Semi Structured Analysis

Semi structured analysis lies mid-way between structured and unstructured analysis. Structured analysis is based on data gathered from structured questionnaire comprising close ended questions and respondents just need to indicate either yes or no. Unstructured analysis is mostly based on observations and questions that just occur during the course of observation. Semi structured analysis comprises of open ended questions and respondents can answer them in some detail. In semi structured analysis researcher has already got some questions in his mind which he asks in an unrestricted manner and allows the respondents some space. Semi structured analysis is much used in explorative or qualitative research where there is little or no data available on the subject under study. Here the researcher lays more stress on understanding the underlying reasons or motivations for certain behavior rather than assign numbers to observations. In conducting a semi structured interview communication skills of the researcher plays a very important role, the respondents should feel safe and comfortable in the presence of the researcher. Such an environment is more likely when researcher is communicating with respondents who belong to the researcher’s own culture, community or society; in case of diverse culture it is helpful to involve interface researchers who are familiar or belong to that culture and can effectively communicate in the language of the respondents.

Semi structured analysis is suitable when the researcher knows something but not everything regarding the situation or problem he/she wants to study. If the researcher knows nothing or very little about the subject under study, then it may be advisable to first start with unstructured analysis and observation and based on the observation try to frame relevant questions for repeat questioning. Semi structured analysis sets the boundary for respondents, they have to only respond within that boundary, from the responses researcher can get several familiar associable observations and several unfamiliar ones as well, the latter can then further be probed by better structuring.

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