Strengths and Weaknesses of Questionnaires and Interviews

This isn’t good enough…

    Strengths of Questionnaires

  • Large Sample Range
  • Cheap
    Weaknesses of Questionnaires

  • Impersonal
    Strengths of Interviews

  • Personalised
    Weaknesses of Interviews

  • Restricted sample range
  • Expensive

… I need to write more :(

RARGH!

Update: I’ve done this now.

4 thoughts on “Strengths and Weaknesses of Questionnaires and Interviews

  1. Okay, I just did a huge answer :P

    Here it is if you still want it…

    Do you do sociology by any chance? I know all this as I have just had to learn it *rolls eyes*

    Here are some extra pointers:

    Strengths of Questionnaires
    – Large Sample Range
    – Cheap
    – Quick method of research
    – No danger of interview bias (the person doesn’t feel pressurised with responses. For example, someone may not like admitting to a crime they have committed, or feel they should say something just to impress the interviewer).
    – Large amounts of data can be processed and analyised quickly.
    – Quantatitive data (eg. statistics) is often seen to be far more reliable than qualitatitive (eg. interview summaries) data, as all respondants are responding to the same stimuli – they are not interviewed by different people, effected by different reactions, etc.

    Weaknesses of Questionnaires
    – Impersonal
    – Respondants can interpret the data differently, no matter how carefully worded the questions may be. People who choose the response, may not mean the same thing.
    – Respondants may not understand a question, and so leave the answer blank (making it invalid), or just fill in any answer.
    – Questionnaires have a very low reply rate (normally less than 50%, sometimes less than 25%). This could seriously bias the results, as there could be systematic differences between those who do and don’t reply. For example… people with marriage problems are far less likely to respond to a questionnaire that deals with marriage, as they may not want to discuss the problems, making the data inaccurate/not a very good representative.
    – People can fill them in as a joke with their friends.
    – People can lie.
    – You don’t know how people are doing the questionnaire… if they are answering it with somebody watching, their answers could be influenced.
    – Respondants can’t provide extra information which may be an important factor that the designer of the questionnaire has not considered ‘important’/has not considered at all.

    Strengths of Interviews
    – Personalised
    – Any ambiguous questions can be clarified
    – Interviews can go far more in depth than a questionnaire ever could.
    – The researcher does not limit the respondant to fixed answers.
    – Interviewers provide access to many different groups of people and different types of information.
    – Practical
    – Flexible

    Weaknesses of Interviews
    – Restricted sample range
    – Expensive
    – Unreliable information – the responses may not reflect real behaviour/attitudes, and may not be accurate.
    – Respondants may lie, forget, or may lack the information required.
    – Interviewees may be influenced by the presence of the researcher.
    – ‘Interview bias’ is a problem with interviews. Either consciously, or sub-sciously, respondants might give the sort of answers that they believe the interviewer wants to hear, rather than saying what they truely believe.

  2. Hahahaha, that’s brilliant! Thank you :oD

    Actually I’m not doing Sociology. I’m doing a Systems Analysis module of my Information and Communications Systems course.

  3. • Questionnaires, like many evaluation methods occur after the event, so participants may forget important issues.

    • Questionnaires are standardised so it is not possible to explain any points in the questions that participants might misinterpret. This could be partially solved by piloting the questions on a small group of students or at least friends and colleagues. It is advisable to do this anyway.

    • Open-ended questions can generate large amounts of data that can take a long time to process and analyse. One way of limiting this would be to limit the space available to students so their responses are concise or to sample the students and survey only a portion of them.

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