Research Methods in context with Crime and Deviance

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Researching domestic violence:
Few opportunities for observation and interview data is difficult to validate (takes place in private)
Under-represented in OCS (police are often not called) and is under-reported in victimisation studies
There are few sampling frames for studying it ­ information is confidential and not readily available
Traumatic nature of DV ­ need to use appropriate methods to accommodate sensitivity and person
areas of responses
Researching violent crimes:
Could participate in sub cultural groups who are involved in violence ­ involves greater danger -
observers record some instances of being involved or threatened with violence ­ ethical + safety
Some violent acts take place in private ­ few observational opportunities / cannot be observed an so
has to be retrospective (e.g. Interviews) ­ but victims of violent crime are less likely to agree to be
Researching corporate crimes:
White collar crime may be under-reported to police and under-estimated in crime statistics ­ lower white
collar crime may be more socially acceptable than other forms of crime
More complex than other forms of crime ­ difficult to investigate ­ often involves a diffusion of
responsibility and so tracking each role is difficult. Also a diffusion of impact ­ difficult to identify and
find victims who can answer questions
Those committing corporate crimes are likely to be powerful, organised groups who may enjoy political
Researching young offenders:
Age of offenders ­ language and literacy skills are likely to be less developed or may use slang ­
difficulty devising questions
Age of offenders ­ may develop sympathy for them ­ can affect validity
Young people are more vulnerable than adults and have less power
Difficult to create samples of young offenders ­ most use school/court record and snowball sampling
Overt or Covert observation may be difficult ­ don't easily fit in due to class, age or gender differences.
May not be able to gain access due to fears of the researcher being an informer. May be personal
Need to put young respondents at ease ­ Maguire never used tape recorders when interviewing because
it was too formal and made interviewees guarded in their responses
Researching victims of crime:
With cries such as drug deals, there may be no easily identifiable victim
It's not always self-evident who is a victim (may be partially responsible for offence)
Not everyone who is a victim knows they are ­ especially true with corporate crime
Some victimisation is hidden from view (e.g. DV and child abuse)
Victims are more vulnerable ­ need to be more sensitive
Most research with victims is retrospective and so is dependent on memory ­ may be easily forgotten ­
may undermine the validity of retrospectives of victims' experiences

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Researching criminal justice:
The police: A lot of police work takes place on the street < access issues > some aspects of policing
takes place within closed settings and is off-limits for researchers - access to senior officers is extremely
May view the researcher as an 'outsider' and not cooperate-overt PO or interviews difficult
Need to use methods that enable them to get behind the impression management strategies of
police officers - gain insight into the officer behind the professional self
Police stations are…read more

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Laboratory experiments
1. Experimental group: exposed to a variable that the researcher believes will have an effect
2.…read more

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Gives researcher even less control over variables ­ can be even less certain whether a thought
experiment has discovered the cause of something…read more

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Practical issues in using questionnaires
Quick and cheap to gather large amounts of data
No need to train interviewers and observers to collect data ­ respondents usually complete and return
Usually easy to quantify and analyse, especially with pre-coded answers and closed-ended questions
Data may be limited and superficial due to the need to be brief
May need to offer incentives to encourage completion ­ adds to cost
Can't be sure returned questionnaires were completed by the person to whom it…read more

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Structured - standardised questions
Unstructured - guided conversations: interviewer is free to vary questions and ask follow-up questions
Semi-structured - same set of questions but interviewers can probe info and ask additional questions
Group - relatively unstructured and include a focus group
Interviewer bias = the way in which the interviewer can influence a respondent's answers (desirability effect?) -
undermines validity
Structured interviews
Practical issues
Cover large number of people, quick and cheap
Suitable for gathering factual information
Easily quantifiable
Response…read more

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HOWEVER...…read more

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Positivism Interpretivism
Quantification Validity through involvement:
Open ended questions mean that answers cannot Allow the researcher to gain an understanding
be easily categorised and quantified - less useful through involvement: develop a rapport and gain
therefore for establishing cause-and-effect insight into the world through their eyes, learning
relationships, correlating variable and testing about what is important to them and why they act
hypotheses as they do
Reliability: Grounded theory:
They are not standardised and therefore it is It is important to approach the research with…read more

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Non-Participant Observation: where the researcher observes without interfering
Participant Observation: where the researcher becomes part of what they observe
Structured: a set of criteria in categories that need to be recorded
Unstructured: nothing set, just record as much important information as possible
Overt Observation: the researcher reveals their true identity and purpose and asks for their permission
Covert Observation: the researcher conceals their true identity and purpose
1.…read more



Great document! Must have taken forever to make lol, thanks for sharing! :)

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