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

955 Words4 Pages
A questionnaire is a list of a research or survey questions asked to respondents, and designed to extract quantitative date. Questionnaires can be easily distributed to the population and can be completed via email or posted back to the researcher. Self-completion questionnaires are the most common survey as they are cheap and can be passed on to many people. Some sociologists tend not to use questionnaires due to their low response rate and lack of validity. In addition, some people may give false information, which is why some researchers like to stick to interviews and experiments for increased accuracy. Positivists favour questionnaires, as they tend to be reliable. They are also representative so it can be easy to generalise in most cases. However, questionnaires present a range of practical issues that can affect the reliability. For example, with postal questionnaires the researcher cannot be sure whether the respondent has actually received the questionnaire. In other words, it can be unsure whether a respondent or a family member or friend of the respondent has answered the questionnaire. This can affect the validity and reliability of the research as the views would have come from someone else who may not be part of the population that the researcher is studying. Sociologists may also choose not to use questionnaires when conducting research as they can be because the respondents may not always give full or truthful answers. The respondents could be embarrassed or shy and may provide socially desirable answers. In addition, they may not know who is going to see this questionnaire or what is going to be used so they may shy away from information that is more personal. These problems can put questionnaires at a disadvantage when compared to observational methods, as the observer can identify himself or herself what the respondents really do, rather than
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