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Disadvantages Of Unstructured Interviews

Decent Essays
Whereas a structured interview follows a standardised format, in an unstructured interview the interviewer has complete freedom to vary the interview. Supporters argue that this brings a number of important advantages. Such as, rapport and sensitivity, the interviewee's views are clearer, the ability to check understanding, flexibility and the ability for the interviewer to explore unfamiliar topics. However, there are multiple disadvantages to using unstructured interviews in sociological research. Such as, practical problems, which include, time and sample size, training, and interpersonal skills, there are also issues with representativeness, reliability, quantification and validity. Positivist sociologists would argue that unstructured interviews are a disadvantage for sociologists to use in sociological research because it cannot be quantified. As unstructured interviews are mainly open-ended questions, the answers cannot be pre-coded. This lack of quantitative data makes unstructured interviews less useful for establishing a cause-and-effect relationship and hypothesis testing that positivists prefer. For example, it is impossible to quantify how a woman might feel after experiencing domestic violence, making it difficult to establish a relationship between the actions taken against women and the long term psychological effect. Therefore, unstructured interviews are a disadvantage when used in sociological research. However, interpretivist sociologists may see the
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