The fertility behavior differential
Ascroft, Joseph B.
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The present paper is devoted to presenting a parsimonious, simplified and heuristic method of gathering data concerning concepts of fertility behavior and control. The nature of the instrument is such that it also facilitates cross-cultural comparison and generalization. The method employs the female fecundity period as a standard for data gathering. Its main uses are to gather (a) primary information on actual, expected, intended and ideal fertility behavior practice; and (b) secondary information on knowledge about and attitudes towards methods and practices of fertility control based upon an analyses of the primary information. The measurement device calls for more active participation by the respondent in the interview situation. The actual measurement device is mounted on a soft board and respondents answer questions by sticking appropriately coded mapping pins into the relevant places on the Fertility Behavior Differential. In this way, information is efficiently gathered on such issues as the outset of menstruation and menopause, the actual parental ages at marriage and at present, the actual birth order of all children up till the present time, differentiating between miscarriages and births of male and female children both living and dead, the expected birth order of further children, the intended birth order of further children if perfect fertility control were possible, the ideal parental ages at marriage and ideal birth order of children assuming that the respondent could go back to square one and start all over again. The measuring device is not restricted to women in there fecundity period. It may be extended to use responses of males and females of all ages, barring infants. In addition, the measurement method ameliorates problems of jargonistic terminology and the use of "sensitive" words and language.