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Sociology: Using official statistics
Official statistics

Official statistics

Official statistics are seen as facts which the government and other bodies in society may use for planning and developing services e.g. birth rate, death rate, crime, health and unemployment statistics for instance.

Advantages of using Official Statistics

  1. Cheap and readily available
  2. Can be used with other methods e.g. if investigating health and social class, official statistics on health, life expectancy and incidence of disease may be a useful starting point

Disadvantages of using official statistics

  1. Statistics are superficial. They don't give the reasons e.g. for a rise in divorce or for a fall in the birth rate
  2. It is possible that not all statistics are accurate (or VALID) e.g. crime statistics will only reflect crimes that are reported and counted by the police as a crime, offender statistics will only reflect those offenders who have been caught and successfully prosecuted.


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