguish both itself as a reflective object and as a phenomenal object. Since intentionality is the hallmark of the mental, this distinction between acts and their objects is vital for Brentano. Mental activities of various modalities, such as believing, picturing, etc., can all be used to aim for the same phenomenal object. According to Brentano, even though each purposeful act is inherently subjective, its aim is an objective reality or fact.


Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

German philosopher Martin Heidegger used phenomenological techniques to pursue broader philosophical objectives. The main goal of philosophy, according to Heidegger's full-fledged existentialism, is to comprehend existence itself, not only our understanding of it. Many believe that Heidegger's philosophy was less about philosophical ideas and more of a statement on the existence of modern detached humanity. He believed that whereas traditional education concentrates on "what is," it may be significantly more insightful to probe the limits of common knowledge by attempting to understand "what is not."


Heidegger believed that the only way to be genuinely aware of something is to experience nothingness. Traditional logic is useless to him since it sees all negation as coming from a positive source. Heidegger suggested that in order to study the nature of nothing as the background from which everything emerges, we must give up reasoning. As we thoughtfully consider nothing in particular, we start to become aware of the significance and vibrancy of our own feelings. Nothing more than anything else gives us a sense of dread.


Heidegger believed that the most essential human hint to the nature and existence of emptiness is this overwhelming sense of dread. Instead of genuinely advancing a theory of knowledge, Heidegger was making a statement about ontology, or being. Sociology was significantly influenced by the philosophical phenomenology movement. It has been modified by sociologists like Alfred Shutz to help people comprehend how states of people's consciousness relate to social life. Phenomenology is a sociological method that aims to show how human knowledge contributes to the creation of social action, social circumstances, and social worlds.


Alfred Schutz extracted a sociologically useful strategy from Husserl's relatively dense writings. Schutz started off by demonstrating how subjective interpretations lead to a social environment that appears to be objective and in which daily actions have a length or temporality. It consists of a continuity that lasts the entirety of the person's awake existence. According to Shutz, people intentionally organise their daily activities based on their top priorities. The purpose of the brief remark on phenomenology in this section is to give you a notion of what topics, other from empiricism, rationalism, and idealism, have captured the interest of knowledge seekers.


Q2) What is positivism? Discuss Giddens’s critique of positivism.

Ans) The cultural and intellectual landscape of Europe was being changed by the scientific ideas of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton as well as scientific advancements and discoveries. It entailed toasting the dawn of a new era of logic, objectivity, and criticality. It was similar to declaring that we could improve the world by using scientific reasoning after emerging from the mediaeval order and religious influences. It was challenging to escape the age's impact. It was challenging to avoid being influenced by the astounding progress of science.


Science transformed become an actual, unbiased, and fundamental branch of knowledge. And in order to thrive in such a setting, one had to acknowledge science's growing authority. According to the premise, sociology could not be recognised as legitimate knowledge without utilising the natural sciences' methodology. There was yet another crucial element. Power dynamics in the West were revolutionised by the new era characterised by the Industrial Revolution, growing trade and commerce, and the emergence of the bourgeoisie.

It was a period when the new elite, which included entrepreneurs, scientists, and technologists, began to impose itself. They strongly supported a positivistic/scientific culture and mode of inquiry and saw the vast potential of science. There were, in fact, opposing viewpoints, such as those of romanticism, which criticised the worship of reason and science and called instead for imagination, subjectivity, and creativity. The language of science, however, was then alluring. It was supported by the political and economic establishment. Positivism was bound to be a part of science as long as science existed.


Agency and Structure: Process of Structuration

Anthony Giddens, a renowned sociologist of our day, offered another key critique of positivism. A significant text is Giddens' New Rules of Sociological Method. He researched the discipline's intellectual history, bargained with interpretive traditions, and reflected on a new set of norms in this text. It does provide an alternative to scientific and positivistic sociology. Giddens is unambiguous in stating that human society and nature are two distinct fields of study. Nature is not a human creation, but human beings constantly construct, renew, and change civilization. Because of this, applying natural science approach to sociology has inherent limitations.


Giddens contends that individuals who continue to wait for a Newton are not only at the wrong Station overall but are also waiting for a train that will never arrive. This appears to be the rationale behind why he started his intellectual dialogue with phenomenological and ethnomethodological traditions. These interpretative sociologies seek to understand meanings, specifically the meanings that conscious human actors attach to the world and use to build their knowledge of the real world they inhabit.


Although Giddens believes that these traditions have potential, we must look beyond them. Because the meaning you and others attach to the universe must be positioned in a social context, which frequently features uneven resources and capacities. Giddens contends that understanding the intricate interaction between agency and structure is just as crucial as understanding interpretative sociology alone. He developed a set of guidelines as a result of this critical/creative interaction with methodological concerns, which can be summed up as follows:

  1. First off, sociology doesn't focus on a "pre-given" universe of things. Instead, sociology examines a world that is created or maintained by persons' active actions. The phrase "the construction and reproduction of society has to be understood as a skilful performance on the part of its members" is meant in this context.

  2. Second, despite the fact that society is a skilled performance, as you have just seen, social actors' originality is limited because, despite our individual levels of creativity, we are all historically situated social actors who must adhere to specific rules. We should be mindful of the restrictions/limits that the social structure imposes in this situation.

  3. Giddens claims that a sociologist cannot avoid the language that non-expert actors employ to interpret their surroundings. Because of this, conducting fruitful sociological research necessitates full absorption in the life form the sociologist is trying to understand. However, immersion does not require the sociologist to fully integrate into the society.

  4. Giddens claims that sociological notions are built on a double hermeneutic. Because social actors already perceive society as a professional performance, sociologists further reinterpret it within their theoretical frameworks by blending common language with technical terms.





Write a research report on any one of the following topics in about 3000 words.


Q1) Change in family structure and familial relations in India.


Even though families have been important in people's lives for a long time, they are still private and not influenced by the government. So, India doesn't have a specific family policy that tells, protects, and controls how people start families and other related things. Families and households in India have become a very important area to study, not only because of how many people live in them and depend on them, but also because of how they affect and vary among India's many different cultures and ethnic groups. From 2001 to 2011, the number of households grew by 33 percent, from 25 crores to 33 crores, according to the 2011 Census. About 22 crores of these people lived in the countryside, and 11 crores lived in the cities.


According to the global paradigm, large changes in a society's population and economy come before changes in its social institutions. India has always been important and different on the world stage because of its huge population. India's path to transition is different from those of any other country because of its unique cultural and social preferences. For example, several demographic and public health studies in India have come to the conclusion that, unlike in the West, the decline in births and deaths in India is mostly due to government policies and not because of the country's growing economy (de Silva & Tenreyro, 2017; Dharmalingam et al., 2014; James & Goli, 2016; Goli & Arokiasamy, 2013; Jain, 1985). Also, one of the biggest effects of demographic change is a change in the age structure of the population, with more adults and fewer children and older people (James & Sathyanarayana, 2011; R. D. Lee & Reher, 2011).


In 2015, the percentage of working-age people in India reached 60%, but the percentage of older people grew to more than 7%. This is in line with India's non-traditional path. The number of economically active people is expected to grow by 2% between 2005 and 2050, while the number of people over 60 is expected to grow by 13% in the same time period (United Nations, 2015). In France and Sweden, it took 110 years and 80 years, respectively, for the percentage of older people to double (from 7% to 14%), but it is expected to only take 20 years in India (Goli et al., 2019; Kulkarni et al., 2016; United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (WPA), 2015). Due to the speed with which its population is changing, India is expected to have a shorter demographic window of opportunity than other countries. Overall, Indian families have fewer children than they did in the past, and more people over 60 are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives (Barik et al., 2017; Dommaraju, 2016b). When there are fewer children, people are more likely to save money and invest it in things like health, education, and jobs. However, if there are more elderly people, the higher tendency to save might be cancelled out. In turn, these changes at the level of the individual affect how people form families, the choices they make, and how resources and emotional support are passed down from one generation to the next. So, concepts that change over time need to be carefully studied and analysed to find solid pathways and mechanisms that explain the changes.


Data Analysis and Interpretation

Family dynamics are best understood in terms of the household as a whole and each person as a part of the family. To study the new inequalities in India's changing society, it's important to understand how the family helps to keep these inequalities alive, both between people and within the family. In the last few decades, the family has become an important topic of study around the world. However, in India, the family has not yet reached its full potential as an intervention or as a unit for the well-being of its members. Also, no study has ever been able to clearly define the difference between families and households. Since most large-scale surveys in India collect data at the household level, these terms are usually used interchangeably. The immediate need is to combine new ideas from different fields with new, comprehensive quantitative data sets. This will allow researchers to make conclusions and national-level suggestions that have far-reaching policy implications.


Change in Marital Unions

One of the main reasons why families are changing is that marriage and family relationships are changing in a unique way. Even though marriage is an important part of a person's life, it is no longer seen as a cultural norm. Instead, people who want to get married instead of staying single see it as a way to save money. They choose who they want to be with on their own, and women in particular keep working after getting married, balancing their personal and professional lives. Social scientists often look at the rise of marriages between people of different castes and religions to see how society and ideas are changing.


The study by Goli et al. (2013) showed that marriages between people of different castes and religions are becoming more common in India. They found that the number of these kinds of unions has almost doubled from 1981 to 2005. But they also said that, in terms of numbers, marriages between people of different economic status are more common than marriages between people of different religions or castes. Because of the change in age at marriage, the number of married women has gone down. In the Indian culture, reproduction is mostly limited to marriage, so this had a direct effect on lowering fertility rates. Trends in the average age of a woman's first birth show a slight but clear shift toward older ages. The fact that the average age of a woman's first birth has gone from 19 to 21 years old shows that people are trying to put off having children.


Marital Dissolution, Widowed, and Remarriages

India has a very low rate of divorce compared to other South Asian countries. But the rate of separation is three times as high as the rate of divorce. In India, divorce has been frowned upon for a long time, but it has become more common since the 1970s. Since marriage and divorce are governed by strict cultural and religious rules, there are big differences between states. For example, divorce rates are much higher in the South and North-East than in the North. These differences can be directly compared to how independent and powerful women are in these regions (Jacob & Chattopadhyay, 2016).


Census 2011 shows that about 2.5 million women, or 1% of all women who have ever been married and are between the ages of 15 and 49, are either divorced or separated. The number of people who are separated is almost three times higher than the number of people who are divorced: 0.61 % of the married population and 0.29 % of the total population are reported as separated, compared to 0.24 % and 0.11 %, respectively, for divorced people. Most researchers think that growing urbanisation, industrialization, and women's education, empowerment, and work force participation are to blame for the rise of divorce. These factors then lead to changes in society, family structure, and marriage patterns by giving women more power and giving them other options than staying in unhappy marriages (Jones, 1997). In India, there has also been a slight rise in remarriages, but this rise has been different for men and women. At the national level, more women than men are widowed, divorced, or separated. This is true in both urban and rural areas.


Fertility (Low Fertility)

Based on data from the NFHS-4, the country has a TFR of 2.2, which is close to the level of 2.1 children per woman that is needed for replacement. In India, it has been much harder to reduce the number of babies being born than in developed countries. This is because of how society and couples in particular view decisions about having children. Given the size and diversity of India's population and the fact that many people live in poverty and don't know how to read or write, the fact that the number of births per woman has dropped from about six to less than three in the last three to four decades is a big deal. India's success in lowering its fertility rate is marked by a strong catching-up process. This is because states with weaker demographics have made more progress in lowering their fertility rates, which has led to a gradual convergence of fertility rates across states.


Since 2005, the Indian government has put a lot more money into the budget to improve population and health indicators, especially in the states that have a small population. Overall, family planning programmes and a push for population stabilisation have sped up the decline of births in the country, no matter what development indicators show (James & Goli, 2016). So, India's children and older people may have different lives than their western counterparts if there is a rapid drop in birth rates and slow social and economic development. In a collectivist society, most of the responsibility for the care of children and the elderly falls on the family. This makes the economic, social, and political effects of a rapidly falling fertility rate a very important topic (Goli, 2014). There is evidence that any further drop in fertility from "replacement level" to "low" and then to "lowest-low" would depend mostly on behaviour (delaying marriage and the first birth and limiting fertility) and the Indian way of life (sex preference).


Transition in the Age-Structure

Fertility rates are dropping quickly, and life expectancies are going up at the same time. This has changed the age structure of the population in a way that has never been seen before, with more people in the working age group and fewer young people who need help. According to the World Population Prospects for 2019, more than 65% of the people in India were of working age in 2019. This number is expected to keep going up over the next ten years. It is expected to reach a huge 68.4 percent in 2040. After that, it will start to go down, and by 2050, it will only be at 62.2 percent. The rapid rise in the number of elderly people over the last 20 years is a direct result of the rapid decline in birth rates and the rise in life expectancy.


From 5.97 percent in 1971 to 10.1 percent in 2020, the number of people over 65 has grown steadily. Also, the number of people over 65 is expected to grow from 133 million today to 225 million by 2050. Due to the large number of elderly people in India now and in the future, it is expected to age in a way that is very different from the West and even from other Asian countries with more advanced demographics (James & Goli, 2016). The country is expected to age at a rate that has never been seen before. This will cause huge problems for the economy and health care. India still has trouble making sure that older people have a good quality of life in terms of health, housing, social support, and economic independence. Still, no one knows what happens to older people when they don't get help from social security and less help from family.


The demographic and socioeconomic change opens the door to a wide range of social and economic changes (Navaneetham, 2002; Reher, 2011). For example, when a population moves from the first stage of demographic transition to the last stages, family and kinship networks change (Murphy, 2011). R. D. Lee and Reher (2011) say that the changing demographic regime is not just about the "ageing of populations," but also about the "ageing of generational relationships." Researchers have also found that the ways children are cared for in modern societies are very different from the ways they were cared for in the past. This is based on both pre-transitional and post-transitional populations (Kramer, 2005, 2010; Sear & Coall, 2011). From one population to the next, different relatives are more or less important to the health and happiness of children and other family members.


This outside factor makes it even harder to study the link between family structures and other family-level factors and things like a child's education, health, job, and so on. Studies show that families in developing countries act differently than families in developed countries. For example, Emran (2009) showed a comparison of research on rapidly changing family structures in developed and developing countries. He came to the conclusion that differences in social security support and wage rates might explain why older people in these areas form families differently. McLanahan (2004) also talks about how children have different access to resources because their mothers are different. Even though the study is about the second demographic transition, the factors that cause these differences could easily be used in a debate between developed and developing countries. So, the current theories about how families act as a result of changes in the population need to be revised and rewritten to take into account how developing countries like India are different.


Change in Household Structure

Changes in the size of a household show a clear change in the way people live, as well as changes in the composition of the household due to changes in the way people act. This change has a lot of different meanings in India, where fertility is expected to drop to the replacement level or even below, and where the age structures are changing quickly. In India, one of the main arguments for the breakup of joint families is that, even though the joint family may have been the ideal type of family, it was not the norm (Shah & Patel, 2011; Uberoi, 2004). This claim goes against the main Indological view of families, but many researchers seem to back it up. For example, micro-level studies have shown that joint families were mostly made up of "elite" higher caste people who could afford to support a large family (Caldwell et al., 1984; Gough, 1956; Kapadia, 1956; Kolenda, 1968; Madan, 1989; Shah, 1968, 1996). Caldwell et al. (1984) found that households with a lot of agricultural land are more likely to have joint families.


So, there is evidence that the cultural, religious, and demographic importance of the joint family system is bigger than how common it is in India at any given time. Uberoi (2004) also pointed out that even though nuclear households are the most common in terms of the number of people living in them, more people might live in joint families or other types of family systems. So, in order to study the future of Indian family constellations, it is important to assume that most people start their lives in a patrilineal joint family and are, therefore, affected by the "push" and "pull" that exist in such a family structure at some point in their lives. So, tracing the life cycle of people or groups to see how they change from one type of family to another over the course of their lives could help explain things like the type of work people do, the quality of their relationships with other people, the health of the elderly, women's independence, and more.


Till now, studies about family formation behaviours, trends, and patterns in different types of families have either been theoretical, with little research into how changing families affect the economy as a whole, or they have been limited to a small area or community, which makes it impossible to generalise their findings. Also, no recent studies have tried to make a new conceptual framework that shows how families' paths and relationships with other social, economic, and demographic factors change over time. Padmadas, Vegard, James, and Goli (2018) have tried to come up with a broad conceptual framework that looks at the stages and events of a person's life. Since there aren't any well-established cause-and-effect theories about families in India, it's hard to do global comparative studies on how families are changing in India. Also, family is a dynamic idea, so long-term longitudinal studies would help capture the dynamic and time-dependent predictor variables, such as behavioural outcomes for birth and marriage cohorts.


Conclusion and Way Forward

Conceptually, demographic studies of the family haven't come very far, especially when it comes to picturing families at different stages of demographic change in different cultural settings. Researchers have tried very hard to study the family as a unit of analysis, but they have only been able to look at certain parts of family life. They have not been able to give a full picture of the family as a dynamic system that changes in developing countries like India. Researchers haven't yet looked into how the family as a working unit interacts with other parts of society. They also haven't looked into how the family and other parts of society affect people in different ways. Also, in a stable society, everyone knows and agrees on what their role is within the family. During a time of transition, like in India, these expectations are shattered, and people aren't sure how to respond to the changes. Changes in society, population, and the economy are all very uneven. So, these things don't affect each group of people in the same way. The time between the start of transitional processes and the stabilisation of social, economic, and demographic structures across population subgroups is marked by pre-transition heterogeneity, which is often hidden as conflict and disorganisation, until the homogeneous, progressive phase of transition begins and statuses are changed to fit the new conditions.


India's social institutions and practises have been pretty stable up until now, but people expect that to change in the next two to three decades. It is very important to study these changes and how they affect family structure and behaviour in both directions. In India, it is hard to study family demography and do related research because there isn't a good conceptual framework and there isn't a lot of good data. Family demography is still in its early stages as a branch of demography and population studies, which makes sense. This scientifically important area of study is not as loud as it could be because of how hard it is to understand demographics and how different households and families serve different purposes. In Western countries like the U.S. and Europe, there are many sources of data, such as the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Family Database, Fertility & Family Survey, and so on, that give information on a wide range of issues related to family demography and related fields at the sub-national level. Even developing countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and China have family panel surveys that look at how people talk to each other across generations and how their lives change. Researchers can't look into new and current issues like marital happiness, same-sex marriages and their sexual behaviours, the quality of marriages, complex families, fatherhood in complex families, family disruptions and their long-term effects on a child's economic success, and multi-dimensional deprivation because there isn't much information on family demography in India and its states.

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