Structured Interviews

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Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose to use structured interviews when conducting their research (20 marks)

Many sociologists choose to use structured interviews when they are conducting their research, because by having a structured interview there are a set of prepared questions that are close-ended and already have pre-coded answers.
One reason why researchers choose to use structured interviews is because they are cheap, quick and easy to do. This is because by going out and actually trying to interview the public it is quicker to get a response from the participants and also its quicker to find out whether or not someone is willing to take the time and answer the participants questions. It is also cheaper as you don’t
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This allows them to have the choice of anonymity or not.
However structured interviews lack validity as many people lie and exaggerate this means that the results which are produced are false. Structured interviews also suffer from inflexibility as this comes from drawing up the questions in advance to conducting the research, this is because the researcher has already decided what is important although this may not necessarily be what the interviewee thinks is important.
Interpretivist don’t favour structured interviews as they use s pre-set structure which then means that the interviewee can’t discuss what they believe is important to them, also by not having open-ended questions it doesn’t allow the interviewee to be able to express themselves in their own words. Whereas positivists favour structured interviews as they achieve their main goals of reliability, generalisability and representative. This is because there are standardised questions and answers which produce reliable data as other researchers will then be able to replicate the interview. Also there is already pre-coded responses which allows for the production of quantitative data, identifying and measuring behaviour patterns as well as establishing cause–and–effect relationships.
Feminists such as Hilary Graham (1983) argue that the use of survey methods like questionnaires and structured interviews are patriarchal and therefore give an invalid view of women’s experiences. She
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