Using examples, examine the advantages and disadvantages of small group interviews and one-to-one interviews

a) Small Group Interviews (focus groups)

An advantage to small group interviews (focus groups) is that they are quick and easy to use, therefore is more time effective, than one to one interviews, and as it is a group the social communication between group members can allow participants to give more free and complex answers, which they might of not felt comfortable doing in a one to one interview, also they may feel that they have social support, to take about certain topics. Also as the interview is done as a group, it can allow for the answers for the questions to go off into a discussion, which it may not of gone in, in an one on one interview, however this could be a disadvantage, if the interviewers wants to go in one direction, but the group wants to go in another direction.

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A disadvantage to focus groups would be that it requires a skilled moderator, which could potentially be expensive. Furthermore it could potentially be difficult to assemble a group, as the group would be either needed to be randomly selected. Also it would ideally need to have people that don’t have an authoritarian personality, as this personality type could potentially control group the dynamic throughout the interview.

Another advantage of a focus group would be that their have high face validity, which is key in an interview study. Also as it has high face validity, the interview’s findings will have a higher rate of validity. Another disadvantage would be that some psychologists would argue that focus group don’t represent a large population, therefore the findings of focus group cannot be generalised to other large population.

b) One to One Interviews

An advantage of one on one interview is that, the give better qualitative data, than focus groups, as the participants are by themselves, so may not feel that they have to look of informational social norms, or meet any social norm, as they may not feel they are being judged one on one, as they may feel they are in a group.

A disadvantage of one on one interviews is that it can be a relatively slow process, and more expensive than alternative methods like questionnaires and surveys. An overall disadvantage of interviews would be that they are an expensive method to use to conduct research, however one on one interviews are more expensive and time consuming than group interviews, as each participant has to be interviews individually, which would take up a lot of time. However an advantage would be that interviews provide excellent qualitative that questionnaires and surveys don’t, and this qualitative data, can provide and insight into who the participant may have been feeling.

May-04: 1) (a) Describe what is meant by the post-modern method of transcribing interviews. 5 marks. Evaluate the use of post-modern methods of transcribing interviews. 5 marks

a) post modern method of transcribing interviews

The post-modern method of transcribing, needs skilled interviewers how are good at multi-tasking, as the interviewers will need to ask questions, record the answers as well as note down any body language, that can often come with the interviewee’s response to the question. The interviewer will also need to be aware for what the body language means and sometimes they will need to ask for confirmation of their own interpretation body language. Body language involves these such as eye contact, whether the participants has crossed arms, clenched fists, frowns or smiles, and several other visual or auditory signals

b) Evaluation

The post-modern method of interviewing, recording and transcribing becomes a complex task that requires a lot of practice to become skillful, therefore interviewers will properly have needed to have some training, which would mean that skillful interviews may be expensive. This can serve as a disadvantage as, as the interview will need to multi task, therefore the margin of error or mistakes might be higher, than in a normal interview, where the interviewer only records the interviewee’s response. Despite this, the data produced from these skilled interviewers can produce transcripts that are much more informative and richer in content than words alone. As psychologists have found that body language is often used for well over 50% of our face to face communication, therefore not recoding body language would been that the findings wouldn’t be really as accurate.

In order to carry out a full analysis of the data, it is essential that the interview is recorded whether via an audio recorder or a video recorder, as well as to transcribe the interview, as much of the qualitative methods of analysis require that the material is transcribed word for word, or near word for word. This is needed as if the interviewer is taking notes during the interview it may interfere with eye contact and non-verbal communication, and so becoming a distraction for the interview, therefore making the findings less reliable. On the other hand, taping the interview may also affect what is being said, as some participants may not be entirely comfortable and relaxed in the presence of tape-or video recorder, therefore could self-edit themselves more, making the face validity lower. To counter this, many researchers may give the interviewee/participant a copy of the transcript and explain why they are recording the interview, to make the interviewee fell like there are informed and have more control over the situation.

May-04: 2) (a) When using observation as a research method, account for each of the following i) participant expectancies ii) researcher expectancies. 4 marks (b) Evaluate how each of the two expectancies mentioned above may affect the validity of the research findings. 6 marks

May-04: 3) Explain the process of content analysis as it is applied to printed material (e.g. psychological case studies or data from interviews). 10 marks.

Content analysis is used to turn qualitative data, that would of been collected for an interview from an example, into quantitative data, which then can be used for statistical analysis.

Email interviews enable the researcher to download both questions and answers on to hard copy. The process of analysis starts with a numbering of each line that is produced by the respondent. This process is to identify particular quotations and to make easy any future uses in the data. The researchers, usually, read the transcript several times to identify raw data words or phrases that appear to be important to the respondent. Therefore will divide the interview into main categories (ie. themes), the will count how many times a particular theme was used throughout an interview.

However, a problem with content analysis is that the categories used may not be appropriate for the aim and interests of the research, therefore the researcher will need to make sure they are appropriate and reflect the interests and aim of the study. Also the continual use of the theme throughout the interview can highlight the importance of the theme; however how much the theme is used alone, cannot determine key themes (categories) in an interview. Therefore the categories which are used for content analysis are generally made by more than one researcher, which can be very time consuming, and not the cheapest of things to do. Furthermore, once the researchers have identified the categories, they then they order them, for those that appear the most to the least, and this is done in a logical way.

Moreover, it must be taken into account that content analysis, is and interpretative method, in which the categories are subjectively chosen my researchers, therefore it should be noted that there is no one correct way to interpret the data. Furthermore it is important to note that researchers do tend to rely a lot on the accuracy of the content analysis process. It is also important to take into considerations the confidentiality and anonymity that should be shown to the participants, which should be used with this process.

Nov-04: 2) Explain, using one example, why a small scale survey may be useful in psychological research. 4 marks. (b) Using this same research example, briefly identify the target population and compare two techniques that you could employ to obtain a useful sample from the target population

Small scale may be reckoned to be fewer than 1,000 people, although this number is flexible. It is not the psychological question itself that is small but rather the number of respondents involved. Better examples may relate to customer choice in purchasing goods, choice of schooling where this is feasible, attitudes to local policies, sports, or entertainment. The answer should identify the target population and the sampling method used. It should also indicate the method involved in conducting the survey such as the use of mail, e-mail, telephone or face to face questioning. Since the command term used requires explanation then the means of gathering data and its analysis should be addressed. Answers to the questions themselves should be easily coded, ready to be used for statistical treatment. Most survey data are subjected to descriptive statistical treatment and/or inferential statistics.

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