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Using Material From Item C And Elsewhere, Assess The Strengths And Limitations Of Using Structured Interviews As A Means Of Investigating Substance Abuse Among Homeless People. (15 Marks)

741 words - 3 pages

Homelessness is regarded as a deviant lifestyle, often involving abuse of a range of substances such as drugs or alcohol. Some homeless people live on the streets. Some spend their nights in hostels that have open access. They may gain some social contact here, but hostels are often understaffed and have limited resources to help homeless people. Some homeless people are, or have been, involved in crimes such as robbery or violence. As a result, they are mistrustful of the police or any other organisation representing authority. Many of the homeless are people who have ‘fallen through the net’, in that they have suffered from poor education, long-term unemployment and/or mental illness. Some ...view middle of the document...

If these people are leading deviant lifestyles and have ‘fallen through the net’ then it is suggested that they may lack ability to read or write meaning that postal questionnaires would be of no use. As well as explaining any misunderstandings structured interviews allow for the researchers to see any body language which may help in understanding how the homeless person may feel. If, like in Item C. homeless people do not trust authority and feel intimidated or become defensive it will be clear for the researcher to see and record.
A disadvantage of structured interviews is that the homeless people and researchers will be face to face this means that if any of them do have the tenancy to be violent then the researchers are putting themselves at risk.
In addition, the questions may be repeatable but if the homeless people are constantly moving around, looking for new places to stay or whether they are getting moved around by authority they will be hard to track down as they presumably have no means of contact. This means that if any questions were to be repeated and by the same interviewee for any reason, the chances are...

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