advantages and disadvantages of methods of gaining primary data

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method advantages disadvantages
Postal questionnaires by Cheap, quick and Questions may be
post or email efficient misunderstood
As the researcher is May not be fully
not present, completed
respondents may be Can never be sure
more willing to who answered it
answer personal May be unsuitable for
questions some populations
Closed questions Do not allow
provide quantitative respondents to
data easier to spot develop their answers
patterns Response rate is
Ask standardized usually low
Can be replicated or
repeated to check
Structured interviews Questions are Interview situation
questionnaires delivered face standardized easier may influence
to face or by telephone with to spot patterns interviewee
set questions Able to compare interview bias
interviewees' Interviewer may
responses influence responses
Can be replicated or Limit opportunities
repeated to check for respondents to
reliability express own views
Interviewer can and opinions
clarify meaning of
Can ensure all
questions are
Unstructured interviews More flexible Time consuming and
informal, guided Can ask additional expensive
conversation. May work from questions Require skilled
a list of points or prompts Have opportunity to interviewer
talk at length in their May be affected by
own words interview bias
May ask leading
Every interview is
unique difficult to
replicate or repeat
Small sample size
Group interviews small Wide range of views Need to be managed
group discussions and experiences carefully

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Individuals may be Interviewees may
recruited to take part influence each other
in follow up Not everyone's voice
interviews may be heard
May be more Unable to guarantee
comfortable in group confidentiality
Longitudinal studies studies Allow researchers to Expensive
of the same group of people examine social May effect behaviour
conducted over a period of changes over time of participants
time Difficult to remain in
contact with the
original sample over
People may change
their minds and
decide not to
Covert PO…read more


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