Interviews in Sociological Research Essay

803 WordsJan 18, 20134 Pages
Interviews in sociological research are generally used as a means of gaining information regarding people’s way of thinking about certain things, their insights, and ideals. They also attempt to focus greatly on life experiences. There are several types of interviews used in sociological research; structured, semi-structured, and the unstructured interview. In a structured interview, there are predetermined questions asked of the person being interviewed, the respondent is asked the same set of questions in the same order, and there is usually a set choice of possible answers. The semi-structured interview allows some room for closed and open-ended questions giving the interviewer the chance to make some changes in the questioning format and order, and adding questions as they go along depending on the responses received. These two forms of interviewing collect quantitative date. The unstructured interview collects qualitative data and was developed to allow the researcher to draw out a person’s realities about society. There are strong arguments both for and against the use of this type of interview in sociological research. An unstructured interview is typically a face-to-face conversation between the interviewer and the respondent without planned questions or a specific format. It is, for the most part, a completely unscientific approach to gathering data from its subjects. There are no hypotheses formed or specific questions about societal beliefs. The questions asked by the researcher are mostly guided by what the person being interviewed is describing and their perspective on important themes in their society. However, the researcher can have a specific outline or agenda that they follow. The conversation is guided by the interviewer, but the respondent is given the opportunity to go into extensive detail about the areas that the interviewer
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