‘Examine the Reasons Why Some Sociologists Choose Not to Use Questionnaires When Conducting Research.’

961 Words Jan 31st, 2013 4 Pages
A questionnaire is a list of a research or survey questions asked to respondents, and designed to extract quantitative date. Questionnaires are easily distributed to the community and can be completed and collected on the spot or be emailed or posted back to the researcher. Self completed questionnaires are the most common survey as they are cheap and can be passed to a lot of people. Some sociologists tend not to use questionnaires because of their low response rate and lack of validity. Also, some people may give false information so some researchers like to stick to interviews and experiments for increased accuracy. I will explore why sociologists shy away from using questionnaires.

Positivists favour questionnaires because they
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All these reasons could make sociologists avoid questionnaires as they have low response rates and could be misinterpreted.

Sociologists may not choose questionnaires because they are a detached method of research, this means the researcher cannot be certain whether the respondent fully understands the question. Interpretivist sociologists such as Cicourel argue that data from questionnaires lack validity and do not give a true picture of what is being studied because of the detachment between the two parties. Interpretivists use qualitive methods of research and attach to the respondents, such as Willis’s in-depth ethnography study of working class lads, he followed them in their own environment and studied them, and this is far from attached, he discovered data that he could have never found in a questionnaire, this is adopted from Webers verstehen approach. So, with questionnaires there is virtually no contact between respondent and researcher, so the lack of effort or truth put into the questionnaire is jeopardised. Sociologists may also turn away from questionnaire because the respondents may not always give full or truthful answers. The respondents could be embarrassed or shy and not out real answers down. Also, they don’t know who is going to see this questionnaire or what is going to be used so they may shy away from more

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