Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Stephenson assessing in-home HIV testing and counseling for male couples

Thompson says mass incarceration causes collapse of Detroit neighborhoods

Liberal-conservative gap by education level growing in U.S.

Highlights

Maggie Levenstein named director of ISR's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Arline Geronimus receives 2016 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award

PSC spring 2016 newsletter: Kristin Seefeldt, Brady West, newly funded projects, ISR Runs for Bob, and more

AAUP reports on faculty compensation by category, affiliation, and academic rank

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

Pamela Smock photo

A Case for Qualitative Methods in U.S. Family Demography: Understanding the Meaning of Unmarried Cohabitation

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionSmock, Pamela, and Wendy Manning. 2001. "A Case for Qualitative Methods in U.S. Family Demography: Understanding the Meaning of Unmarried Cohabitation." PSC Research Report No. 01-483. August 2001.

Demographic knowledge about the family in the United States has been grounded in quantitative data and analysis. This is both appropriate and unsurprising given that a central mission for family demographers is to attain understandings of family structures and processes that can be generalized to various populations. This paper argues, however, that to fully understand the family and particularly new family forms, it is important to include qualitative approaches as well. Using the example of unmarried cohabitation, we first develop a conceptualization of cohabitation, combining sociological understandings of the family as a societal institution with insights derived from symbolic interactionism. We then argue that our conceptualization implies that qualitative, as well as quantitative, research methods are necessary for understanding family forms. Finally, we discuss possible barriers to fully endorsing qualitative methods by demographers studying the United States.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next