Sociology Asses the strengths and limitations of unstructured interviews for the study of boys underachievement at school Unstructured interviews have advantages and disadvantages and as a qualitative method they are expressed through words and relay people’s thoughts, feelings and motivations. Unstructured interviews are interviews that don’t have certain questions meaning it’s more free and relaxed. They give us a deep understanding of the interviewees world because we can use the answers they give to shape our questions so that they are appropriate and relevant.
However, using unstructured interviews can also cause problems, for example they take a long time to conduct. When looking at the advantages and disadvantages we need to look at how this effects what we are trying to research ‘boys underachievement at school’ as this will affect whether the advantages and limitations are relevant to the study. A few advantages of using unstructured interviews when studying the underachievement of boys are that the informality of the interview allows the interviewer to gain the trust of the interviewee which is important in this example.
Boys at school will not feel comfortable explaining their time at school and why they do/don’t enjoy school if the interviewer is very formal and makes them feel intimidated whereas by using an unstructured interview it allows the boys being interviewed and the interviewee feel more comfortable around each other meaning the boys will be more open and truthful allowing the researcher to gain more and to collect more accurate and in depth data.
Another advantage of using this method when researching boys underachievement at school is that because there are no set questions the interviewer can ask questions that they feel are important and will get the most valuable and informative answers which means the data collected will be more valuable. It also means that from the answers that the boys give the interviewer can change and adapt his questions to develop the answer given meaning the data collected will be in depth and very informative.
Finally, an advantage of using this method when studying boys underachievement at school is that the interviewee and interviewer can check each other’s meanings. For example, if a question is asked and the boy doesn’t understand the interviewer can adapt and explain so that the boy can give a good answer. This is very good because it allows them to explain what they mean giving the other person a deeper understanding of the questions and answers meaning the interview will be more successful.
However, there are also disadvantages of using unstructured interviews when researching boys underachievement at school. Unstructured interviews can take a long time to conduct which means that less can be carried out. This could cause a big problem to give a good range of answers the researcher/interviewer may want to visit different schools to see how the answers differ in different schools and in different areas.
However it would take too long to visit different places and schools because the actual interview takes too long itself. Another disadvantage is that it can go off topic meaning the interview is irrelevant. When interviewing a boy the interview could go off topic meaning that the interview would be useless as it wouldn’t give us any informative information that could you be used to draw up a conclusion.
Finally, another disadvantage of using this method when researching boys underachievement at school is that they’re not reliable. As its unstructured the same interview can’t be carried out on lots of people as it will change each time depending on the answers given and how the interviewer responds to them. This means that researchers can’t replicate the interview or compare it to their own findings so there’s no way of knowing if it’s reliable or not.
To conclude using unstructured interviews when researching boys underachievement at school has both advantages and disadvantages that could mean it’s better and worse than structures interviews. However, I believe that it would still be a good method to use as it will give informative answers and allow the researcher to find out why boys aren’t doing so well at school. It will still give accurate answers as the boys will feel more relaxed meaning they can be looked at and analysed meaning we can draw a conclusion from them. Hannah Smillie
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