SAMPLING TECHNIQUES

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Structured Interviews & Postal Questionaires

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Structured Interviews & Postal Questionaires

Advantages

A trained interview is present to answer any questions the interviewee has.

  • Standardised questions make the process efficient. All respondents answer the same questions so that answers can be easily compared and trends observed.
  • The structured interview can be easily repeated to check the reliability of the data.
  • The interview can expand his line of questioning. The respondent can give more detailed responses.
  • Structured interviews offer a richer, more comprehensive view of an issue.
  • The trained interviewer can rephrase questions or alter tone or manner to suit the interviewee.

Disadvantages

  • The interviewee is limited as to what answers he can give.
  • The interview effect – the personality of the interviewer may influence what answers are given by the interviewee. This may make the results unreliable.
  • The interview effectThe interviewee may misrepresent the truth to make himself seem more socially acceptable.
  • The process is more complex, more time consuming and more expensive than a structured approach. You are also likely to target a smaller sample.
  • Unstructured interviews are difficult to repeat if you need to test the reliability of the data.
  • The interview effect and the interviewee effect may occur (see structured interviews).
  • The interviewer needs to be skilled at ‘opening up’ the conversation.

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The advantages and disadvantages of postal questionnaires

Advantages

  • They are relatively quick and inexpensive.
  • In the absence of an interviewer standing over them, respondents are more likely to answer truthfully or give answers to personal questions.
  • They can be easily replicated to test reliability.

Disadvantages

  • Questions may be misunderstood or missed out.
  • It may not be filled in by the person for whom it was intended.
  • The response rate is usually low.
  • You cannot target certain groups of people i.e. the homeless or the illiterate.