Sociology Essay

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In this essay, I will assess the strengths and limitations of unstructured interviews for investigating the effect of material deprivation on educational achievement by using Item B and my own knowledge. Material deprivation is the idea that a lack of money leads to disadvantages, Item B gives an example of ‘low household income, poor housing and a lack of work space in the home.’ An advantage of unstructured interviews would be that it is very informal; therefore, the respondent is more likely to be relaxed. This would be useful when asking them about material deprivation, as it could be quite a sensitive topic to some. Using the unstructured method is good for researching sensitive topics as empathy and trust can be built easier, just like Item B says ‘This method also allows researchers to explore the sensitive issue of household income’, which is included in material deprivation. Interpretivists such as Max Weber would agree to using unstructured interviews methods as they allow the researcher to gain ‘Verstehen’ with the interviewee, which would help to gain a social actor’s perception of a social situation. Furthermore, they would argue that an unstructured interview is the correct method to use because it gains qualitative data, which provides a rich, detailed understanding of that person’s feelings and experiences. Another advantage would be the fact that unstructured interviews have no fixed set questions, unlike the alternative interviews, which are structured. Because of the non-fixed set questions, respondents are given more opportunity to speak about areas that they believe are important and questions from a structured interview may not allow them to do so. Graham, a feminist, would like this approach as it can be seen as giving a voice to women. Furthermore, because unstructured interviews are so free flowing, it allows the respondent to develop their ideas more fully, giving more valid data and fresh insights. A fourth advantage would be that...
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