Research Methods- LT2 Informal/ unstructured Interviews

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What is an unstructured interview?
-Open ended questions lasting a long period of time, -There are few or no pre-set questions, only general areas to talk about which loosely direct the conversation,
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Waht are these loose general scheduled areas called in an informal interview?
Interview schedule,
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Why is it descibed as an 'informal' interview?
As it is like a guided conversation- free flowing and informal,
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Why is flexibity important in a unstructured interview?
As it allows the respondent to lead the interview and discuss what they think is important,
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How are the interviews usually carried out with the respondent and interviewer and an example study?
-Usually one on one, -E.g. Dobash and Dobash who studied domestic violence,
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Who provides theoretical advantages of informal interviews?
Interpretivists,
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For one advantage, why is the informality of the interview an advantage?
As it allows rapport to be built up as well as trust and confidence in the interviewer,
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When is structured interviews an especially good technique
-A good technique for sensitive areas of sociology,
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What does this mean for the findings?
This makes it likely that the validity of the findings will be high,
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Give an example study with Dobash and Dobash with this advantage?
Dobash and Dobash built up rapport with vicitms of domestic violence as they spent a great deal of time with them,
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Due to the rapport built, what did Dobash and Dobash become in the girls lives?
'Permanent fixtures'
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What V is gained due to the use of qualitative data and what does this mean?
-Verstehen, -It becomes possible to see things through the eyes of the interviewees and gain true empathy,
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What is the effect on the findings?
Validity is increased,
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Give an example of this advantage with Dobash and Dobash?
Dobash and Dobash spent a lot of time with the women and asked them about their whole lives not just about the incidents of domestic violence,
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What is another advantage based on the type of data found?
The findings are qualitiative and in depth,
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Give an example of this advantage with Dobash and Dobash's interviews?
Dobash and Dobash interviews were detailed and lasted up to 12 hours.
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What does this type of research method allow to be explored?
Motives, emotions, reasons, meanings, experiences and feelings.
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Give another example of a feminist sociologist who studied what about girls and education?
-Sharpe, -Was able to gain a great insight into feelings, aspirations and views of girls' attitudes towards education,
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For another advantage, what is a postive about the length of time it can be conducted?
There is no premature closure- The interview can go on for as long as necessary to allow the respondent to discuss everything they think is relevent,
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Due to the interviwer no pre-defining findings, what is the effect on the findings?
Validity is increased,
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What is another advantage based on flexibility and an example?
-Huge potential for flexbility, -For example, the interviewer can follow up interesting venues of discussion that they had previously not thought of,
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What is another advantage based on the interviewer and the ability to look further?
The interviewer can probe further and ger respondents to develop their points,
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What is the last theoretical advantage interpretivists give about confusion?
There is no confusion over the meaning of the question or how to answer them- this can be explained if necessary,
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What is the effect on the findings?
Increases validity,
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When is this advantage particularly important?
When researchin young pupils who may have communications difficulties,
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Who doesn't favour the use of unstructured interviews?
Positivists,
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Give on disadvantage of unstructured interviews base on the sample size and why?
The sample size tends to be small due to the detailed and time consuming nature of this technique,
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Give an example with Dobash and Dobash?
Dobash and Dobash carried out 109 interviews.
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What are three negative effects on the findings?
-Lowers validity, -Makes it difficult to get a representative sample, -Difficult to generalise the findings to a wider population,
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Give another disadvantage based on the use of no preset questions?
It is not a systematic methods as there are no preset questions,
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What must be relied on for the results instead?
The interviewer,
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What is the effect on the findings?
The findings are difficult to verify and reliability is lowered,
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What is another disadvantage based on the interviewers presence and how might this affect results?
-Method lacks objectivity, -The interviewers presence and the way questions are asked may affect results,
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Give some examples of 'interviewer bias'?
Facial expression, body language and voice tone can all effect answers given and may offer own opinions,
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Give an example of a vulnerable group interviewed?
Students may be easily influenced by adult researcher who have more power, status and linguistic abilities
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Whar process can also have bias?
Bias may occur during the detailed analysis process,
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What is the effect on findings because of bias?
Validity and reliability is lowered,
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What is another weakness based on inequalities?
Inequalities in power and status between the interviewer and interviewee lower validity,
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Give an example of this weakness?
Young children interviewed about their experiences of schooling may feel the need to offer answers which they think the researcher will want to hear, lowering validity,
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What other differents apart from age can distort and lower the validity of findings?
Gender and ethnic diferences,
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For practical disadvantages of unstructured interviews, give a disadvantage based on time?
They are extremely time consuming compared to other methods,
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Give an example of when extra time should be used to study this group and why?
-Young people, -As they may not understand questions.
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However, why isn't extra time given in interviews for young people usually?
Teachers are often overworked and may be less helpful if interviews last a long time. -Some schools may reject interviews because of lesson time that is lost,
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Give another practical disadvantage based on artificiality?
An interview is an unnatural artificial experience, not a real life situation,
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What is the effect on the findings?
Validity is lowered,
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Give another practical disadvantage based on skill needed?
Interviews require a great deal of skill from the researcher, to ensure that as much information as possible is collected,
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Give another based on cost?
It can be costly to train up researchers to carry out the interviews,
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Give another based on female interviewers and fears?
Female interviews have sometimes found it necessary to take safety precautions when interviewing men as they have been subject to sexual harrassment,
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Give another practical disadvantage based on cultural differences?
Cultural differences between the interviewer and interviewee may lead to misunderstandings about words and meanings,
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What is the effect on the findings?
Validity is lowered,
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What is the definition of a group interview?
In-depth interviews with a small group of people,
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Give an example of a group interview?
WIllis' group interviews to uncover the counter school subculture of the 'lads',
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For advantages of group informal interviews, what is an advantage based on comfort with peers?
Participants may open up as they feel more comfortable talking with others or their peers, than in a one-to-one situation,
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Give an example of this with WIllis?
Willis' felt free to talk openly about how they viewed school, teachers and work,
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How is this an advantage based on the relationship between the interviewer and interviewee?
The power relationship is reduced,
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Give another advantage of group interviews based on data produced due to participants bouncing off each other?
It allows for richer and more reflective data to be collected,
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Why is participants bouncing off each other an advantage?
They remind each other about examples, situations and feelings,
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Give another advantage based on initial ideas?
Group interviews are good for generating initial ideas that can be followed up in more detail by later research,
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For disadvantages of group informal interviews, what is a problem based on domination of discussion and the effect on the research?
Some participants dominate discussions; therefore the researcher will only get to understand the viewpoint of one or a few members of the group and not the group as a whole,
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What is another disadvantages about skill and the researcher?
Group interviews require alot of skill from the researcher to keep the interview focused and on topic,
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Give another disadvantage based on what pressure?
Individual participants may become subject to peer group pressure, which may influence what is said,
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What is the effect on the findings?
This will lower the validity of the findings as true feelings may not be shown,
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For general ethical considerations, for the consequences of the interviewee, what must the interviewer ensure about publication of research?
The interviewer must ensure that when the research is published it doesn't harm the group involved,
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What must be given before the researcher can interview the participant?
Informed consent,
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Give an example of when informed consent is especially important?
From students with special needs or are too young to understand the true purpose- Parental permission,
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How might exploitation of the interviewee be avoided?
The researcher must make sure that they do not pry too much and must not create anxiety or distress in the participant,
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When is this particulary important?
When investigating sensitive areas,
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What must the researcher ensure for protection?
Protection from harm,
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Waht are these loose general scheduled areas called in an informal interview?

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Interview schedule,

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Why is it descibed as an 'informal' interview?

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Why is flexibity important in a unstructured interview?

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How are the interviews usually carried out with the respondent and interviewer and an example study?

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