Blowing Up the Nuclear Family: the Changing Face of Family Research

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Published on

July 21, 2016
Time to read: 2 minutes

Families are changing. In the past 10 years there have been major legislative, technological and attitudinal changes towards marriage. This means that it is no longer seen as unusual to be involved in a ‘complicated’ family structure. As a content development agency, we at Hook Research need to always keep these changes in mind when conducting our family research.

The changes in marriage, divorce and cohabitation have contributed to the growing number of new types of family. For instance, two in five of all marriages are now remarriages, which makes step-families one of the fastest growing family forms in Britain.

What does it mean to be a Family today?

Families are now a mix of cohabiting parents, step-families, single parent families, those living apart together, and civil partnerships – as well as the more traditional nuclear family. Households containing two or more families were the fastest growing household type over the decade to 2015, increasing by 50% from 197,000 households in 2005 to 295,000 households in 2015.

Changes in the number of multi-family households may in part be due to older couples moving in with their adult child and their family – or vice versa. At the same time, there has been an increase in unrelated families (step families) starting to share households.

Families will go on evolving and we need to ensure we reflect these changes, when relevant, in our family research.

family research - Hook Research

A New Process for Family Research

As part of our unique 4D Methodology, we’ve been increasingly focused on in-home inter-generational research.

This process works by going in home and talking to all generations of a family under one roof. It’s a methodology that works particularly well when researching some BAME families as well as relevant services/brands such as radio listening, factual and family entertainment genres, news and print.

This approach offers a number of benefits:
• Everyone is more comfortable talking in the comfort of their own home
• We can access people who would never turn up to research groups
• Richer insights as discussions develop naturally and evolve as each member of the family is spoken to
• A more balanced and honest view is given as families tend to point out and pick up on family members not giving their real opinions
• Understanding a brand from all angles and how a brand truly works among a range of people with different needs and wants

As researchers, we need to constantly stay on our toes and make sure that we are adapting our methodologies to account for changing cultural norms. We’ll be regularly blogging about our qualitative market research techniques – so sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out!


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