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Assess the strengths and limitations of using interviews for the study of educational achievement and material deprivation

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Introduction

´╗┐Using the material from item 2(c), assess the strengths and limitations of one of the following methods for the study of educational achievement and material deprivation: 1. Interviews The use of interviews, which is a process of asking a set of questions to participants physically by the researcher, can have many advantages. First of all, it produces qualitative data which will be favourable for interpretivists. However it will clearly be criticised by positivists who believe that quantitative data is required. Firstly, interpretivists will look favourably at using interviews, especially unstructured interviews. This is because it will produce qualitative by allowing the participants to expand on their reasons and keep control of the interview. Perhaps it can allow the working class and ethnic minority students to talk about their experiences at home for example parents divorcing or interactions at school for example labelling to explain why they underachieve. ...read more.

Middle

However it will be quite a cheap process. This is because the researcher will incur no costs in producing the questions for the interview, and since the researcher is doing the research first-hand, there are no costs that maybe official statistics may have. In terms of ethics though, it could have a problem. The researcher is essentially invading someone?s privacy. This is because if the researcher is asking sensitive questions to culturally deprived students about their interactions at school and at home for their bad results at school, it could make students upset about their failure. From item B, the issue of debt was mentioned by Callender and Jackson, and clearly debt and a lack of money is a very personal issue for working class students who are materially deprived. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the Hawthorne effect can take place, since these students can make themselves look more favourable in the researcher?s eyes by revealing false aspects of their lives and perhaps making themselves sound better than what they actually are i.e. a materially deprived, underachieving student. Furthermore validity could be affected since researchers are generally adults and since most materially deprived and ethnic minority students from anti-school subcultures, they could be hesitant in revealing information to an authoritative-like figure. Furthermore, since interviews will tend to be done in one school, the sample size will generally be small which will reduce representativeness. Overall it can be said that interviews are a good way of finding out about material deprivation affecting education. It will mostly produce qualitative data which will benefit interpretivists. ...read more.

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