UK Data Service data catalogue record for:
|Title:||Mothers Alone: Poverty and the Fatherless Family, 1955-1966|
|Alternative title:||Mothers Alone|
|Depositor:||Marsden, D., University of Essex. Department of Sociology|
Marsden, D., University of Essex. Department of Sociology
Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust
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Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.This study is available via the UK Data Service QualiBank, an online tool for browsing, searching and citing the content of selected qualitative data collections held at the UK Data Service.
Dennis Marsden's study Mothers Alone: Poverty and the Fatherless Family, also known as Fatherless Families, was carried out in 1965-1966. The study explores the lives and experiences of mothers living alone: unmarried, separated, divorced or widowed. The study posed two questions: what is poverty and who are the fatherless? The study asked about housing conditions, homelessness, diet and nutrition, family relations, marriage and marital breakdowns, and the levels and adequacy of community and national assistance. The interviewees were asked about detailed indicators of poverty and also the subjective, felt experience of poverty. The study examined problems families faced as a consequence of both low income and lack of fathers, the causes of their circumstances, and the adequacy of assistance provided by community and national sources.
The study was developed from a pilot study done for a larger project, 'Poverty in the UK', by Peter Townsend.
This is an enhanced qualitative data collection. All interviews were converted from paper to partially searchable Adobe PDF files. Additional relevant documents are included in the user guide, such as the questionnaire, the original letter sent to participants with assurances of consent and confidentiality, notes on methodology, and extracts from an interview with the author about conducting this research.
Detailed questions were asked about living arrangements, marriage, factors that led to fatherlessness, and family structure. Also, physical conditions of housing, furniture, water supply and heating were described. Other topics covered included sources of income (work and benefits), health, food and diet and clothing. Regarding children, data were collected about their health and education.
|Dates of fieldwork:||1965 - 1966|
No spatial unit
|Kind of data:||
Individual (micro) level
Semi-structured interview transcripts
Mothers living on their own (or with children only), receiving National Assistance, in West Yorkshire and Essex during 1965-1966. Those selected were mostly working class mothers aged 20-40, but a few were middle class and older. The respondents had an average of two dependent children.
Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Purposive selection/case studies
The sample was drawn from a pilot sample for a study on poverty in the UK, and consisted of 215 names provided by the National Assistance Board for the areas studied; a northern industrial town in West Yorkshire (population approximately 130,000), and a southern market town in Essex (population 60,000).
|Number of units:||116 interviews obtained: 44 from the northern industrial town and 72 from the southern market town.|
|Method of data collection:||
transcription of interview after the event( no audio); interviews lasted an average of two and a quarter hours.
|ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT||BROKEN FAMILIES||CARE OF DEPENDANTS|
|HOUSEHOLD BUDGETS||HOUSEHOLDS||HOUSING CONDITIONS|
|SOCIAL CLASS||SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS||SOCIAL SERVICES|
|UNMARRIED MOTHERS||WATER SUPPLY||WEST YORKSHIRE|
|Date of release:|
|First edition:||22 February 2005|
|Copyright:||Copyright D. Marsden|
|Access conditions:||The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.|
|Availability:||UK Data Service|
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|Title||File Name||Size (KB)|
|Study information and citation||UKDA_Study_5072_Information.htm||6|
By principal investigator(s):
Marsden, D. (1969) Mothers alone: poverty and the fatherless family, London: Penguin Press.
Resulting from secondary analysis:
Thane P. (2011), 'Unmarried motherhood in twentieth-century England', Women's History Review, 20(1), pp.11-29.
Evans, T. and Thane, P. (2006), 'Secondary analysis of Dennis Marsden's 'Mothers Alone'', Methodological Innovations Online, 1(2).
Gillies, V. and Edwards, R. (2012) 'Working with archived classic family and community studies: illuminating past and present conventions around acceptable research practice', International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 15 (4), pp. 321-30.
Cowan, D. (2018) 'Modern parenting and the uses of childcare advice in post-war England', Social History, 43(3) (August).