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Comparing child maintenance systems: conceptual and methodological issues.

Corden, A. (2001) Comparing child maintenance systems: conceptual and methodological issues. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4 (4). pp. 287-300. ISSN 1364-5579

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Technological developments in collection and transfer of data have widened the scope of comparative research, but there has perhaps been less progress in methodology at conceptual and theoretical levels. In this article the author uses aspects of the research experience in a comparative study to illustrate the importance of considering transference and translation of concepts. The study compared child maintenance sytems in ten European countries to contribute to the UK policy debate on child support and reform of the Child Support Agency. Complex issues arose in making comparisons, illustrated here in discussion about different assumptions of obligation and ownership among the countries studied, in the context of child support, and conceptual differences in what is considered 'fair'. The author also reflects on the management and effect of language differences between the informants, and the adoption of English as the working language. The article concludes by emphasising the importance of developing the conceptual, theoretical and linguistic underpinning of comparative research.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy Research Unit (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2009 17:55
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2009 17:55
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13645570110064575
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Identification Number: 10.1080/13645570110064575
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6388

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