Social change: Independent study

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The question of whether different family structures affect the educational achievement of children is one that has been debated over a vast amount of years and is still under scrutiny today. This theoretical study aims to contribute to our understandings of the links between single parent family structures and the affect it has on adolescent’s education (12 – 17 year olds). It particularly gives emphasis to single parent families, however also considers other family structures, such as, families that consist of two parents, step families, etc, which enables comparison between the data and gives an illustration of the educational differences between single parent family households and other family structures.

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This comparison has facilitated an analysis on positive or negative effects single parent families can possess on education. Lastly the study assesses the data available between educational attainment of adolescents from single-mother families and adolescents form single-father families. Research data has been collated from secondary sourced materials about single parent family structures and education, which were mainly in the form of journal articles all written by credible authors over the past 15 years. These statues of the sources used that influence the establishment of knowledge and policy are highly credible, as they are acknowledged by the accredited organisations that have allowed the primary research to be conducted and the data published. An analytical review has been conducted on all the research data examined and enabled the following findings; although adolescents are at increased risk of adverse outcomes when living in a single parent family structure, the differences between adolescents from two parent and single parent families is fairly insignificant and adolescents will predominantly, not be affected in terms of educational achievement and occupational success.


Prior to starting this study, a comprehensive and detailed research process around the area of interest on single parent families was undertaken, to provide the core foundations of the study. It was necessary to engage with a wide variety of secondary sourced materials, which needed an extensive and analytical review, in order to carry a successful theoretical study on the chosen title; ‘A Critical Review: The Educational Performance of Adolescents from Single Parent Families’.

There was a vast amount of literature and different methods of conduct in the way the information needed could be obtained, therefore a ‘search strategy’ was devised [Refer to Appendix 1 – Research Journal Book; Page 5], which included a clear and logical plan to collating the necessary research data.

The starting point for the research process was a search for relevant literature on the Manchester Metropolitan University library website. This enabled access to the basic electronic books, articles and on-line journals to provide the basic background reading around the topic under analysis.

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