- Carried out in private, participant observation is not possible.
- under-reported and under-recorded- crime stats lack validity.
-Victims+offenders may be hard to access- difficult to create a sampling frame from which a representative sample can be created. Actually finding victims or offenders to take part could be difficult.
- V. sensitive. Unstructured interviews- build up a rapport and put the respondent at ease- subject matter still deeply traumatic.
-Confidentiality is essential given the vulnerability of the victim.
-Relies heavily on victims memory- could reduce validity.
-violence tends to be spontaneous- observation difficult or time consuming.
-Researching violent gangs could be difficult: covert PO has problems of ethics, risk to researcher, maintaining covert role and fitting in.
-offenders of violence may be unwilling to co-operate with researcher.
-under reported by the media as it's hidden away from view. Under-reported and difficult to define so crime statistics are likely to lack validity.
-Very complex, involving organisations often in more than one country- time consuming and expensive. Difficult to establish who is to blame, and to identify victims.
-Access is difficult as corporate crime is carried out by those in positions of power who will ensure their actions aren't defined as criminal.
-Often have lower levels of literacy due to truancy from and underachievement at school. Q'aires and interviews need to be carefully instructed.
-May use slang the researcher doesn't understand.
-May see the researcher as 'police in disguise' especially in an interview setting- take time to build up trust. Could also be a problem with overt PO.
-Sampling frames can be difficult. They will not be found on the register of elector due to their age.
-Risk of the researcher learning 'guilty knowledge' which creates an ethical dilemma: to pass it on and breach the respondent's confidentiality or trust or to withhold the info and risk a serious consequence. Particular issue given the vulnerability of young people.
Victims of crime
-often there is no clear victim e.g drug dealing.
-the victim may have started the offence against them e.g a violent partner attacked in self defence
-victims of corporate crime may be unaware they are a victim.
-some people may be reluctant to see themselves as victimss- the term implies some level of weakness.
-many victims are hidden- domestic violence or child abuse
-victms are vulnerable and the experience is traumatic. Unstructured interviews may be a good way of putting victims at ease.
-relies heavily on victims memory- may produce data lacking in validity as info could be exaggerated or withheld.
-plenty of media reports available-time consuming to go through them all.
-media reports are distorted by the values of the owners of the media. Difficult to understamd exactly how news events are processed and created.
-people may not be aware that their fears of crime have been created by the media; may have been influenced by real-life experiences.
-researcher may interpret the meaning of a media report differently to the audience.
-main problem: victim not around for interviews/q'aires, although survivors of suicide attempts could be interviewed.
-Extremely sensitive and traumatic topic- rapport must be created.
-Personal documents such as diaries and letters could be difficult to access, and may be unrepresentative. There are documents available from a coroners court which could show why the death was recorded as a suicide.
-official statisticsof suicide may lack validity and reliability as they are simply the number of deaths recorded as suicide. However, they present no ethical concerns and are easy to access.
Criminal justice system
-accessible at a police station- spend much time away from it. Parts of the police station may be hard to access. Access to senior officers- especially difficult.
-may view the researcher as an 'outsider' and not cooperate-overt PO or interviews difficult. Covert PO difficult as researcher isn't a police officer
-used to paper work so may be willing to fill out a q'aire- time constraints may prevent this or interviews.
-access is possible-some areas are out of bounds e.g jury room. Jurors can't be questioned about the discussions in the jury room.
- legal terminolgy may be difficult for researchers not trained up in law.
-Documents such as media reports may be available.
-Access v. difficult. Covert PO nearly impossible. Safety of researcher during interviews.
-offenders may be easy to locate, but unavailable due police enquiries etc.
-Prisoners may pass on guilty knowledge- ethical issue for researcher. Also likely to have lower levels of literacy- q'aires+interviews need to be carefully planned.