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Understanding the way in which relationships are built between family members, as well as learning about the nature of the connection between family members, is crucial to the identification of the existing issues and their further successful management. It should be noted, though, that there is a range of obstacles on one’s way to studying the concept of a family and identifying the patterns of the members’ behavior. Popular media deserves to be listed among the primary sources of misconceptions about the family, according to Bryan Strong (33-34). Filled with stereotypes and often representing an idealized version of family relationships, television and the Internet contribute to the development of a preconceived attitude toward the phenomenon of a family.
Indeed, a closer look at the modern television and the manner in which family life is portrayed in it will reveal that some stereotypes have been striving in the media and, therefore, are likely to have a significant impact on how people shape their relationships in the family (Strong 33). The Disney animated feature films are, perhaps, the most notorious examples of the problem; even though the company is known for producing family-friendly content, the lack of mother-child relationships in its animated movies has become the subject of numerous jokes (Balraj and Gopal 121).
The same can be said about reality television. The people producing it are more interested in keeping the audience glued to the TV screens rather than addressing the actual problems faced by modern families. As a result, old stereotypes are recycled to the point where the viewers have a very vague concept of what family relationships should be like (Strong 34).
Much like any other research, studying the way in which a family operates requires the adoption of a scientific method. When considering the existing theoretical frameworks, one must also bear in mind that the subject matter can be explained from the macro- and micro-perspectives. The macro-level theories are supposed to interpret the interactions between the family members by examining a family as a social institution. As a result, one may explore family-related issues from a global perspective, e.g., the social, economic, political, or even an environmental one. Therefore, the theories such as the Family Ecology Theory, Structural Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Feminist Theory are viewed as the ones that can be used to address family issues from a macro-perspective. Thus, one may analyze the external factors that contribute to the development of relationships between the family members and, consequently, manage the problems triggered by some of the outside factors (White et al. 189). For instance, the Conflict Theory helps determine the sources of misunderstandings between the family members and, thus, encourage families to design the unique frameworks that could help them manage these conflicts accordingly (White et al. 190). As a result, misunderstandings and disagreements are analyzed closely, and crucial information is obtained to avoid further confrontations. Symbolic Interactionism, the Social Exchange Theory, the Developmental Theory, and the Family Systems Theory, in their turn, are used to manage the needs associated with the interactions between family members on a micro-level. In other words, a family is represented as a large entity comprised of the relationships between its members. The effects of global factors, such as environmental issues, economic concerns, political problems, etc., are not taken into account when using the micro-level theoretical frameworks (Strong 39).
How to Do Research on Families
As stressed above, studying the specifics of family relationships, the way in which they are built, how they can be shaped and improved, etc., is an important step to creating stronger ties between family members and helping people be happier in their family life. Therefore, studies have to be done to explore the issue and find new ways of opposing the emergent problems (Strong 55).
Naturally, to carry out research on family issues, one should consider the theoretical perspective from which the phenomenon in question will be considered. Thus, the scope of the study will be determined. To be more specific, the family will be considered as either an independently functioning entity or an element of the global society (Cowan et al. 153).
Furthermore, The issue of ethics will have to be addressed accordingly. Any research involving the recruitment of participants must be based on a set of rigid ethical principles; however, in the case in point, the ethical standards will have to be even more profound and suggesting that tighter control should be executed. The reason for the identified measures to be taken is that, when studying a family, one may jeopardize the well-being of not one, but several people, and trigger significant problems in the relationships between them. Therefore, caution must be taken when designing the ethical platform for the study.
As far as the tools for obtaining the required information are concerned, surveys and interviews are typically used. One may conduct a clinical, observational, or experimental study to answer the research question. In each case, a detailed analysis of the interactions between the family members is required. As soon as the necessary data is retrieved, one may start the analysis and draw conclusions that can cause a positive change in the relationships between family members (Strong 54-55).
Balraj, Belinda Marie, and Kupusami Gopal. “The Construction of Family in Selected Disney Animated Films.” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, vol. 3. no. 11, 2013, pp. 119-121.
Cowan, Philip, et al. Family, Self, and Society: Toward A New Agenda for Family Research. Routledge, 2014.
Strong, Bryan. The Marriage and Family Experience. Wadsworth Publishing, 2013.
White, James M., et al. Family Theories: An Introduction. SAGE Publications, 2014.