Research Methods Essay

1225 words - 5 pages


A. QUALITATIVE PRIMARY SOURCES (Used by Interpretivists)


|Advantages |Disadvantages |
|Enables you to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of a group under |Not possible to generalize on the basis of its findings. Solutions = carry |
|study (Ken Pryce = single West Indian Community in Bristol. Blackman |out a number of case studies of the same type of phenomenon (Zuboff ’88 = |
|(’97) = detailed study of homeless in Brighton.) |case studies of 8 ...view middle of the document...

|Untypical sample, not representative. (Bogdan – only 1 transexual – Jane Fry)|
|Feminists = can be used to help women understand their situation (Maria | |
|Mies ’93 = discussed life histories with female victims of violence to | |
|help them understand their own experience. | |


|Advantages |Disadvantages |
|New ideas & insights can emerge – possible a new hypothesis might emerge as|Time-consuming & costly which could affect number in sample – affecting |
|conversation develops naturally (M. DeVault ’91 = allowed respondents to |representativeness. |
|talk freely around 1 question i.e. housework to do with food: cooking, | |
|shopping, cleaning up). |Difficult to replicate interviews. Not comparable with other groups. |
|Non-directive = people can talk more freely & openly with honesty & |Information may not be valid or reliable – responses may not reflect real |
|openness (A. Oakley = study of childbirth & motherhood – allowed women to |behaviour, may lie or forget (Laurie Taylor – criminals had made up stories|
|speak more openly about themselves. |about their escapades.) |
|Allows researcher to probe much deeper into areas which might otherwise be |Respondents may be influeced by presence of researcher (Interviewer |
|inaccessible (H. Becker = 50 marijuana smokers – could explore whole |effect). (Labov – young black American children responded differently in |
|deviant career of the drug users & motives) |diff. Contexts). Sex, age, clothing can affect behaviour. |
|Ambiguities in questions & answers can be clarified – Interviewer can probe|Interviewer bias – the interviewer might direct respondent to giving a |
|for shades of meaning. |certain type of answer. |


|Advantages |Disadvantages |
|Generally the most effective way of getting questionnaires completed, problem|The interview schedule may impose limits on what respondent can say, cannot |
|of non-response found...

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