Unit 2 - Education & Research Methods

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2 different types of interviews & observations;

1. structured - this method is used exactly the same on each particpant - nothing at all changes.

2. unstructured - this method is more like a guided conversation, alters between each participant, more natural/ free-flowing conversation.

Observations in Education

This method is used for people who want to study things such as classroom behaviour,racism & teachers expectations/labelling

Less structured observations (interpretivists prefer this method)

  • ethical issues; extra care needs to be taken to protect the identity of the school/pupils/teachers etc.
  • validity; children will not reveal their true attitudes and behaviour to an adult researcher (could they be scared?) so therefore, is undermining the validity of the research.
  • practical issues; schools can be more time consuming and complex/however its easier to get permission to observe lessons rather than interview teachers & pupils/observations can be affected by the school timetable/ health & safety
  • Hawthorne Effect (H.E); most classroom observations need to be overt (not being undercover), this causes the researcher more difficulty in avoiding the H.E, because the presence of the researcher influences the behaviour of the participant.

Structured observations (positivists prefer this method)

  • practical issues; observations usually obtain quantitative data - numbers / less training is required for structured interviews (can be done cheaply & quick)
  • validity; this observation has low validity because the meaning of the pupils and teachers behaviour is ignored.
  • reliability; this method can be easily replicated as it generates quantitative data, so therefore makes findings easier to compare with other studies.

Pros and cons of group interviews; 

Pros - more comfortable with others so they may open up,


India Evans

hope this helps guys :-) 


Thanks real help :)

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