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Criminology and Criminal Justice
CRCJ 3002
Suzanne Cooper

Research skills and reflexivity Skill set of qualitative researcher - Ability to maneuver around philosophical debates • Qualitative researchers need a thorough awareness of the philosophical assumptions underpinning their research • Need a thorough understanding of the position that they take on ontology and epistemology and the ability to defend it • Ontology: the study of the nature of being, reality, and substance • Epistemology: the study of *** - Data collections skills • Interpersonal skills to:  Gain access  Maintain prolonged contact  Build trust in research relationship - Data analysis skills • Creativity and judgement to make sense of and transform massive amounts of data/text into theory by:  Reducing volume of raw information  Sifting trivial from significance  Identifying significant themes  Constructing a conceptual framework • Ability to go beyond description  Link elements  Weave a ‘story’ • Ability to be iterative - Writing skills • Qualitative data/text is highly complex and can only carefully crafted writing can do justice to this • Qualitative researchers need to be able to use a variety of stylistic devices • It is qualitative writing which forms the contribution • Ability to successfully balance description and interpretation  Enough detail to provide a rich insight  Enough focus to present a convincing argument • Ability to decide what is signiticant and simply providing enough evidence to make your case • Ability to concisely and persuasively construct and argument • Skillfully maneuver around philosophical debates  Put the researcher into the writing (use ‘I” or “we”) - Ability to be reflexive - Quantitative research takes extensive measures to strive *** What is reflexivity? - Engaging in critical appraisal of own research - Reflecting on why we frame issues in particular ways - Considering how we arrived at a certain interpretation - Reflexivity should not be confined just to particular kinds of epistemological approaches Various ‘reflexivities’ - Personal reflexivity • Reflecting upon the ways in which our own experiences, beliefs, etc. shape research • Thinking about how research affects us (researchers) • Notion of self inquiry  “Do I agree with ____”?? “How did the effects of 9/11 affect me?” - Epistemological reflexivity • Reflect upon the assumptions (about the world, about knowledge) that we have made in the course of the research  Implications of such assumptions on research and findings  What our measures can actually tell us about the nature of the world and human action;  What our aims are in conducting the research;  What assumptions are implicated in the theories that drive our research and are produced as a result of our research - Methodological reflexivity • Reflecting on how and why the research was designed, conducted and analyzed, and how this led to particular conclusions  How the research should be designed or conducted in order to provide a convincing account;  Alternative interpretations & their refutation  Role researchers play in producing results  Choices that were made and reasons for them - Disciplinary reflexivity • Entails reflexivity concerning social and political limitations and ideological functions of our disciplines  Why were we interested in these particular research questions?  What disciplinary-based interpretive frameworks inform our accounts?  What aspects of our disciplinary background lead us to dwell on certain aspects of the research context and not others?  Whose voices were allowed to be heard? Pitfalls of reflexivity - Use discourses that suggest objectivity - Self indulgence • Figure out how you are affecting your results - Difficulties of reflection - Paralysis Reflexive skills in practice - Constant iteration between personal experience of research, theory, underlying assumptions, data, participants’feedback - Writing self-critical accounts - Personal reflexivity journal - Reflecting on research question - Reflecting on writing style - Incorporation of reflexivity into research report Ethics and the role of reflexivity - Two major dimensions of ethics (Guillemin & Gillam, 2004) • Procedural ethics  Seeking approval from relevant committees • Ethics in practice  Everyday ethical issues that arise Practical Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research 1. Informed consent • Consent may be gi
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