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Harari, h and Hollingsworth did a study in 2009. The aim was to “gain a better understanding of what “being a father” means to parents and children in deprived areas,” focusing in particular on nuclear families from different ethnic group. They used time diaries and semi-structured interviews as part of methodological plurism.

Reliability is the extent to which a method produces similar results under constant conditions. Ways to make sure reliability is achieved is to use a consistent method and use a tightly structured method.

Validity is the extent to which a method measures or describes what it is supposed to. Validity looks at if the method provides the true picture of a situation. To maximise validity a method should be flexibly structured so answers can be verified by asking for more detail, and the truthfulness has to be checked. It is also vital that the respondent is not influenced in any way during the research as this can invalidate the responses as the responses either aren’t the full story or aren’t the responses that the respondent wanted to give. A possible cause of responses being invalid is social desirability.  

In this case, the research was conducted using time diaries and semi-structured interviews. These both lack reliability.

Semi structured interviews lack reliability because they have flexibility in the question, so the interview has differences from one condition to the next, to add depth the responses, for example while each interview would cover set topics, that wold be in this case, attitudes and beliefs about fathering and gender roles, the possible influence on present day fathering and childhood experiences, religion, ethnicity and practical circumstances and the importance of fathers to children, but the questions that are asked surrounding these topics would be slightly different as would the level of detail given, so it is not a hugely reliable way of getting information, however semi structured interviews are more reliable then the unstructured interviews.

Time diaries also lack reliability as a person’s life is rarely repeated particularly during weekends and school holidays and when children are involved, both of which are used in the study. Because of this, a person’s life is far from consistent and therefore it cannot be known if a person would react exactly the same if the situation was repeated, if all the variables were exactly the same.

Semi structured interviews also have issues with validity. The main issue is that people lie, in this case it is highly likely that the participants lied as they wanted to say what the interviewer wanted to hear or what they thought was the correct thing to say in the situation they were presented with. This is social desirability indirectly caused by the interviewer effect, as the presence of the interviewer could have had an impact on making the participants wanting to be socially desirable.

Time diaries also have similar issues with validity, as people can still lie in time diaries, but it might be because they omit things that


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