Questionnaires (investigating crime)

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  • Created by: Flossie12
  • Created on: 06-01-16 11:52

Practical

ADVANTAGES
-quick, cheap way to gather large amount of data from a large sample size and geographically spread if postal
-potential victims likely to cooperate because it's in their interests to see crime reduced
-no need to recruit and train interviewers as respondents answer themselves
-funding bodies e.g government impose time limits on research because under pressure from media and public for quick results and so questionnaires used

DISADVANTAGES
-criminals unlikely to respond as it would be admitting to their crime and location- method might not give them chance to justify their crime and so wouldn't say if have offended
-some criminal groups have low/ no literacy levels and so a questionnaire couldnt have detailed in depth questions or complex language (interview better so can clarify)
-postal questionnaires have low response rate need follow up q but adds cost and time
-walklate: few weeks sent 300 questionnaires to businesses about crime
-only snapshots in time and don't capture the way people's attitudes and behaviour changes

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POSITIVISTS supporting theory

-produce representative findings that generalisable to wider population~ large scale as can cover different geographical locations
-reliable as they can be replicated through standardised procedure to check or falsify results and can make comparisons in answers from different times and areas e.g public attitudes towards crime now and from the past
-show correlations and cause and effect relationships between variables=social facts
-detached method as have little to no personal contact with research=objective quantities data

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INTERPRETIVISTS opposing theory

-don't produce valid data as they have close ended questions which don't allow respondent to justify clarify or explain their answer
-they depend on memory cooperation and ethics and some victims might exaggerate or suppress some memories as well as criminals exaggerating their offences to look 'tough' and people may lie forget or don't understand which means that the data is invalid
-ppts may try and please the researcher or impress them by giving respectable answers rather than tell the truth

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Ethics

+postal questionnaires-returning them indicates consent but under 16s need parental consent and this may rule out that sample and the group is generally excluded.
+ppts don't have to answer sensitive questions

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Alternative

Interpretivists would argue that interviews are better method for studying ....crime and deviance.... Because they produce valid insightful qualititve data that enables ppt to justify and explain their reasons for committing crime and this achieves verstehen (meaning behind actions).

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