Interviews

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  • Created by: Kenzi2501
  • Created on: 11-02-18 14:05
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  • Types of Interviews
    • Structured/ formal
      • Similar to a questionnaire
        • Conducted in same standardized way each time
          • Same questions in the same order in the same tone,etc..
            • Interviewer records interviewees verbal answers
      • Weaknesses
        • Practical
          • More costly than a postal or emailed questionnaire
          • Reaches fewer people than a postal questionnaire
        • Theoretical
          • Lack of validity
            • Closed-ended questions restricts interviewees to a limited set of pre-set answers
              • If no answer reflects interviewees view the results = invalid.
            • They are inflexible
              • Interviewer has little freedom to clarify meaning and avoid misunderstan-dings.
              • Pre-determined questions means the interviewer has decided was is important
                • May not be the same as what the interviewee sees as important
                  • Will not reflect interviewees concerns and priorities
                • Interviewer cannot explore any topics of interest that may come up during the interview
            • Interview is a social interaction
              • Hawthorne effect
        • Ethical
          • People may feel pressured to answer
            • They find it harder to turn down a face-to-face request than a postal questionnaire
        • Feminist criticisms
          • Graham (1983)
            • Structured interviews = patriarchal
              • Give distorted invalid image of women's experiences
                • Researcher, not female interviewee is in control and choose line of questioning
                  • Women viewed as isolated individuals. Ignores power relationships that oppress them.
                • Imposes researchers categories on women
                  • Limits women's ability to express their experiences of oppression
                    • Conceals unequal gender power relationships
      • Strengths
        • Theoretical
          • More representative
            • Higher response rate = more likely to get representative sample
              • Better  for making a generalization about society
          • More reliable
            • Standardized and controlled procedure makes them easily repeatable for other sociologists
        • Practical
          • Traning interviewers is relatively cheap and easy
            • Only have to be able to follow instructions
          • Reaches quite a large number of people
            • Quick and cheap to carry out
          • Results = easily quantified
            • Due to use of close- ended questions with coded answers
      • Favoured by positivists
    • Unstructured/ informal
      • Like a guided conversation
        • Interview has complete freedom to vary the questions asked
          • Interviewer has certain subjects they want to cover but no preset questions
            • They can ask questions about areas of interest that appear during the inteview
      • Favoured by interpretivists
      • Strengths
        • Theoretical
          • Provide valid data
            • Informal
              • Researcher can create a rapport/ relationship of trust and understanding with the interviewee
                • Puts interviewee at ease
                  • Encourages them to open up and be honest
                    • Responses create valid image of their experiences
            • No set questions
              • Interviewer doesn't determine what questions are worth asking
                • Allows the interviewee to have the opportunity to discuss what they feel is important
              • Flexible
                • New ideas can be formulated and tested during the interview
                  • Don't have to draw up a new interview schedule
            • Interviewers are free to clarify meaning and avoid confusion
              • If the interviewee doesnt understand a question, it can be explained
                • If interviewer doesnt understand an answer, questions can be asked to gain clarification
                  • Less misunderstan-dings mean the answers are more valid
          • Provides verstehen/ understanding
            • Open-ended questions
              • Interviewee expresses their own ideas in their own words
                • Produces qualitative data
                  • Gives us insight to the meanings attached by the interviewee to the subject matter
        • Practical
          • Good for researching sensitive subject matter
            • Interviewers are empathetic and encouraging
              • Interviewee feels more comfortable discussing difficult topics
                • E.g Dobash and Dobash's study of domestic violence
          • Exploring unfamiliar topics
            • They are open-ended and explanatory
              • Start with little knowledge of topic
                • Learn more by asking questions
                  • Good starting point for researching topics
      • Weaknesses
        • Theoretical
          • Unreliable
            • Not standardised or controlled
              • Different questions and orders each time
                • Difficult to repeat and obtain comparable results
          • Unrepresentat-ive
            • Generally they have a low response rate and sample size
              • Sample less liekly to be a typical cross-section of the population
                • Harder to make valid generalisation-s based on findings
          • Validity
            • Interview is social interaction
              • May distort validity of fndings
                • Answers changed to paint themselves in a  favourable light
        • Practical
          • Time and sample size
            • In-depth interviews
              • Take a long time to carry out
                • Limits sample size
                  • Fewer people willing to participate
                  • Interviewer can see fewer people than if they were doing structured interviews
          • Training
            • More thorough than needed for structured interviews
              • Must be able to recognise what is important to the research within responses
                • So they are able to probe further with appropriate questions
                  • Adds to cost
              • Interviewer needs good interpersonal skills so they can establish the rapport required
    • Semi-structured
      • A mix between an unstructured interview and a structured interview
        • Each interview has same set of starting questions
          • Interviewer can probe for more information
            • Additional questions can be asked where relevant
      • Strengths
        • Researcher can collect both quantitative and qualitative data · 
          • Provides data that is a mix of valid and reliable
      • Weaknesses
        • Interviewer effect
          • Presence of an interviewer can influence the validity of data
            • People change their responses to paint themselves in a desirable light
        • Generally small sample and flexibility in questions asked
          • Leads to  an unrepresentat-ive sample
            • Makes generalisation-s of findings difficult
    • Group interviews
      • Interviews that are not one-to-one
        • Multiple people being interviewed together
      • Strengths
        • Participants feel more comfortable being with others
          • More likely to open up
          • Throw ideas around the group
            • Creates richer, reflective data
            • Researcher can use opportunity to observe group dynamic and norm
        • Useful way to generate initial ideas on a topic
      • Weaknesses
        • Discussion may be dominated by one or two individuals and others may not participate
          • Peer group pressure
            • Pressure to conform to the group's norms
              • People answer unhonestly
                • Data becomes invalid
        • Researcher must be able to keep conversation on topic
        • Data produced is complex and difficult to analyse.
      • Focus groups
        • interviewer asks group to discuss certain topics
          • Interviewer observes group without particpating
            • Reduces interviewer bias

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