A 14 page research paper that profiles several studies that investigated the relationship between cohabitation and marriage or remarriage. In order to aid a student in formulating an original research project, the writer concentrates on describing methodologies used in these studies. Also, the writer offers tips and additional information on performing a social research study. Bibliography lists 6 sources.
it for granted that they marry as adults and raise children within the boundaries of the traditional family. From the 1960s onward, Western industrialized countries have witnessed a marked
change in the social attitudes regarding cohabitation. In many cases, the social acceptability of cohabitation has meant a corresponding decline in the number of marriages. In Canada, for example, the
average age for a first marriage has increased for women from 22.9 years in 1961 to 27.3 years in 1996 (Wu, 1999). For men, the figures are similar, 25.8 to
29.3 years (Wu, 1999). During the same period the proportion of the overall Canadian population aged 15 years and older that remain unmarried increased from 33 percent to 49 percent
(Wu, 1999). Numerous studies have connected a decline in marriage with a subsequent increase in non-marital cohabitation, which is a trend that has become particularly common among young people. Despite
this association, however, Wu (1999) argues that one cannot simply infer that one trend causes the other, as the relationship could be spurious and not represent a causal relationship.
This brings up the questions of how, precisely, does cohabitation affect marriage. What is the relationship? To investigate this question, the following examination of literature on this topic looks specifically
at research that indicates data pertaining to the manner in which cohabitation affects subsequent marriage rates. As the student researching this topic is particularly interested in how studies have handled
the problems involved in social research, particular attention is paid to the methodologies involved in each study. Wu (1999) found that cohabitation among Canadian couples did have a determinant
effect on delaying the timing of first marriages by roughly 26 percent for women and 19 percent for men. Wu argues that this effect is both substantial and significant because