• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the effectiveness of questionnaires and interviews in sociological research.

Extracts from this document...


George Amos 12K - Sociology Compare and contrast the effectiveness of questionnaires and interviews in sociological research. When sociologists wish to collect some data about people's behaviour, questions must first be asked. It comes as no surprise to learn that sociologists spend most of their time asking questions of the respondents and collecting the data. But what is the best way to ask these questions? Questionnaires have become an everyday occurrence with most people having filled in a questionnaire at some point in the life span. There are two methods of asking questions; firstly, an interviewer can ask questions of the respondents and record the results, which means that the questionnaire is likely to be filled out correctly, but on the other hand, the respondent may change his or her opinion based on what they think the interviewer wants them to hear. I.e. if the interviewer is a female, a male respondent is more likely to be sympathetic to feminist views. ...read more.


There are two types of question, open or closed. Open questions are more qualitative as they allow the respondent more chance to express themselves, and closed questions are easier to turn into stats and figures making them more quantitative. Questionnaires are relatively cheap and easy to produce, when compared to the time and cost it takes to do the same amount of face to face interviews. The findings in a questionnaire are also more representative as they allow the sociologist to use a broader sample. This style is also more reliable meaning that it can be produced again by another sociologist to achieve the same results. Filling in a questionnaire is usually done anonymously which encourages more people to answer honestly. The main problem with Questionnaires is validity. Some sociologists argue that in their hurry to complete the questionnaire, respondents may not think to carefully about their answer and may skip on details. ...read more.


Structured interviews are obviously less quick and cheap when compared to questionnaires, but the interviewer is there to give the respondent prompts and explain certain questions. However structured interviews still maintain a high level of reliability. Unstructured interviews benefit from not forcing the respondent into niches that they would be forced into in structured interviews or questionnaires. This means that the responses given are far more valid. It takes a long time to carry out an unstructured interview so the sample will generally be smaller, thus less representative. Finally, the researcher must be aware that the respondent will only reveal what the respondent is aware of and wants to reveal. On top of which, people are not always aware of their own behaviour, i.e. teachers don't necessarily know that they place a greater emphasis on girls rather than boys in the classroom. Questioning in any form therefore has its limitations. In conclusion, both questionnaires and interviews are useful depending on whether you want more qualitative or quantitative data. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Computer Science section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Computer Science essays

  1. With diagrams compare and contrast the relative advantages and disadvantages of digital transmission over ...

    There is no way that electronic equipment can tell such random noise from the original electrical signal, so there is no way it can be removed again without removing some of the original signal. We can see more clearly if we draw a graph of the level of the analogue audio signal over a period of time (diagram 1a).

  2. Propose to research the WTLS or Wireless transport layer security protocol along with the ...

    Class 2 - server authentification - probably will be the most common model used. As with SSL, once clients are assured they are talking securely to the correct server, they can authenticate using alternative means such as user name/password. Bear in mind that WTLS certificates are not the same as X.509 certificates, and they can't be used interchangeably.

  1. Assess the relative advantages of Quantitative research data and Qualitative

    Official statistics are statistics produced by local and national government, government agencies and organisations all funded by the government. This also produces quantitative data; the advantages of this are published statistics are readily available and cost little or sometimes nothing to use and many government surveys are well planned and

  2. ICT Sample Work India Red

    The reason behind this is that it will allows flexibility and user will not need any extra software or training to be able to use the designed form. Visual Basic allows more than one validation to be applied to fields.

  1. CP3 - Proposed Solution to a Realistic Problem - Apartment Administration software

    There is no need for a network connection. This suits my client because they will be the only one who uses the program and this improves security and prevents unauthorised access. The program also generates fairly quick results and the user does not have to wait for along time to see the output of this results.

  2. Definition-nature of the problem solved - Car Mechanic business

    At the moment I still keep everything for each customer because often I may need to look back over previous jobs to remind me of what the customers situation is in terms of their vehicle and there history with the company.

  1. This essay will cover some aspects of sociological research. It will answer not only ...

    Last but not the least, it is part of the process of increasing human knowledge that every contribution builds on, or at least relates to previous work (Bell 1987). There are several resources available to collect data on what has been done in the past, for example systematic search through

  2. Database Coursework – George Youngs Coaches.

    be stored in separate tables and organized by date, alphabetically or any other way. This also allows for the whole database to be searched or queried, allowing the user to find things in an instant, making it easy to find the data they require.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work