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=======There Is No Hope of Doing Perfect Research.=
I disagree with the cynical despondency that Griffiths appears to sound as an overtone in the statement “There is no hope for perfect research” (97.) However, I do find a definite undertone in the same thought-provoking statement; and profess that earnest research, has and will lead to progress in any field and to that extent, research is always perfect.
1. Importance of Being Earnest
The type of research under discussion is an earnest effort to seek the truth. It should be truly earnest and should not masquerade merely in name and form, like the protagonists in Oscar Wilde’s celebrated play. As long as the research follows systematic methodology and conclusions are drawn through an objective analysis, it will be ‘perfect.’ Perfection, here again is honesty of belief and courage to accept the opposite, if research on hand brings up unexpected results at any stage of the study.
Research in social science needs to be free from all preconceived concepts and predetermined conclusions. Since, these branches of science deal with human beings and emotional responses, the standards have to be even more rigid. Such research has yielded results that have lead to progress of mankind and achieved social justice all over the world. Benefits have come about, irrespective of political, racial, linguistic, economic and other variations peculiar to the given society.
The proof of pudding proverbially lies in eating it and so here are two examples.
2. Child Poverty – Finally an Act
Child poverty leads to social exclusion from birth. The fact was visible to the naked eye and perceptible to the least of sensibilities; and yet, for hundreds of years, societies chose to ignore, or even worse castigate the victims themselves for their predicament. Charity Organization Society is reported to have said that “poor were poor of their own accord” while criticising Seebohm Rowntree’s Poverty, A Study of Town Life.
Rowntree, an industrialist and a social scientist had four studies conducted between 1901 and 1950. The first study conducted in 1901, came up with the startling conclusion that nearly 50% of working population in York were living below poverty levels. Children of such families, as a natural consequence not only were deprived of education, medical care, and clothing, but also did not have hope of any future hope.
However, Rowntree came to a flawed conclusion by 1950s that poverty had been conquered. (Glennerster, 164.) The study concluded that only 1.5% of York’s population were now poor. (Rowntree Society, 1.) Incidentally, the 1950 study is a classic example of how research can go astray, if subjectivity prevails over objectivity.
A bright change has come about, though nearly a century later. The House of Commons recognised that child poverty is too severe a menace and an organised effort was necessary. The Child Poverty Act 2010 received the Royal Assent in 2010, finally. (legislation.gov.uk, 25th March 2010.) Among several research efforts that highlighted the issue of Child Poverty, and which eventually led to passing of this Act, the final trigger was provided by the House of Commons study. (Research Paper 09/62.) This study can be cited as clear example of “perfect research.”
3. Housing the Invisible Minority
The Native Americans are compelled to rely on the goodwill of the US to honour its obligations in exchange for land, freedom and loss of culture. Unfortunately, even today, this community remains too small to matter politically and therefore it remains at the bottom of every social indicator including health, housing, education and employment. Native American continues to be “Invisible Minority. (Berry, Executive Summary, IX.) Approximately 90,000 Native Americans are homeless or live in cramped accommodation. Even of those who have some kind of shelter, 11.7% do not have plumbing of any kind according to the US Census Bureau, 2000 statistics.
As a partial alleviation, the US Congress brought about Section 184 Indian Home Loan Program. Under the programme, the designated service delivery agencies guarantee the loans on behalf of eligible Native American families and provide rebates such as one time mortgage insurance. At long last, the Indians have opportunities of homeownership or rehabilitation of housing. (USHUD.)
Out of the voluminous research on the subject of Indian Homelessness, questioning the quietness of the crisis (Berry, IX) prodded the Congress to commit Federal funds and create acceptable Residential-Addresses for the invisible minority.
The two examples have been selected because they demonstrate a conclusive proof that research has been and therefore will lead to progress. To that extent the research is perfect and hope for such genre of research will burn as bright as Blake’s Tiger.
Having conclusively proved so, I once again disagree with the statement “There Is No Hope of Doing Perfect Research.”
Berry, Mary Frances et al. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Executive Summary. A Quiet
Crisis: Federal Funding and Unmet Needs in Indian Country. Report. Web. IX.
20 Sep 2012
Glennerster, Howard, et al. One hundred years of poverty and policy. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation. York. 2004. 164. Web. Page. 20 Sep. 2012.
Griffiths, Morwenna. Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence. Buckingham. Open University Press, 1998. Print.
House of Commons Library. Child Poverty Bill. Bill No 112 of 2008-09. Research Paper 09/62 30 June 2009
Legislation.gov.uk. Child Poverty Act 2010. The National Archives. Web. 20 Sep 2012. Rowntree Society. Web. 20 Sep 12.
Smeeding, Timothy. Luxembourg Income Study Working Paper Series. Working Paper No. 426.
Government Programs and Social Outcomes: The United States in Comparative Perspective. May 2005. Web. 20 Sep 2012.