Dobór próby udziałowej i role ankieterów w badaniach małej społeczności lokalnej
Słomczyński, Kazimierz M.
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In the paper the author presents selected results of analyses referring to the methods of first contacts with respondents and that behaviour of interviewers which defines their social role during the interview. At the same time it is a collection of certain practical experiences which show the difficulties a sociologist may come across whole he is carrying his research in a small local community. The study was carried out in 1966 in a town of a small administrative district with 3500 inhabitants. 300 persons aged 18-65 years were interviewed. It was a quota sample with four control variables: sex, age, education and profession. The interviews were made by sociology students from the University of Łódź who were going through their obligatory training period in field study. The paper is based on the interviewers’ reports concerning individual interviews. The reports were written according to precisely formulated instructions containing basic categories of descriptions. The author has paid particular attention to two problems: The first problem deals with the selection of respondents and coming into contact with them during quota sampling by interviewers who are not acquainted with the members of the community in question. What should be done to avoid addressing persons who do not comply with the requirements of the instruction? In the paper four methods used in the study are shown. 1. The interviewers did not turn to persons met by chance but to heads of selected households and they learnt from them whether in their families there were persons who complied with the requirements of the instruction (51,7°/o of interviews). 2. Respondents, who were being interviewed, indicated future respondents and helped to come into contact with them – this is a new version of “the chain method” sometimes applied in ethnographical research (25,0% interviews). 3. Help of, regular informants who could supply necessary information about potential respondents (11,9% of interviews). 4. The use of official data dealing with a few narrow socio-professional (occupational) categories (11,4% of interviews). Efforts were made to find out whether some of the applied methods did not result in a special selection of respondents. It was stated that, when compared with other respondents, those obtained by means of “the chain method” gave longer and fuller answers to several questions in the questionnaire. It is probable that persons who directed interviewers to those respondents informed the latter about the interview which was to take place and its contents. Significant differences in replies indicate, that this method of obtaining respondents should be avoided. The other problem discussed in the paper refers to the standardization of the social role in which interviewers will address the respondents. Before the study was begun it was decided that the interviewers would introduce themselves as students going through the period of their field study practice. They were to ask the respondents to do them the favour and help to fulfill the duties imposed on the students by university authorities. In the recommended version of the initial talk there were many phrases and idioms which emphasized the “private” character of the research situation. It appeared, however, that in some interviews the interviewers did not closely follow the instructions addressing the respondents in a more official role exposing the official relations more than the personal ones. It happened mostly in those cases when the unofficial role brought about a slightly negligent attitude in the respondents. When replies received from that group of respondents were compared with other replies, the former showed considerable differences in contents which must be taken into account when the material is analysed.