Firstly, social surveys suffer from the imposition problem, closed questions limits what respondents can say Interpretivists argue respondents have diverse motives and it is unlikely that researchers will think up every possible relevant question and every possible, response, thus questionnaires will lack validity.
This is especially true for more complex topics such as religions belief – ticking the ‘Christian’ box can mean many different things to many different people, for example.
Interpretivists thus say that surveys are socially constructed—they don’t reflect reality, but the interests of researchers
However, this is easily rectified by including a section at the end of questionnaires in which respondents can write their explanations.
Secondly, self-completion surveys can also suffer from poor representativeness…
Postal questionnaires can suffer from a low response rate, and samples might be self-selecting— due to the illiterate or people who might be ashamed/ scared to return questionnaires on sensitive topics.
Also, you can’t check who has filled them in, so surveys may actually misrepresent the target population.
However, it is possible to rectify this with incentives and booster samples.
The above is a suggested response to a possible 10 mark ‘pure methods’ question which might come up on either paper 1 or 3 of the AQA’s A Level Sociology Papers. It follows the basic formula – make a point, develop it twice, and then evaluate it (which to my mind seems to work well for ‘pure methods’ 10 mark questions.
Theory and Methods A Level Sociology Revision Bundle
If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my Theory and Methods Revision Bundle – specifically designed to get students through the theory and methods sections of A level sociology papers 1 and 3.
- 74 pages of revision notes
- 15 mind maps on various topics within theory and methods
- Five theory and methods essays
- ‘How to write methods in context essays’.
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