Assignment 2

Practice questioons on crime and devience

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  • Created on: 31-01-11 15:23
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3) Identify and briefly explain three problems of using qualitative methods and/or
Sources of data to study suicide. (9 marks)
Using sources of data is a method preferred by positivists. Interpretivists see problems with
using this method to research suicide such as It can be unreliable, as different coroners may
reach different verdicts even on similar evidence. Using qualitative methods also comes with
problems like, if a researcher was to interview people who attempted suicide they might find
it difficult to get information from the interviewee, as it is a sensitive subject and not
something people are very open about. Another problem could be access to the
interviewee's as they can be sectioned or have an over protective family to stop them trying
to do it again, to be interviewed could bring back the symptoms and make them try again.
4) Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the strengths and limitations of
unstructured interviews as a means of investigating victims of crime. (15 marks)
As item A suggests victims are usually weak in relation to the offender. Their weakness
could also make it so they find it difficult and/or embarrassing to talk about the incident,
again like Item A suggests with the feminist theory and their idea of `victim blaming' bringing
in ethical issues for the researcher making it difficult accessing those willing to talk.
The fact that the interview is unstructured can also make it more comfortable for the
interviewee as it will feel more like a conversation and just flow, rather than feel like an
Unstructured interviews also allow researchers to deal sensitively with different topics, as
Dobash and Dobash did with their research into the victims of domestic violence. They can
also give the powerless a voice and make the interviewees more comfortable with going out
and so on after their trauma.
Finally an unstructured interviews have the risk of the Hawthorne effect, where interviewees
tell the researcher what they think they want to hear, perhaps by dramatising the story, and
an unstructured interview takes a long time to write up.
A better method would perhaps be Questionnaires, ads they are quick, cheap and there is
no Hawthorne effect.


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