Using Material from Item C and Elsewhere, Assess the Strengths and Limitations of Using Structured Interviews as a Means of Investigating Substance Abuse Among Homeless People. (15 Marks)

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Homelessness is regarded as a deviant lifestyle, often involving abuse of a range of substances such as drugs or alcohol. Some homeless people live on the streets. Some spend their nights in hostels that have open access. They may gain some social contact here, but hostels are often understaffed and have limited resources to help homeless people. Some homeless people are, or have been, involved in crimes such as robbery or violence. As a result, they are mistrustful of the police or any other organisation representing authority. Many of the homeless are people who have ‘fallen through the net’, in that they have suffered from poor education, long-term unemployment and/or mental illness. Some homeless substance abusers may feel excluded from society and may welcome the chance to talk about their situation.
Item C portrays homelessness to be a deviant lifestyle which therefore suggests that the people who choose to live that lifestyle may be closed characters or may lack interest to share details of their lives with other people. Talking to strangers about their deviant habits could have positive or negative effects and therefore leads to there being many strengths and limitations to structured interviews.
One strength of structured interviews is that the researcher has to ask a set amount of questions meaning that even though the answers about substance abuse could be detailed, the homeless people cannot not ramble or get too descriptive if they are already using drugs whilst having that interview. The use of drugs can affect the memory of the user and this may lead to distortion of true memory and will lead to details being invalid and therefore not giving the researcher accurate and reliable sources of information. So the use of set questions gives the researcher a structure and only allows for certain information.
Moreover, if a structured interview is used…...

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