Deconstructing Family Time: From Ideology

Independent Variable:

This was not an experimental study, and as such, there was not really an independent variable in question.

Primary Dependent Variable: Again, without it being an experimental study, the terms dependent and independent variability lose some of their meaning. In general, the outcome measures for this study consisted of the answers provided to the interview questions, particularly concerning how families define the concept of family time, how they engage in the concept of family time, what they expect of family time, and what the actual reality of their experiences of family time are.

Analytical or Statistical Technique Used:

The data in this study was predominantly qualitative and as such was analyzed using qualitative methods, including thematic coding, the principles of grounded theory and theoretical saturation.

Primary Finding:

The primary finding of the study is that the concept of family time, as it is currently being employed in the literature, is not an accurate reflection of the actual experiences of family time. The authors conclude that “family time is considerably more problematic and diverse in nature than our everyday discourse would suggest” (p. 292). Further to this, the study finds that the concept of family time is conceived by their participants as “prescriptive” — or something required for traditional family values and the well-being of the family.

Family time is also complicated and constrained, creating a constant battle between time, resources and desires. As a result of these features of the concept of family time most individuals have a sense of disillusionment or guilt concerning their own ability to properly participate in the family time concept.

Weakness of Study:

One weakness of this study is that it was not able to include observational data from all of the families children. Although the researchers interviewed 28 families, they only observed 16 children. Also, all research conducted with children is limited by their capabilities and cognitive development of the children involved, so it may be that the concepts presented to the children for discussion were not wholly understood by the children.

Strength of Study:

The use of interviews created a wealth of qualitative information from which the authors were able to draw a very detailed analysis of the concept of family time.

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