research methods in crime and deviance

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  • Created on: 19-06-17 14:50
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  • official crime statistics, self-report etc.
    • police
      • recording crime
        • Home office reports 5.4 million recorded by police between 2006. not all crime is reported by the police. may not report a crime as they dint realize a crime was committed..
      • reporting crime
        • not all crimes are reported . reasons why : 1) fear of reprisals 2) crime may involve family or friend 3) fear or distrust of the police 4) embarrassment if sexual 5) lack of awareness.
    • British Crime Survey
      • Home office to give a more accurate picture of the levels of crime
        • large scale questionnaire 40,000 people aged 16 or over if they have been a victim of crime.
          • advantages - 1) population validity 2) valid measure of crime than using police records alone 3) they allow comparisons to be made between age, gender, ethnicity, age. 4) ask same questions so reliable 5) BCS is a social survey so gives quantitative data
          • disadvantage - 1) people may have trouble remembering what happened to them  2) people have victims of crime and not realise it. 3) embarrassment  4) provide false answers. 5) BCS dont cover all crime.
    • self-report studies - Cambell (deliquent girls)
      • advantage- 1)  quantitative findings 2) more valid than statistics 3) victimless crime e.g. drug abuse.
      • disadvantages1) cannot recall information 2) socially desirable 3) didn't know they were being incriminated against
    • alternative methods to study deviance
      • participant observation
        • James Patrick 1973 study Glasgow Gang Observed. Patrick a teacher at a school was invited by a gang member to see for himself what life was like in a street gang. covert observation (gang was unaware)
        • erving goffman (1961) used covert participant observations when he studied life in an American mental assylum . he worked as an assistant athletic coach. Willis  used overt observation in his study of 12 working class lads. Chambliss in his study of RDU
        • advantage of PO - 1) experiential 2) qualitative data. 3) the most verstehen 4) if they are unaware of the observation then they will produce valid results
        • disadvantages : 1) lack of consent. Patrick broke the law by carrying weapons. He took illegal drugs too. 2) group wont act normal in the presence of a new comer. 3) difficult to report findings. Hobbs and Patrick had to rely on memory. 4) danger of going native . Patrick knew one of the gang members so hard to remain neutral
    • informal interviews
      • Pat Carlen informal interviews to study women,. Dobash and Dobash a husband and wife team, also used this method . used female research assistants as males would be inappropriate on the basis of ethical and practical reasons
        • adv: 1) quantitative findings. 2) people can speak openly without restrictions of the social survey. Carlen for example would have responded openly to questionnaire.3) verstehen
        • disadvantage 1) - small samples may not be representative 2)-interviewer bias 3) the age, sex, gender, social class of the interviewer could influence the answers given by the interviewee. 4) analysis of data may be time consuming
    • field experiments
      • Rosenhan did a field experiment to study psychiatric hospitals.
        • advantages of field experiments : 1) natural  2) no demand characteristics. 3) large sample
        • disadvantages of field experiments : 1) small samples 2) ethical issues like informed consent,risk of harm, 3) age, sex, gender or social class of the experimenter
    • social surveys -BCS is a social survey,.
    • secondary sources- official statistics on crime and suicide main type of secondary data used by sociologists. Brown and Clare (2015) prison autobiographies


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