Outline and Assess the View That Unstructured Interviews Are the Best Way to Research Class and Women's Career Aspirations

476 Words2 Pages
Gail Hebson investigated how class shaped women's everyday experience and identity at work. The data in the study was gathered using unstructured, qualitative interviews. Interpretivists would claim a number of strengths for using this method to carry out the study. For instance, trust and rapport can be developed, which may generate more qualitative information about the respondent's interpretation of the world. Therefore Hebson was able to gain more insight into the women's thoughts on career aspirations. Unstructured interviews are also flexible as the conversation is not constrained by fixed standardised questions. This would have enabled Hebson to generate more valid information and allowed her to probe for deeper meanings. They also provide more opportunity for respondents to say what they want rather than what the interviewer expects. Hence, the women who Hebson interviewed were more likely to give answers that were more in depth and valid. However, Hebson's research method can be criticised by positivists for being unscientific as they argue that unstructured interviews lack a number of characteristics which they see as essential in scientific research, such as reliability and objectivity. Hebson's unstructured interviews may lack reliability as each woman that she interviewed is different and it depends on the unique relationship established between the interviewer and interviewee. Her research cannot be replicated by another sociologist. Hebson's research methods may lack objectivity as she had a personal relationship with the interviewees. She may have overly sympathised with the women when they were discussing social class and career aspirations, therefore the final data might not be balanced. Hebson may have selected aspects of the interview transcript that fits the hypothesis. Such selection reflects the ideological biases of the researcher. What may
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