A Questionnaire is a set of printed or writte qustions with a chioce of answers which are devised for the purposes of a survey or statistal study. Questionairres are mostly preferred by positivists because it acheives the main goals of positivism which are reliability and the representation of a “Macro” (Big) scale. Most sociologists don’t prefer using questionnaires when conducting a research. These type of sociologists are mostly called Anti Positivists or interpretivists, who argue that questionnaires aren’t good at collecting research and there are social disadvantages of this method and also reason could be that the method doesn’t meet the Antipositivst’s goals which are that they believe that scientific way of research isn;t good thus they don’t conduct it and they prefer a “Qualatitave” (Quality Than Quantity) data rather than “Quantative” (Quality than Quantity) data. They seek to discover meanings and reasons rather than discovering social facts. Interpretivists give a detailed data rather than statistical data.
The main reasons why sociologists choose not to use questionnaires when conduction research is because Questionnaires suffer from a lack of validity and do not give a true picture of what is being studied as people might put wrong infromation and might add wrong or misleading information because the respondents could be embarrassed or shy and not out real answers down. which will make the whole data as misleading and false, Other reason could be that participants could not understand the questions or may misintrepret the questions stated on the questions. An Example of this could be shown on Micheal Schofield’s research on sexual behaviour of teenagers where a girl who answered this questionairre stated on the question “Are you a Virgin?” which on she answered “No, Not Yet” which shows us that the participant didn’t know or she misintrepreted the question thus leading to the false answer. Secondly a reason why Anti Positivists won’t use questionnaires could be that it doesn’t follow its way of acheiving the goal as Antipositivists use qualitive methods of research and attach to the respondents, An example of Antipositivists way of researching is the Willis’s in-depth ethnography study of working class lads, he followed them in their own environment and studied them, and this is far from attached, he discovered data that he could have never found in a questionnaire as there is virtually no contact between respondent and researcher, so the lack of effort or truth put into the questionnaire is jeopardised.
Furthermore there are many problems on using Questionnaires is that they fail to produce a valid picture valid picture of the subject of research as they dont repesent or capture how peoples attitude and behaviour changes on that certain subject as it only shows us the mood and behiaviour of the person when the respondent answered the questionnaires and the snapshots they capture contrasts with the moving image of scoial life that participant observation can provide. For example: A person in a very negative mood could giveinformation that he/ she wouldn’t haven’t given if he/she was in a different mood thus making the information misleading and making the person look like a different person that they aren’t normally. Another problems with Questionnaires is that they fail to put us in the subject’s place and view the world through their eyes because there isn’t any direct contact between the researcher and the respondent which can lead to misleading information as the lack of contact means that the researcher has no oppourtunity to clarify the respondent’s answer and deal with the misunderstandings. Adding from the theoritical problems there are a few practical problems with Questionnaiers as the main problem is the responce rate, For Example: In Shere Hite’s study of “love, passion and violence” in America in