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

Research Methods - the strengths and weaknesses of unstructured interviews.

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Unstructured interviews: In sociology, there are two contrasting approaches to conducting research. This method is mainly used by interpretivists because it shows a developed understanding (verstehen) of an individual persons behaviour which they believe can only be explored via methods that produce qualitative data to allow them to find insight and meaning, which can be provided by using unstructured interviews (UI). However, positivists who would use a quantitative research method such as questionnaires, because they are considered to be easy to analyse, objective, and highly reliable. The practical issues surrounding the use of UI are time because to do just one participant is very time consuming, and at times they usually get off topic thus creating unnecessary information. ...read more.


Also confidentiality and anonymity are important as this will gain the trust of the interviewee thus increasing validity. At all times they should have the right to stop and withdraw if they do not want to continue. This is more relevant with UIs as they normally touch upon sensitive issues. The participant must also have an idea of what the research is about, but revealing too much about the hypothesis may lead to social desirability. Unstructured interviews are not seen as reliable, because if it was done again, due to their conversational nature the answers can never be the same, meaning that the research cannot be carried out by other researchers even on the same participants. ...read more.


The representativeness of the research falls upon the how large the sample is, because the larger the sample, the easier it is to get a generalisation. The fact that UI samples are normally small, means that it will be difficult to generalise. To conclude, all research methods have their strengths and limitations, but to make the limitations as small as possible sociologists use triangulation, where they use more than one research method on a particular study to get the best results. An example is Wright when she observed 1000 teachers and students, looking at how teachers behaved towards students, she used non-participant and direct observation to carry out her study. Barker (The Making of a Moonie) ? she used a number of methods when researching the lives of Moonies. ...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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification 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 Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of interviews, as a research method

    Alternatively, this may lead to the response being invalid. The interviewee might lie or exaggerate to 'look good' or because they are embarrassed or sensitive about a particular topic. This is known as the Hawthorne effect. On the other hand, unstructured interviews are like a guided conversation.

  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of participant observation, as a research method

    This is called deceiving. Participant observation can be used in society to obtain a further insight into the world of criminals and football hooligans, etc. It can also be used in education. For example, a researcher can disguise themselves as a supply teacher, to see how different years follow the instructions set.

  1. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires, as a research method

    Also, there is no need to train people on how to analyse and collect the data. However, there are also many disadvantages for practical issues. For example, questionnaires are considered to be generally quick, although, in some situations they take long to design, apply and analyse.


    However, others believe it is a patient's right to be able to give their informed consent to such a last-resort operation. It is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of psychosurgery when so few operations are carried out, and the criteria for success cannot be agreed upon.

  1. Choice of research method. here are various types of research methods available, such ...

    Secondly, confidentiality is also a requirement of most ethical codes. Some research may be difficult because government, police or court might require researcher to disclose their research findings. Fitzgerald and Hamilton suspended their research on Australian drugs due to fear that police would issue warrant requiring them to disclose confidentiality information.

  2. Social research

    I will need to operationalise some concepts within my research. One being 'young British adults'. Within my research I will be interviewing people between the ages of 23-29 and this is because I am planning on getting my sample from graduates from university and people tend to graduate from 23 onwards.

  1. Explain and evaluate the use of unstructured interviews/qualitative data to research the lifestyle choices ...

    Therefore, operationalization of variables was not involved. The researchers used a two stage sampling process. Since, the research was about early retirees, first, a purposive/judgemental sample was used to access the databases of organisations (gatekeepers) where retired persons worked. Here ?access? was gained to the first stage sample by advertising the research project in newsletters and distributing leaflets at early retirement seminars.

  2. Assess the strengths and limitations of unstructured interviews for the study of boys underachievement ...

    Unstructured interviews can take a long time to conduct which means that less can be carried out. This could cause a big problem to give a good range of answers the researcher/interviewer may want to visit different schools to see how the answers differ in different schools and in different areas.

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