‘Examine the Reasons Why Some Sociologists Choose Not to Use Questionnaires When Conducting Research.’

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A questionnaire is a list of a research or survey questions asked to respondents, and designed to extract quantitative date. Questionnaires are easily distributed to the community and can be completed and collected on the spot or be emailed or posted back to the researcher. Self completed questionnaires are the most common survey as they are cheap and can be passed to a lot of people. Some sociologists tend not to use questionnaires because of their low response rate and lack of validity. Also, some people may give false information so some researchers like to stick to interviews and experiments for increased accuracy. I will explore why sociologists shy away from using questionnaires.

Positivists favour questionnaires because they
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A valid method is one that give a true picture of the peoples meaning and experiences, yet interpretivists argue that questionnaires are more likely to impose the researchers own meanings than to reveal those of the respondent. When a researcher chooses a question he automatically has decided that that is an important question and what is not. If researchers use close-ended questions, respondents cant include all the data they have to offer and have to fit their views into the question asked, if they use open ended questions the respondents have a chance to put all their meanings down, this could be more time consuming for collecting the date after. Shipman says when the researchers categories are not the respondents categories ‘pruning and bending’ is inevitable. He determines questionnaires as straitjackets and undermines the validity of the data. Another way of getting a true picture of the respondent is through triangulation- the use of 3 or more methods to achieve the same or similar results, it can be achieved through quantitative and qualitative data which makes it more reliable, questionnaires can be used adequately. In conclusion, it is clear that there are a lot of reasons as to why some sociologists choose not to use questionnaires when carrying out research. Some of the main

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