Sociological research methods

You have to fill in the tables, which is a good way to reading, writing and learning at the same time as writing revision notes. I hope these are helpful :)

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advantages Disadvantages
Practical
Ethical
Theoretical
Questionnaires
They can be distributed to people at home and returned by post, emailed or
collected on the spot, e.g. in a classroom. Questionnaires ask respondents to
answer preset questions. Questions tend to be closedended, often with precoded
answers.
Positivists prefer questionnaires because they deliver reliable data e.g. by using the
same set of questions, they can be repeated exactly, so that previous findings can be
retested. Questionnaires generate quantitative data that can be used to test

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They can be used on a large
scale to produce representative data. However, interpretivists claim that the data
produced by questionnaires is low in validity.
Methods in context:
Questionnaires have been used to study educational issues such as: class
achievement parental attitudes to education subject choice material deprivation
and achievement. These are largescale topics requiring a research method that can
study large numbers of respondents relatively quickly and cheaply.…read more

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Theoretical
advantages Disadvantages
Practical
Ethical…read more

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Theoretical
Interviews
Sociological research employs two main types of interview. These are: structured
interviews and unstructured interviews. Sociologists sometimes also use semistructured
interviews, combing elements of both.
Structured interviews
Involves facetoface or overthephone delivery of a questionnaire. Structured
interviews use an interview schedule a preset list of questions designed by the
researcher and asked of all interviewees in the same way. Interviewees then choose
from a limited list of possible answers. Structured interviews are usually relatively
brief.…read more

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Practical
Ethical
Theoretical
Unstructured interviews:
Ask mainly openended questions, with no fixed set of questions to be asked of
every respondent. Produce qualitative data because the interviewee can respond in
words that are meaningful to them. Are guided as much by the interviewee as by the
interviewer. Are informal and freeflowing, and more `normal' than a structured
interviewmore like a guided conversation.
Interpretivists prefer unstructured interviews because they give people the
opportunity to talk openly, unrestricted by a fixed list of questions and possible
responses.…read more

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Disadvantages
Practical
Ethical
Theoretical
Methods in context:
Unstructured interviews have been used to study educational issues such as:
teachers `racialised expectations' about pupils pupil subcultures parental attitudes
how school policies are actually implemented in practice. These issues involve
finding out the meanings and attitudes people hold, so indepth, openended
questioning is more appropriate.
Unstructured interviews are generally less useful for investigating educational issues
such as: patterns of achievement speech codes used in the classroom.…read more

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Practical
Ethical
Theoretical
advantages Disadvantages…read more

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Practical
Ethical
Theoretical
Interviews
Sociological research employs two main types of interview. These are: structured
interviews and unstructured interviews. Sociologists sometimes also use semistructured
interviews, combing elements of both.
Structured interviews
Involves facetoface or overthephone delivery of a questionnaire. Structured
interviews use an interview schedule a preset list of questions designed by the
researcher and asked of all interviewees in the same way. Interviewees then choose
from a limited list of possible answers. Structured interviews are usually relatively
brief.…read more

Page 9

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Methods in context:
Structured interviews have been used to study educational issues such as: class and
achievement material deprivation and achievement, parental choice of schools.
These are largescale issues requiring a research method that can investigate large
numbers of respondents relatively quickly and cheaply.
Structured interviews are generally less useful for investigating educational issues
such as: classroom interaction and the official curriculum. These issues are topics
that require either direct observation or an examination of formal documentation.…read more

Page 10

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Unstructured interviews:
Ask mainly openended questions, with no fixed set of questions to be asked of
every respondent. Produce qualitative data because the interviewee can respond in
words that are meaningful to them. Are guided as much by the interviewee as by the
interviewer. Are informal and freeflowing, and more `normal' than a structured
interviewmore like a guided conversation.
Interpretivists prefer unstructured interviews because they give people the
opportunity to talk openly, unrestricted by a fixed list of questions and possible
responses.…read more

Comments

Aiste - Team GR

great for revision, will be using this closer to the exams!
thank you

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