Advantages for sociologists in using structured interviews

The structured interview, also referred to as the formal or questionnaire interview, entails a face-to-face or alternatively an over-the-phone delivery of a questionnaire. Structured interviews use a pre-set listing of questions designed by the researcher and asked to all interviewees in the identical way, this is know as an interview schedule. Interviewees then select from a list of set answers, allowing structured interviews to be comparatively fast. Structured interviews have various advantages, subsequently, some sociologists, primarily Positivist sociologists, choose to use structured interviews when conducting analysis.

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Positivists go by the belief that there could be a measurable objective social reality. They take a scientific strategy using methods such as structured interviews to obtain quantitative data. Positivists are mainly excited about analysis strategies that achieve their main objectives of reliability, generalisability and representativeness, for that reason, they favour structured interviews as they achieve these objectives. This is as a outcome of structured interviews have close-ended questions and solutions that are standardised, counted and quantified; they are reliable because they can be due to this fact replicated.

Positivist sociologists also prefer to make use of structured interviews when conducting analysis as a result of the pre-coded responses imply that produce quantitative knowledge, can allow cause-and-effect relationships could be established. Thus, structured interviews are most popular by positivists.

Also, structured interviews are representative and might therefore be generalised, due to the reality that they’re usually large-scale. There are also sensible advantages to utilizing structured interviews. For an instance, training interviewers is comparatively simple and inexpensive as no specialist abilities have to be taught as the questions tend to be very easy as they usually close-ended, and do not require an extreme quantity of thought.

Due to the reality that expertise taught are minimal, the method of training interviewers will not value too much. This brings an enormous sensible benefit for sociologists of structured interviews being low value.

Another practical advantage is that structured interviews are relatively low-cost, quick and straightforward to administer. This allows sociologists to make use of a bigger sample within the interview process, allowing more consultant outcomes to be produced. Therefore, the researcher could make generalisations. No solely this, but structured interviews have a better response fee, than mailed questionnaires for example, additional enhancing and reinforcing the consultant benefit of structured interviews.

Furthermore, head to head interviews guarantee a much greater response price than mailed questionnaires for example, as a result of the fact that the researcher’s presence implies that the analysis purpose and significance can be defined to potential interviewees, allowing them to grasp how valuable it is that their response is right and true, thus rising validity- an necessary advantage for sociologists.

Finally interviewer impact occurs when the interviewer’s presence affects the interviewee’s responses, in turn decreasing validity. However, the advantage with structured interviews is that the interviewer effect with be a lot less than with unstructured, open-ended unstructured interviews. This is as a end result of of the truth that in structured interviews contact is restricted to asking and responding mounted listing of questions and close-ended solutions.

All points thought of there are a quantity of advantages for sociologists in utilizing structured interviews in their analysis. However, in saying this, it can additionally be argued that there are a also variety of disadvantages. For example, it can be said that there’s a lack of validity as the researcher decides the questions upfront, a scarcity of reliability as interviewer effect might influence answers, a cost problem as a result of training and ignorance towards sensitive points as deadpan method could additionally be quite off-putting and there’s a lack of rapport.

In my opinion, all of it is dependent upon whether or not you’re a positivist or an interpretivist. Yes, there are some disadvantages, however I believe that these disadvantages are extraordinarily outweighed by number of advantages that exist for sociologists in using structured interviews in their analysis.