05

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  • Created by: Iqra
  • Created on: 12-12-12 19:52
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  • Assess the relative importance of the different factors that affect sociologists choice of research methods and of topics to investigate.
    • Questionnaires
      • Practical Issues
        • Gather large quantities of data quickly and cheaply
      • Ethical  issues
        • Some crimes are extremely sensitive and therefore a questionnaire is unlikely to create an empathetic situation
      • Reliablity
        • People could easily lie
      • Validity
        • Victim studies require them to recall of traumatic events, creating distorted memory in relation to being the victim of crime
      • Representativeness
        • Easy to gain sampling frame for prison officers or prisoners but harder for victims of domestic violence.
        • Response rates change depending on who is carrying out the questionnaire.
        • Barristers/ Law Breaking
      • Theoretical
        • Positivists prefer quantifiable data
    • Structured interviews
      • Practical
        • Quick, cheap and good large number of people
          • Response rates are higher due to face to face questions
        • Training is cheap and easy, no new leads can be followed up, easy to quantify.
      • Ethical Issues
        • May feel under pressure, need to gain consent, guarantee confidentiality and make it clear that they don't have to answer.
      • Reliablity
        • Easy to replicate, so large scale patterns can be identified {gender and offending}
      • Validity
        • Young people have better verbal skills than literacy skills, therefore interviews may be better written in order to gain better results from young offenders and victims
    • Unstructured interviews
      • Practical
        • Rapport is created, allowing better results through trust
        • Training needs to be more thorough
        • Takes longer
        • Large amounts of data, categorisationis more difficult
      • Theoretical
        • Interpretivists, prefer them because they produce valid data
        • Positivists reject is as being unscientific, lacking objectivity and representativess.
      • Validity
        • Researcher can ask slang related questions
        • Researcher can learn as they go
      • Reliablity
        • Maintain a relaxed atmosphere, but this cannot be standardized so different interviewers may obtain different results, reducing the reliability of their findings.
    • Documents
      • Practical
        • CJS run by the state
      • Ethical Issues
        • Some sensitive material may not be made public
        • Greater need to anonymity because of potential consequences.
      • Reliablity
        • Can draw direct comparisons from the information recieved.
        • However human errors reduce reliablity
      • Representativeness
        • Likely to be representativeness, but very time consuming to analyse
        • Personal documents produced by offenders or police offers are less representative
      • Validity
        • Important  insight into the meanings held by those involved in the CJS and therefore can be high in validity
        • Open to different interpretations
        • Not knowing what the author has kept hidden
    • Official Statistics
      • Practical
        • Government provides: saves money and time and allows them to make comparisons ethic, gender
        • Examine trends over the years
          • Official definitions may be different, social class
      • Representative
        • Some are highly representative- all police forces are required to keep records of their activities.
          • Interpretivists argue that due to the social processes involved in crime and policing their is a 'dark figure' of unreported and unrecorded crimes
      • Reliablity
        • The government use standard definitions and categories in the collection of crime stats. #
        • The same collection process is usually carried out each year, allowing direct comparisons
        • However governments may change the def, cat, and rules for recording offences.
      • Validity
        • Interpretivists challenge the validity. seeing them as socially constructed
        • Victim surveys and self report studies may produce more valid stats than those told to the police.

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