Using the pre release material and your wider sociological knowledge explore and evaluate why researcher might decide to use one or more methods of data collection to research young working class people and higher education.

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Using the pre release material and your wider sociological knowledge explore and
evaluate why researcher might decide to use one or more methods of data
collection to research young working class people and higher education.
A sociologist might decide to use mixed methods of data collection for a variety of reasons
including one method could compensate for the disadvantages of another and vice versa.
This enables the research to be high in validity and reliability.
Archer et al used qualitative methods of data collection such as photographic diaries and
focus groups. The use of photographic diaries consists of the pupils being asked to take
pictures of what is meaningful to them and the researcher then interpretating the picture
into words. This method is cheap and easy due to advances in technology as it is easy to
take pictures on mobile phones or digital cameras. The benfits of photographic diaries are
that the pupils were seen to be `at risk' of dropping out therefore as they may not hold such
an interest in school they would find it easy to express what was meaningful to them in a
pictorial form. It was also relevant to the aims of the research as the researchers were able
to see why the pupils felt that university wasn't for them, and what they felt was more
important. They would also reflect the pupil's identities and aspirations. Validity would be
increased as the researchers would be able to see a fisrt hand view as the pupils took
pictures of what they felt was meaningful to them and reflected their identities. However it
can be time consuming as Archer et al had to first wait for the pictures to be taken and then
had spend more time interpretating them into words. The pictures could also be classed as
not being representative because what is meaningful to one student may not be meaningful
to another therefore it would not represent the target population. Problems would also
occur whilst interpreting the meaning as Archer et al could feel that the pictures showed
something that was the opposite to what the pupil was trying to show, however the use of
respondent validation could overcome this. Focus groups were also used which involved a
group of people being asked questions about a particular topic. These hold many benefits
including the discussions could lead to topics that would otherwise be unknown come to
light thus increasing the validity as the research provides a true picture of the student's
social identity. Also those who would normally remain quiet would feel comfortable speaking
out as they would be surrounded by their peers and have more confidence. They can also be
tailored to a group's specific needs in this case young working class youth. By having
different people speak about different experiences other people would remember their own
experiences and ideas therefore the researcher would get more information this is known as
the group effect. However one person could become dominant in the group therefore not
everyone's experiences would be heard. The interviewer effect could also occur meaning
that the research would be affected by the social desirability bias therefore decreasing its
validity. The reliability could also be decreased as repeating the experiment and getting
similar results would be quite difficult to achieve. Participants may also be reluctant to
disclose some important information as they would not want to ruin their reputation or
their image. Qualitative methods of data collection have many advantages as they are in the
form of words therefore are rich in detail and increase the validity of the research. They are

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This could lead to more in depth feelings and
meanings becoming uncovered as Archer et al wanted to learn whether the identity taken
up by young working class young is based on knowing that they are looked down upon by
working class youth. As well as that photographic diaries and focus groups are closer to
reality as the information gathered was in the pupil's natural environment increasing the
ecological validity.…read more

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