Applying material from Item B and your own knowledge of research methods, evaluate the strengths and limitations of using self-completion written questionnaires to investigate unauthorised absences from school. (20 Marks)
Sociologists draw a close correlation between unauthorized absences and the underachievement in school work. Pupils who are not successful in their subjects are more likely to truant. Students may also not attend school due to caring responsibilities or the dislike of school in itself.
Sociologists such as positivists may choose to use self-completion written questionnaires to study unauthorised absences as it illustrates itself in the form of quantitative data. This method of research can be distributed easily and inexpensively to a large number of pupils in a short space of time. However, response rates are often very low, especially when dealing with sensitive topics. Children who are bullied are less likely to attend school, this leads to them missing important lessons and inevitably underachieving in their academic subjects. Furthermore, if the sociologist is investigating unauthorized absences, they must acquire a way of distributing the questionnaires. If the child is not attending school, then they will not receive the questionnaire.