Assess the Strengths and Limitations of Unstructured Interviews for Investigating the Effects of Streaming

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Assess the strengths and limitations of unstructured interviews for investigating the effects of streaming Unstructured interviews have advantages and disadvantages and as a qualitative method they are expressed through words and relay peoples thoughts and feelings. Unstructured interviews are interviews that don't have certain questions meaning its more free and relaxed. They give us a clear understanding of the interviewees because we use their answers to help us figure out the next set of questions, therefore becoming more 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 of using unstructured interviews to investigate streaming, we need to look at how this can effect the pupils. One strength of using this method to investigate streaming is, as stated in item B, the researcher ‘can explore pupils feelings and reactions’. This supports the idea of empathy, as the researcher can build a rapport with the respondents and by using this method is able to talk about sensitive issues. For example, by talking to students in the lower band, using unstructured interviews allows the pupil to feel at ease and not judged by the researcher. This may mean that the pupil will open up and could explain their feelings and emotions towards the subject of streaming, and the reasons why they ‘develop a negative image’. A few advantages of using unstructured interviews when studying the effects of steaming are that the informality of the interview allows the interviewer to gain the trust of the interviewee which is important in this example. Pupils at school will not feel comfortable explaining their time at school if the interviewer is very formal and makes them feel intimidated whereas by using an unstructured interview it allows the pupils
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