CRM 2303BResearch Methodology in Criminology
Office FSS 13003
Email [email protected]
Email [email protected]
Neuman, L.W. Robson K (2012) Basics of Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches:
Available at Agora
$130, try to buy used. Agora only currently has 20 copies.
You get to choose one of the following projects and conduct it with aj group of colleague in class (max four
in a group) Due March 13th
Group Survey Assignment or Group Participant Observation Assignment, 30 percent
Instructions will be given out in classmates
Final Examination: During Final Exam Period, 40 percent
When emailing, just put course code and name
Doing Social Research Class 2
What is Research? It is fun and exciting...
It is difficult and mysterious....
It is practical and relevant....
It is valuable and rewarding....
It si a wast of time and effort.....
It is always correct.....no
What is Research
Research is a process in which people (researchers) use specific principle and techniques to create
Is a process of searching and working towards truth.
Social Research: Is a process in which people combine an set of principles,outlooks, and ideas
(methodology) with a collection of specific practices techniques strategies (method of inquiry) to produce
We all go down to the grand canyon on the Colorado river. We look around at the Grand
Canyon. What is the first thing that comes to mind?
If you were a geologist? levels of erosion, how old the rocks are
Environmentalist?quality of the water
Artist? how the lines are, colours, textures
What the fuck is she trying to illustrate?
You're mindset as to what should be research impacts how you conduct the research, how you
look at different scenarios, your outlook is important to how you conduct social research.
Alternatives to Social Research
Who else can you ask to do help you with research, answer questions?
Authority: parents, teachers, experts
Tradition: authority of the past
Media myths: TV, movies, newspapers and magazines...
Personal experiences: over generalization selective observation premature closure, halo effect, common
sense. What is the benefit of relying on authority to answer some of our questions?
They have more life experience,
They are reliable
They are cheap, easily assessable
What is the problem with experts?
They may be bias
May not have the specific skill set in the field
We don't tend to question their opinion
In cases such as Lambroso (physical characteristics of criminality), when research is faulty, it
could lead to further mishap/grave consequences.
What is the issue with tradition?
They may not have an explanation, just accept it for what it is,
Some of the traditional social knowledge began with a prejudice and carried from generation to generation,
becoming a belief, a truth, and thought of a fact
is filtered for public eyes,
it is important in the sense that there is a link between crime and media, it curves the theory of
risk and risk management, curves the norms of society, what people expect out of society.
The media is bombarded with false states, they are creating a reality that is not real.
you form and opinion, the problem being over generalization.
people tend to ignore facts that don't support your opinion.
You think you have the answer to everything, you don't want to listen to anybody.
What is the Halo Effect?
You generalize and accept whatever you are looking for because that answer came from a well recognized
person or institution.
What is social science?
Science: a social institution and a mean of producing knowledge.
1. Natural science (hard sciences, physics, biology, chemistry)
how do we know what we know about physics and chemistry? Newton s law etc
experiments, observation, theories,
There is evidence in the physical world that natural scientists look for.
2. Social science Look at attitude, behaviour, prejudice,
a) Qualitative (words, visual images, objects)
b) Quantitative (number crunching)
Social Institutions are socially constructed. Eg, NHL league.
Steps in the Research Process
1. Select topic
2. Focus question
3. Design Study
4. Collect data
5. Analyze data
6. Interpret data
7. Inform others
All of these revolve around the theory.
Use of Research
Basic research that advances knowledge about the world: abstract, theorists, some academics, creates
Applied Research: attempts to solve a problem or address a policy or practice, concrete, used by
government, educators, health care institutional, uses theory to help solve problems, theory as basis of
further investigation. Choose theory to direct their research. The goal is to solve the problem. Ex, high rate
of break and enters in sandy hill, how to we solve this? More lights, security signs etc
1. Evaluation Research Study
2. Action Research Study
3. Social Impact Study
Monday, January 13th ,2014
Use of Research
Basic: research that advances knowledge about the world: abstract, theorists, some academics Applied Research: attempts to solve a problem or address a policy or practice, concrete, used by
government, educators, health care institutions
1) Evaluation Research Study (typically done on the government level, or academics from universities,
studies done through the government, there is a certain goal they want to achieve through program
evaluation, will not follow the same rigour as those through the university. Research could be bias if done
by same organization trying to keep funding, results can be manipulated, factors ignored)
2) Action Research Study (Starts at grass root, typically academics in the field, based on power and
knowledge, based on Foucaults idea, it's relational, we do not rely on experts knowledge, we conduct our
own studies, our own research. Gives these people a sense of power/knowledge)
3) Social Impact Study (long term study, usually through governments, expensive, the institutions want to
know the impact. ie, this program aims to reduce vandalism by 20 percent, stats Canada)
Purpose of a Study
Research into an area that has not been studied,
to develop initial ideas and more focused research question,
deals with what and qualitative, do content analysis, try to understand what's behind hidden
symbols about that topic in the media
Example: involuntary manslaughter in USA
Time consuming, long, dry, but has a lot of values as you are opening the doors to new,
provides details on something known,
deals with who, when and how
Ex. Box 1.5 (in text, characteristics of men who pay for sex)
Can be both qualitative and quantitative
step one, do researchers
observation, ie, going to see the men pick up the women
looking for race, age, demeanour, type of car
see if observation matches the research
build a new or test an existing explanation
deal with why
Identifies the source of social behaviour, beliefs, and provides reasons
This is where you test a theory, ie, once you have the characteristics of the men who are
domestic abusers, you now look into why
The majority of research is description, exploration is time consuming, must be extremely knowledgeable in
order to properly conduct, Time Dimensions in Research
Cross Sectional Research:
Examines information on many cases at one point in time
Cannot capture social process or change (interview at one point in time, can't go back in ten
years and ask more questions)
Most research is cross sectional
Careful examination of a small group or one case
Very in depth research.
Get in depth detail, could review unknown info about specific group of people,
Can open doors to further research
People may generalize other groups,
difficult to get access to notorious people (Williams)
Is criticizes as it does not add knowledge of the general population, but rather an individual,
not a huge impact
1. Time series: takes place over time, different people with one issue
2. Panel Study: same exact people are studied over long period of time for multiple issues (could be 4050
3. Cohort study: focus on one group of people who share a similar life experiences
Most institutions can not afford such studies, usually funded by government
Data Collection Techniques
a method that divides people being studied into two or more groups, applying a treatment to
one the groups ad determining if there are any differences in the reactions of the group over a
set period of time.
uses written questionnaire or interview to gather data on the backgrounds, behaviours, beliefs
and attitude of a large number of people.
examines the content and the symbolic meaning in communication medium. goes deeper than just descriptive
Eg, taking the note that a certain topic comes up in media, you must go deeper than just the
number, must explain why
Reanalysis of existing quantitative data
2. Focus Group
3. Field Research
5. Content Analysis
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Chapter 2 Theory and Social Research
Epistemology a philosophical concept that asks how we know what we say we know, and what constitute
legitimate knowledge. This is the broader definition,
The importance of epistemology in social research is concerned with finding a secure foundation of
knowledge that can be distinguished form beliefs and opinion.
Basically, how do we know what we know.
If you go back to the 15th century, most of the knowledge about our surroundings, social life came from the
In the 1700's researchers were in a position of power do to the Enlightenment. There was a way for
researchers to predict certain patterns. The scientific method evolved.
In 1800 certain researchers emerged. Sigmond Freud, Beccaria, August Compte, Durkheim, Weber and
Marx. Marx was one of the first research to look at epistemological research.
Rationalism deals with math and numbers, oriented in positivist school, humans are born with capacity.
Nature vs Nurture theory emerged. Paradigm a framework for social theory and includes an integrated set of assumptions, beliefs, models of
doing good research. When someone has a paradigm it means they have a framework of reference, they
take a position. This framework effects how you conduct your research.
There are three major Paradigms:
More quantitative research, based on August Compte,
The goal of positivist school, 1st school of thought in the social scientist, combined natural sciences/social
scientists, observation, and hypothesis.
The goal is to predict and control
Combines mathematical calculation with observation, researchers believed that by observing you can
observe the natural order of life.
Social Scientists believe you can use scientific logic in order to predict human behaviour
Purpose of research: discover casual law; predict and control
Nature of reality: essentialist orientation
Reality and casual process are determinable through scientific observation
Does truth exist according to the positivist theory? Yes, they believe one truth exists, meaning
through research and reproduction of research you get an essentialist orientation, the 1 truth