Using material from the item and elsewhere, assess the strengths and weaknesses of using questionnaires to investigate violent crime

Using material from the item and elsewhere, assess the strengths and weaknesses of using questionnaires to investigate violent crime (33 marks)

This essay is about using questionnaires to research violent crimes.

I got a B in this essay, but my techer said it was way too long for a 15 marks essay ((the longest int he class - LOL xD))

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Researching violent crime
Using material from the item and elsewhere, assess the strengths and weaknesses of
using questionnaires to investigate violent crime (15 marks)
As the item states, `violent crime tends to be swift and unexpected', this therefore means that it is
extremely difficult to know when and where a violent crime will or has taken place. This means that
the researcher will not have direct access to the crime scene, which is a major practical issue which
could potentially hold back the research or even lower the validity of the research; this is because
the information which will be gathered from the crime scene, a while after the crime has taken place,
may not show an accurate reflection of the crime which was committed earlier due to the period of
time in between the crime taking place and the time in which the researcher is allowed access to the
crime scene. This would therefore lead both positivist and interpretivist sociologists to resort to a
more suitable method of researching the violent crime which has occurred. Questionnaires are
favoured by both interpretivist and positivist sociologists, but only to a certain extent, in the
investigation of violent crimes.
Positivists would favour the use of questionnaires in the investigation of violent crimes, especially
the use of questionnaires with closed questions; this is because they have the ability to provide the
researcher with quantifiable data which would produce reliable information, such as statistics, which
have the ability to be replicated. According to positivist sociologists, producing reliable data which
can be replicated will mean that data is correct, and this is the main purpose of a science. Positivists
therefore see questionnaires as a valid way of researching into the area of violent crime. However,
some sociologists would argue that questionnaires, especially closed ones, which are used to
provide official government statistics cannot be seen as reliable due to the `dark side' of statistics
this is where a number of crimes are not reported and therefore not accounted for and so the
statistics for crime will not show an accurate representation of society and this has led some
sociologists to reject the use of questionnaires which are used to provide statistics.
As the item states, `questionnaires help to maintain a distance from the research group', this would
therefore mean that if any sensitive topic concerning a recent crime are covered in the
questionnaire, the respondent may feel more comfortable completing the questionnaire in private
where he/ she does not feel ashamed or intimidated by the researcher, this could therefore be seen
as overcoming the ethical issue of sensitivity. This is therefore a strength of using questionnaires in
researching violent crimes. However, other sociologists would argue that even if the respondent,
who may be the victim of a violent crime, does complete the questionnaire concerning a violent
crime in private, they will still be reliving painful or distressing memories which would raise a number
of ethical issues concerning sensitivity. This is therefore seen as a weakness of using questionnaires
in the study of violent crimes.
Another issue concerning the use of questionnaires in the investigation of a violent crime is memory;
some victims of a violent crime who are asked to complete a questionnaire concerning the crime may
not remember much of the details about the crime, this could be due to shock which they experience
during the time of the crime. Equally, the respondents, who are the victims of the crime, may
exaggerate certain details of the crime committed; this would consequently affect the validity of the
research as it would not show a true reflection of what is being studied. Therefore questionnaires
are not the most effective way of researching around a violent crime.
The use of questionnaires in the investigation of violent crimes also has many practical issues, this
included issues which as access, language barriers, time and costs. If the researcher wants to give the
perpetrators of the crime a questionnaire to complete, they may not be allowed access to them due
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This would
therefore mean that the data gathered from the research study would lack a major perspective ­
that of the criminal; this would therefore mean that the data gathered from the questionnaires would
lack objectivity as it would only consist of the responses from the victims and witnesses of the crime
who may subjective in their completion of the questionnaire, this would therefore lead to the
research findings lacking validity as they would not show a true reflection of what is being studied.…read more

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Hizzles

What year was this question for ?

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