chapter  3
20 Pages

Social Character of the Areas and Samples Studied

One of our first problems in this study of English middle-class kinship was to decide on the scale and place of the investigation. Should we try to examine a national sample or a metropolitan sample, or be content with a much smaller local sample? Bearing in mind the multitude of variables involved, we decided that we would at least try and reduce the effects of variation in one set-those of local environment. To get neighbourhood relations, transport facilities and immediate amenities open to each of our subjects as similar as possible we selected our cases from only two areas, each of fairly small size, which would give the likelihood of some common social experiences to those living in each area. After careful consideration, we took both areas close together in the mid-outer residential ring of the metropolis, in North London. This meant that we could dispense with having to bring in as background a fresh set of socio-geographic and historical features, which might have affected the kinship patterns of contact differently if our areas or cases had been chosen at random from the country at large.