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Assess the View That Interpretivist Methods Are the Most Appropriate Methods for Researching Society

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Interpretivist sociologists would argue their ideas of methodology are the most appropriate methods for researching society. They believe behaviour is influenced by situations in society, and use qualitative data gathered by unstructured questionnaires, unstructured interviews and participant observation. They believe in verstehen- the process of putting yourself into the participant’s shoes. They prefer validity to reliability; they collect qualitative data that creates statistical evidence. There methods include unstructured interviews, questionnaires, and participant observation.

There are many strengths but interpretivist methods also can be criticised other perspectives such as positivism. They argue that people cannot be studied like inanimate objects, and they look at the deeper means and motives behind people’s actions. They argue that people cannot be studied unless you put yourselves in that persons or actors shoes. Going along with Webers’ theory of verstehen-, this is observing through participant observation. Through verstehen the researches places themselves into the life of the person they are studying/researching, by doing this they can collect qualitative data and get a deeper meaning and understanding of peoples actions. They are also more likely to get a better understanding of people’s means and motives, and also why things happen and they will get a better understanding of how society influences people’s actions. It is also filled with rich data, and allows the researcher to fully submerged themselves into the lives of the people they are studying therefore they can get a better understanding, more importantly it is highly valid which is what interpretivist’s look for. However, there is a problem with verstehen, it is subjective and lacks reliability, it also has its limitations due to being time consuming, and it means the study is done on…...

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