Critically appraise semi structured interviews as a means to collecting and analyzing qualitative data.



Task 1

Critically appraise semi structured interviews as a means to collecting and analyzing qualitative data. Within your response you must evaluate this method in terms of the most appropriate sampling strategy to employ (justifying this decision) and how to analyze and write up subsequent data.


Task 2

Critically analyze the impact of sampling and non-sampling errors on the interpretation of research findings. Within your response you must describe each error (sampling and non- sampling error), evaluate these and detail how these can be mitigated. You should use examples to support your analysis and evaluation


Answer guide


Task 1

Structure to answer the question is below,

1)      Describe semi structured interviews as a method. Assessment, pro & cons (when interviewing many people) and issues related (should you record or not, any benefits or drawback of it) with semi structured interviews. (these interviews usually have between 5 to 8 core questions and then you probe around those Qns).

2)      Critically appraise when and where to apply semi-structured interviews. Where should the interview take place ie in office, on phone, what to wear it goes into all issues of psychological factors around interviewing people.

3)      Then u need to discuss the most appropriate sampling strategy, you tend to find with qualitative data semi structured interview that there is a smaller number then quantitative data (with quantitative data the point is to collect quite large numbers of data and then to try extrapolate some sort of inferences in many cases, with qualitative you don’t do that. With qualitative you are using smaller number for sampling, because of that you quite often find random sampling does not necessarily work, you use non -probability based sampling called purposive sampling or judgement sampling (essentiality that’s when you come with criteria of people to be included in interview, the whole rationale is so that the people you interview have the most likelihood to answer the questions). Purposive sampling is when you come with this criteria, so I’m interested in unwritten rules, culture of the organization and how they influence the behavior of people and decision making e.g. criteria may be that people must work for organization for at least 2 years, the reason to get the possibility of people had time to be influenced by the culture of the organization) and why you use it? Develop an argument and explain different types of sampling and build a logical argument of why to use one sampling method then the other. (NOTE – OBVIOUSLY you need to use the purposive sampling, build an argument of why not different strategy)

4)      Explore how to going to analyze the data, lot of different   ways to analyze qualitative data, but it essentially it comes down to coding the data which is chunking data (you might be looking for certain words, phrases or sentences which are linked to your question and what you have included in your literature review. You need to code in some way.


How to analyze the and write up subsequent data - Refer to the work of Miles & Huberman (1994) qualitative data analysis.

Task 2


Things to note

Sampling error can be reduced by sampling size or sampling approach (stratified random sampling vs random sampling) Non sampling error occurs happens for various reasons, 5 types of non- sampling error e.g. non responsive, selection error, response error, researcher error, and processing error. 


The task is quite clear, explains it all.





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