The Reasons Why Some Sociologists Choose Not to Use Questionnaires When Conducting Research
Sociologists use different types of questionnaires in their research, these ranging close ended questions and open ended questions. Close ended gives the respondent a guide upon what there answer should be and directs them to a certain decision it tends to take more control of the answer, whereas open ended questions give the respondent more free choice and arguably this seems more ethical.
Some Sociologists believe that the data form questionnaires can be limited and superficial. This is due to the majority of respondents will not fill in a large time consuming questionnaire, as it takes a long time and will end up with the respondents rushing there answers so sociologist would not get a valid response. So this will limit the information gathered.
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Also some sorts of questionnaires such as postal questionnaires are not always favoured by sociologists due to different reasons, such as it the potential respondent actually received the questionnaire. Also whether the potential respondent was the actual person who filled out the questionnaire not someone else this can again question the reliability and validity of results that sociologists get form postal questionnaires.
So a sociologist could get answers from a person who holds strong or weak views on a certain subject and if a male answers questions for a female questionnaire data would be wrong and there would be no proof as it is a postal questionnaire so a sociologist could end up getting wrong results. Furthermore another reason is response rates. Low response rates can be a major problem as when data is analysed it will not look at the majority of people who were to be questioned just the few that bothered to answer them.
An example of a low response rate is Shere Hite’s 1991 study of ‘love, passion and emotional violence’ questionnaire. 100,000 were sent out but only 4. 55% returned, so this would not have been enough data and arguably a waste of time. It is believed the reason on this case for a low response rate was due to the language in the questionnaire being too complicated and technical. This is a major reason upon why some sociologists do not use questionnaires to gather research.