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Social Survey Essay

957 words - 4 pages

Social Survey EssayA social survey can be either a questionnaire or a structured interview, or in some cases the researcher may use both. For a piece of research to be considered a "social survey" it has to be macro scale, for example the samples taken within the research has to be within hundreds to thousands of people. The difference between a questionnaire and an unstructured interview is the fact that in an unstructured interview, the interviewer is always present. Whereas with a questionnaire, the researcher is not.Both questionnaires and structured interviews can be valid, as they tend to include mostly open questions which provides qualitative data, because of this, despite the methods not being popular among Interpretivists, they would use them, as both methods allow people to give a detailed and meaningful answer. Also, as both methods can be anonymous and confidential, people are more likely to be honest. A difference between questionnaires and structured interviews within validity is that structured interviews have the capability to be more valid, as they provide clarification so there is no possibility that the sample may misunderstand the questions. In some cases both methods may be invalid, as with both it is hard to check honesty. An example of an invalid questionnaire is the BCS, as there is no clarification and elaborated language is used throughout, many people may misunderstand, therefore leading them to be dishonest when giving their responses. Another reason the BCS may be invalid is closed questions, as it does not allow the sample to give their full opinion, because of this Interpretivists would not use this particular questionnaire for their research. Another reason for questionnaires being inappropriate for interpretivists is their limitation of social interaction, which disallows Interpretivists to achieve Verstehen. Structured interviews may also be invalid due to interviewer bias, making the samples responses invalid.Questionnaires and structured interviews can be valid, and they can also be reliable. As sometimes they may include more closed questions rather than open, producing quantitative data. This allows the research to be completely standardized, therefore allowing it to be repeated over and over again. This makes both methods useful for Positivists, as it provides quantitative data they can identify patterns and trends within the research and use them to create social facts. An example of new right theorists using this method are Chubb and Moe. Chubb and Moe interviewed and surveyed 60,000 pupils and teachers (the wide sample range means that their research is considered a social survey). They found that when parents have a larger control over their child's education, the better that child does, from this they decided that "catchment areas" were unnecessary, and therefore created a social fact from their research. Although, both methods can be unreliable if they consist of more open questions than closed, as...

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