Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

1.  You want to study one of the following groups. In each case, outline the arguments for using either a structured interview or a self-completion questionnaire and describe how you would administer it.
(a) Homeless people
(b) Ex-offenders
(c) Politicians
(d) University students
(e) School pupils
(f) Social welfare claimants
(g) Small business owners
(h) Magazine readers

2. In a group of three or more design a short interview schedule, containing some open, some closed and some pre-coded questions. The topic may be anything of which people in the group can reasonably be expected to have some experience (e.g. watching or participating in sports events, studying research methods).

One person should use the interview schedule to interview another person in the group while the others observe, considering the following issues:
(a) What difficulties were there in doing the interview?
(b) Did the interviewer appear or feel at ease?
(c) Did the respondent appear or feel at ease?
(d) Did the respondent find the questions unambiguous and easy to answer?
(e) Did he or she find them relevant to his or her life experience?
(f) Swap roles, until everyone has had a go at interviewing, replying and observing. How would you now redesign the interview schedule?