Assess the Strengths and Limitations of Using Unstructured Interviews for the Study of Pupil Subcultures.

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As it says in Item A, a subculture is a group of pupils who share similar values and attitudes. Some subcultures are pro-school, while some are anti-school. An unstructured interview is when the interviewer has freedom to vary the questions they ask. There are a number of strengths and weaknesses of using unstructured interviews to interview children, and they will be examined below. Unstructured interviews allow the interviewer to build rapport with the pupils, unlike questionnaires where there is no chance to build rapport because the researcher has limited contact with the pupils. This will help the interviewer to gain more valid results when interviewing children from different subcultures. This is because the pupils will be more likely to give truthful answers when they trust the interviewer. This is especially important when interviewing pupils from anti-school subcultures, as they usually come from working class backgrounds and may be less willing to speak to the interviewer. This was shown in William Labov’s study of the language of black American pupils. He used a relaxed and informal style, by sitting on the floor and allowing the child to have a friend, and found that the children opened up and spoke more freely. Pupils from pro-school subcultures, who normally come from middle class backgrounds will be more likely to speak to the interviewer. As there are no set questions, there is more opportunity for the pupils to speak about what they think is important. Interpretivists favour this method, as they can get more detailed answers from the pupils. It is a flexible method that allows the interviewer to gain insight into why subcultures develop. This would be good when interviewing pupils from pro and anti-school subcultures, as they can speak about their own experiences, and what is important to them. Unstructured interviews can also be carried out in
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