Unstructured Interviews as a research method

  • Created by: Megnicpip
  • Created on: 18-02-18 19:33
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  • Unstructured Interviews
    • Practical Issues
      • Interpersonal Skills: needed to be able to establish a rapport for interviewees to answer fully and honestly
      • Time and Sample Size: relatively small samples which take a long time to conduct as they are explorative
      • Training: needs to be thorough with a background in sociology which adds cost to conducting
    • Ethical Issues
      • Rapport
        • Puts interviewees at ease and encourages them to speak
        • Labov: by sitting on the floor using an informal style the child opened up and spoke freely
      • Sensitive Topics
        • Psychological harm can be caused from memories of traumatic events
        • Dobash: domestic violence study-the empathy and encouragement given to participants made them feel comfortable
    • Theoretical Issues
      • Validity
        • overall they are valid
        • interactions involved inevitably colours and distorts information
      • Reliability
        • Unreliable: not standardized as each interview is unique, therefore virtually impossible to replicate
      • Quantification
        • Open-ended questions so are not pre-coded
        • less useful for establishing cause and effect relationships as well as for hypothesis testing
      • Representativeness
        • Smaller numbers make it hard to make true generalisations
      • Checking Understanding
        • follow-up questions can be used
        • Questions can be clarified
      • Interviewee's View
        • Greater freedom making it more likley to produce valid data
        • Dean et al: 90 min interviews with 85 participants
      • Flexibility
        • highly flexible as no restrictions
        • new ideas can be formed making it good for hypotheis testing


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