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What Are questionnaires?

Questionnaires can be written or self guided and are the most common type of social survey, questions tend to be closed ended and often with ore-coded answers


Why do positivists use questionnaires?

As they believe that there is a measurable, objective social reality out there, they take a scientific approach, using standardised methods of research to obtain quantitative data, this allows them to produce generalisations and cause and effect relationships, they prefer questions that give them reliable data so that they can repeat the questionnaires and observe social changes, interpretivists argue that the data is very low in validity


What are some of the advantages of questionnaires?

+ Practical advantages, they are quick and cheap, they gather large quantitative data quickly from large pools of people, postal questionnaires them to get data from a wide geographical area, the data is also easy to quantify as they are closed ended questions
+ Positivists see questionnaires as reliable as it can be easily replicated, there is also no researcher present to influence results because of detachment reducing bias
+ They are also representative as they can collect all data from lots of people so they increase the chances of getting a representative sample which better allows Sociologists to make generalisations
+ There is very little ethical issues as respondents don't have to answer and give consent


What are some disadvantages of questionnaires?

+ Questionnaires must be brief as respondent may be reluctant to complete long questionnaires reducing the
+ response rate, especially the postal questionnaires meaning that AS response is low and some groups may be over represented in completing them and others underrepresented results are unrepresentative
+ Inflexibility, researcher cannot explore new areas of interests from same data
+ Lying, forgetting and right answering, results can undermine validity as people may lie, forget and try to answer the question 'correctly but not right'