• Created by: edolling
  • Created on: 16-04-19 23:21
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  • Questionnaires
    • What are they ?  - It is a popular research method which has a list of questions. this can be administeredstaright from the researcher or in bulk through post or electronicallywhich makes them independent.
    • Reliability means whether or not if the same study is repeated then the same results will be reproduced and so for this to be the case samples need to be representative, questions and processes need to be uniform and the data usually needs to be quantitative. Researchers need to be confident that the results will be the same if research is repeated as if it’s different then they need to be sure that the subject has genuinely changed and not that the original method was reliable.
      • Questionnaires usually seen as high in reliability, this is because it is possible to ask a uniform set of questions. Any problems with the questionnaire can be ironed out with PILOT STUDY. The more closed questions used the more reliable the research. 
    • VALID research reveals a true picture. Data that is high in validity is qualitative and is seen as ‘rich’. it provides the researcher with VERSTEHEN. The validity of data produced by questionnaires can be undermined by using closed questions which give a limited response.
      • Within questionnaires you can ask both open and closed questions. Closed give a limited response, possible outcomes can be either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Closed make data easier to analyse and more reliable. This is because quantitative data is given but this limited response impacts the validity, and so to overcome this researchers must widen the possible responses to closed questions.
      • Open questions do not limit, and so it produces qualitative data which is seen higher in validity. This is because detailed responses can be given of an individuals view but this data can be extremely difficult to analyse. Often there is danger of views and repossess being categories into smaller parts when analysed which can limit the work research. As a result interpretations of the researcher can play a role when analysing responses which means this is subjective. But as the usually produce quantitive data they are more reliable than valid but their positive is that they can give a mixture of reliable and valid data. 
    • Representativeness means the extent to which a sample mirrors a researchers target population and reflects its characteristics. An important judgements about research is whether its conclusions are only applicable to certain groups that are studies or if they can be generalised to wider society.
      • The more representative the more generalisable the results
      • The need to access a representative sample is because it is only then that the conclusions might be generalised. Micro sociologists are more concerned about this, this is because they are interested about a certain factor rather than broad judgements about the structure of society. But macro theorists would question the value of data that can only be applied to a very narrow group in society.
    • the more representative the sample the more generalisable the results
      • A sample from a broader target population is a smaller group of people studied. This is because it would usually be impossible to get data about the wider group. researchers usually try to create a sample which is representative of the target population.
      • The target population is everyone to whom sociologists would generalise their findings. So if a researcher was hoping to find conclusions about the whole of the UK, then that would be their target population. It would be difficult to find a sample that would be representative of a large population.
        • Target populations are smaller than this, focus on people in certain areas, of a certain age or occupation. When creating a sample most methods require a SAMPLING FRAME, this is a list of everyone in the target population from which a sample is drawn.
    • Practicality, questionnaires are considered a highly practical method and so conducting and collecting a large amount  of data quickly and relatively cheaply.
      • But there are some issues, a postal questionnaire is relatively costly because of the cost of mailing. Furthermore, incentives to improve the response rate can also add expenses.
    • Ethical Issues
      • When researching ethical factors must be considered: problems which relate to the morality of the research design. This would include is any deception is required and if those involved have given their full consent. it includes issues of whether the research may cause discomfort or harm. Issues of the participants anonymity and privacy.
      • A major ethical issue is whether the participants have given their consent to be involved.Its important that they understand what they have consented to: its checking this which gives INFORMED CONSENT. - Can be achieved by fully briefing the subjects before starting the research , and allowing them to withdraw at anytime
      • Issues with questionnaires can be resolved quite easily. when doing a quesionnaires researchers ask for personal information but this should only used when analysing, and a persons name should never be collected. other personal factors may be relevant if the data is to be analysed in terms of age, gender. only asking for what is actually needed, the risk of breaching confidentiality and risks about storing is reduced.
        • It is easy to make them anonymous in other ways, by using postal questionnaires rather than face to face.
      • They can  cause stress or discomfort to a participants if very personal or sensitive questions were asked. No opportunity to offer any support or reword a question more sensitively. Other methods might be more appropriate for such subjects, It's easy for them to withdraw from the work.
    • Questionnaires and sociological theory - They are favoured by positivities because they prefer quantitive, reliable data
      • Interpretivits don't like it because it can develop some qualitative data through open questions and so not seen as valid.


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