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    • SCLY4 CRIME & DEVIANCE WITH RESEARCH METHODS WORKBOOKExamination Date Monday 20th June Examination Length 2 hours 2011 (AM) Course Textbook: Chapter 5, Topics 1-10.The SCLY4 examination is a similar format to SCLY2 (Education) in the respectthat it will ask you specifically about Research Methods in the context of Crimeand Deviance. Therefore, for example, if you are asked about the use ofstatistics, you should talk specifically about how official statistics are used torecord and measure crime in society. What you need to know for the examination • Quantitative and qualitative methods of research; their strengths and limitations; research design. • Sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, observation (participant and non-participant), experiments, documents, and official statistics; the strengths and limitations of these sources. • The distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data. • The relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’. • The theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research.
    • Checklist Participant Observation: James Patrick, A Glasgow Gang Observed & Laud Humphries, The Tea Room Trade (pg. 291 of course textbook) Suicide: Durkheim, Douglas, Maxwell Atkinson. Interviews: Zoe James (2007) (p. 305 of course textbook) The British Crime Survey (pg. 275 and 360 of course textbook) National/Official/Home Office Statistics (pg. 361 of course textbook) Self Report Studies/Questionnaires (THE OCJS, pg. 282 of course textbook) Positivism vs. Interpretivism Experiments Quantitative & Qualitative data (Bryman, 2004, pg. 288 of course textbook) Documents and Secondary Sources (Suicide Notes (Jacobs, 1967) p. 402 of course textbook and The Media, Historical Documents ( Tombs and Whyte, 2003), p. 349 of course textbook) Triangulation & Methodology: Wilson & Jones (2008) (pg. 293 of course textbook)
    • Self Report Studies & QuestionnairesTask 1 Briefly explain how the following terms relate to the use of Questionnaires for social research. VALIDITY RELIABILITY REPLICABILITYGENERALIZABILITY ETHICS Use page 303 of the course textbook to help you here. ***Task 2Complete the table below showing Strengths and Weaknesses of Self Report Studies. Use page 362 of the course textbook to help you. Strengths Weaknesses
    • Task 3 THE OCJS, pg. 282 of course textbookUse the space below to outline what this is and how it can be used to demonstratethe strengths and weaknesses of using a questionnaire to research crime andcriminal behaviour.Task 4Make notes on two examples of Participant Observation (p. 289-291 of coursetextbook)James Patrick, A Glasgow Gang ObservedLaud Humphries, The Tea-Room Trade
    • Task 5 (use pg. 275 and 360 of course textbook to help you)Use the space below to briefly explain the key features of The British Crime Surveyin response to the focal questions.What is the rationale behind completing the BCS?What sociological research methods are used as part of it?How often is it carried out?What is the sampling technique used?
    • Task 6: Reliability & ValidityExamine the studies in the table below and decide whether they are reliable or valid. You should use the final column to explain why each study is either reliable or valid. WHY RELIABLE OR VALID
    • Task 7: QUANTITATIVE & QUALITIVATIVE METHODS (P. 288 of course textbook) Use the research of Bryman (2004) to complete the table below, showing the differences between using a quantitative & qualitative methods. QUANTITATIVE QUALITATIVERELIABLE VS VALID STRUCTURE THEORIES...INVOLVEMENT OF RESEARCHER POINT OF VIEW NUMBERS VS WORDS
    • TASK 8: ETHICS and BIASRead the following scenarios and explain how the data produced might be affectedby, or criticised due to, researcher bias and ethical considerations.Hannah is a sociology student researching the deviant act of ‘drink driving’. She is using astructured interview, with both open and closed questions to try and ascertain why peoplechoose to take control of a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit. Hannah used acontact at her local police station to obtain a list of people within the borough chargedwith drink driving offences. She contacted them by letter asking them to attend aninterview regarding their treatment by the Police force. She feels this is not misleading asthe first question she asks, will require respondents to rate their experience from 1 (good)to 5 (unsatisfactory). Hannah’s younger brother was killed in a car accident where theother driver was 3 x over the limit. Therefore, all the other questions focus on theparticipant’s circumstances, punishment and any feelings of guilt or regret they mightfeel. Hannah will meet the participants on a 1-2-1 basis; she will ask her questions andnote down the responses. *** 1. Is Hannah a Positivist or Interpretivist? Why? 2. How is Hannah’s research biased? 3. What are the ethical considerations Hannah would be criticised for? 4. What is the likely conclusion to Hannah’s research and how would this be criticised by sociologists? 5. How could Hannah make her research more ethical? 6. How could Hannah limit the level of bias in her findings?
    • Carlton is a social worker. The main part of his job is to make home visits to children on the ‘atrisk’ register and assess if they are making any positive progress. He took the job to enable himto carry out his PHD research which questions if children who are mistreated when young willgrow up to be deviant adults. Although he is qualified and capable to carry out the role of socialworker, Carlton’s employees do not know of his parallel research agenda. Over the course of oneyear Carlton carried out covert participant observation, making a diary of his ‘findings’ regarding4 different children, all of whom were experiencing some form of mistreatment. In the interestof validating his findings, Carlton did not report some of the mistreatment immediately, to allowhim to gather more in depth information. Carlton left his job as a social worker after the 4children he was researching were all either adopted or fostered. He took with him contactdetails and addresses as he intended to re-examine the children at regular milestones in order tochart their level of deviance. He also intended to tell the respondents about his research andtheir involvement in at once they turned 18. *** 1. Why is Carlton’s research unethical? 2. From a methodological perspective, what are the ‘good’ aspects of this social research? 3. Why would interpretivist theorists see some value in Carlton’s research? 4. When he re-examines the children, what sort of methodology should he use to try and limit the methodological flaws of his first stage of research? 5. How do you think the respondents, especially those who experienced unnecessarily prolonged abuse whilst Carlton was their social worker, will respond to him once they know of his agenda? How will this impact on the overall findings of the research?
    • TASK 9: OBJECTIVE or SUBJECTIVE?Below are a list of fictional sociologists, each with a brief biography.This activity requires you to think critically about a person’s possible limitations asa researcher, based on a select amount of information about their identity.Read the information and complete the table, deciding who would be the mostobjective and who would be the most subjective researcher for each focal activityand why.GRAHAME AHMEDIs a straight single man in his mid- Grew up in India and moved to the UK toforties. He is the chairman of an online complete his PHD in sociology. He is a 27ancestry website. year old student who shares a house with 3 other doctoral candidates, 1 male and 2 female.HARRY CLARISSAMarried his wife 2 months ago and is a Is a homosexual woman and has been in‘happy’ newlywed. He volunteers as a a long term relationship for 10 years.special constable at weekends. His She is an active feminist and is involvedfamily are a wealthy, white, middle class in frequent campaigns for women’sfamily. He was privately educated and equality.has always lived in a ‘leafy Britishsuburb’.FEARNE ELLIOTIs amicably divorced and has 2 children Is a Black Afro Caribbean male. He grewunder the age of 10. She sometimes uses up on a council estate in Brixton. He‘’ to look for a new lives there still and acts as a youthprospective partner. worker in a diverse community.DEXTER BETSYRan away from home as he could not Was evicted from her home and spentcope with his parents divorce when he several months ‘living rough’, having lostwas 13. He spent his adolescence in her money to a cannabis addiction shefoster care and boarding schools. cultivated whilst an undergraduate student. She has since turned her life around and is now a freelance journalist who focuses on exposing social injustice.
    • TASK 10: Social surveys Asking the right question Open and closed questionsOpen questionsOpen questions are those that allow the respondent to express himselfor herself freely, perhaps by stating an opinion or explaining feelings tothe researcher. Such questions are often used in interviews or at theend of surveys where a question such as ‘Do you have anything youwould like to add?’ is followed by a blank box for writing in.The benefits of open questions are that, for example, they gather richinformation, and they provide a much better chance that the data willbe valid, as the participant is not constrained by multiple-choiceanswers. The disadvantages include the possibility that the participantwill wander off the subject or indulge in a favourite rant. Theresearcher may have difficulty keeping to time, ending up with a lot ofinformation that is not useful to the study. A challenge of qualitativedata of this nature is analysing it in such a way that it can be reportedusefully and concisely.Closed questionsClosed questions have the potential for limited responses. They may befollowed by categories of answers such as ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or ‘Don’t know’,or by a scale on which the participant must choose the answer thatbest fits.The main benefit of using a closed question is that it producesquantitative data that can be easily managed. Disadvantages includelimiting the responses of participants so that important qualitative datais lost. The cost benefit of using closed questions has to be balancedagainst the limited depth of the data gathered.Researchers will often use a mixture of the two types of questions in aquestionnaire or structured interview.
    • Task 10AHere is a selection of questions. Please state whether each one is open orclosed. Question Open or closed? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is strongly disagree and 10 is strongly agree, please give your response to this statement: Dog owners should be fined if their dog barks all day. Do you think that pensions should be increased? What would you say is the biggest advantage to Britain from the influx of workers from Eastern Europe? Should the National Health Service (NHS) charge for treatment of smoking-related illnesses? Do you think that women are now treated equally with men? Please comment on the claim that the internet is dangerous. School pupils receive more pocket money than ever before. What do you think they spend it on? When you go to a university, will your parents support you financially? What are the problems for students in supporting themselves financially in Higher Education?Task 10BHere are some simple research ideas. Write one open and one closedquestion that would be relevant to each idea.1 Gender roles and housework in the modern family.2 A study to investigate the claim that family life has deteriorated over the last 50 years.3 Changes in children’s leisure activities in one generation.4 The impact of the internet on reading activity.
    • Task 11: Sampling MethodsFill in the gapsWhen designing a study, a sociologist usually needs to use a sample from the wholepopulation that she or he is interested in. The important thing, when using asample, is that it should be appropriately representative of the population.Below are some descriptions of sampling methods. For each sentence, fill in thecorrect name in the gap from this list:Convenience Stratified Randomsampling random sampling samplingQuota sampling Snowball samplingUse the space below to note down a definition of each type of sampling named above.
    • • ______________________________ is a way of seeking out a certain number of people who fulfil a requirement for the study (e.g. 100 women with primary school-aged children). To gather the sample the researcher will need to actively recruit people in the required category.• ______________________________ begins with a small sample and then the researcher asks each participant to recommend others who might take part. This does not provide a statistically representative sample but may be useful when recruiting a sample that is difficult to identify without specialist knowledge.• ______________________________ is a way of picking participants from the whole population by using some kind of randomising technique, such as picking names out of a hat.• ______________________________, as the name suggests, uses an easily accessible sample of people. Although the sample is not representative of the whole population, it may be a useful method for a pilot study or for student research.• ______________________________ makes certain that the main characteristics of the population are included in the sample in the right proportions.
    • Task 12: Choosing A Sampling MethodBelow are descriptions of certain research projects. For each project, choose a suitablesampling method from this list:Snowball samplingStratified random samplingConvenience samplingQuota samplingRandom samplingNote that there may be a number of possible answers to each question. The mostimportant thing is that you can justify your answers.1 A study to investigate choice of leisure activities in boys and girls of different age groups. Sampling method: ___________________________2 A survey of final-year school students on attitudes to higher education. Sampling method: ___________________________3 A study of shopping habits of women in the 20–30 age group. Sampling method: ___________________________4 A pilot study of a questionnaire on parental attitudes to discipline of children. Sampling method: ___________________________5 Interviews with people who have overcome an addiction, on their perceptions of what helped. Sampling method: ___________________________
    • Task 13: How can sociological research be evaluated? Validity and reliabilityRead the following three descriptions of research projects designed bystudents. It is your task to evaluate the research in terms of reliabilityand validity.Each example falls into one of the following categories:• valid but not reliable• neither valid nor reliable• both valid and reliable.Your task is to identify which description fits which category and tosupport your decision with a brief, but reasoned, argument. Rememberthat in your exam you will be expected to support any statements thatyou make.Hint: Before attempting this exercise, check out the definitions of theterms reliable and valid. You can do this by checking your answers tothe worksheet Know your terms, or by looking it up in the textbook.Research project 1For a school sociology project, four friends decide to interview otherstudents in the 16–18 age range about leisure activities. Each onechooses five friends and arranges to meet them outside school time todiscuss what they do at weekends. They all agree to take careful notes.One of the researchers has an interesting interview with her firstparticipant in which it becomes clear that one of the main limitingfactors to govern the activities of young people is disposable income.The participant explains that two of her friends have weekend jobs andtherefore have more to spend, but her parents will not allow her towork in case it interferes with her studies. This discovery helps theresearcher to formulate her questions for the other four participants.Another researcher finds it difficult to get her friends to take herquestions seriously, and worries that her findings are not as good as herfriends’.The final two researchers get together before they meet with theirparticipants and agree on a set of questions. The results from thisresearch are varied and the group feels that they have a rich amount ofmaterial for the final report.
    • Research project 2A sociology student decides to investigate attitudes towards single-parent families by using an opportunity sample of friends and family.He carefully prepares a set of questions which he pilots by asking fourclass members to answer them and then he makes alterations based ontheir feedback. He makes sure he includes both open and closedquestions and that each question addresses different issues related tofamily life.He makes certain that his participants understand that they arecomparing single-parent families with families that have two residentparents, when they give their replies.Research project 3A sociology student decides to base her research project on the sharingof domestic work in heterosexual couples under the age of 30. Sheprepares for her project by reading previous research on domestic workand the role of women in families.She prepares a set of closed answer questions in which she asksparticipants to state who does different tasks in the home. The tasksinclude a range of domestic duties including gardening, washing thecar, cleaning the toilet, ironing, shopping, cooking and washing up.Participants are asked to state whether the tasks are done by the manor the woman or whether they are shared relatively evenly.The survey is piloted before use and is edited for clarity. The studentuses a snowball sampling technique, asking each couple to recommendanother couple in the same age group to take part.She is aware that her research has not taken social class into account,so she states this in her report and recommends that further researchmight compare couples from different social classes or incomebrackets.
    • Task 13: Values • are shared ideas about how the world should be • tend to be socially or culturally constructed and are changed by experiences or contact with others • differ between individuals or groups • influence our interpretation of social phenomena. Values can create bias • A strong opinion about something means that we believe certain things about it. • Example: If I believe that left-wing politics are morally correct and that consumerism is unjust, then I may believe that a person with right-wing political views is an unjust person. • If we expect a certain result, it is what we are likely to find. • Example: I might ignore all the evidence that the participant with right-wing political views is basically a decent person who wants everyone to prosper.Is it possible to be objective?A true story: A lecturer gave each of his students a lemon. He asked them to get to knowtheir lemon very well, looking out for all the things that made that lemon unique. He thentook all the lemons back and put them in a big bowl. At the end of the class he asked allthe students to find their own lemon. Without fail each one could find their own becausethey knew a lot about it. Finally, he told them that they could take a lemon home withthem but they had to swap their lemon with the person next to them. Every single one ofthem objected. They had become attached to their lemons!Objectivity • Objectivity may not be possible when the subjects are other human beings. • Objectivity may not be possible even when the subjects are inanimate objects. • The researcher must state his or her personal interests right at the start to analyse any potential bias. Imagine you are asked to do some research: • Would you rather study ‘youth culture in clubs’ or ‘knitting circles’? • Would you rather be paid £20,000 or £8,000?
    • • Would you rather use a method that involved lots of interesting conversations or one that involved analysing piles of statistics?• Would you rather state that your findings were inconclusive or that you have made a brilliant discovery?• Personal interest cannot be denied or ignored!• Personal bias is diminished by:• presenting a full account• making the research replicable• declaring places where personal opinions may have influenced results• being accountable to other researchers• recognising bias as a normal part of being human, rather than denying its existence.
    • Task 14: Values And BiasRead the following passage and then answer the questions below it. You cancheck your answers against some example answers when you have finished.Bias and objectivity‘Values’ are commonly held and commonly shared ideas about what is good orbad, desirable or undesirable. They are developed through the process ofsocialisation and help us to make important moral and ethical decisions as wenegotiate the social world. People’s values differ according to their social andcultural background and they may change over time. As a general rule peoplemix with those who share broadly similar values to themselves, which, in turn,reinforces those values.Some sociologists emphasise the need for objectivity in research, but manyrecognise that the very fact that all human beings have values means thattrue objectivity is not possible when studying others. If this is the case, thenthe researcher must be self-aware enough to recognise his or her own valuesand their potential influence on a research project, and to recognise thepossible effect of participants’ values and the interaction between the two.Here is a description of a study: A feminist researcher is interviewing a group of women about their experiences in the workplace. She briefly explains to the group that she is a feminist and assumes that they all understand what that means. Most of the women in the group have some idea of the meaning of feminism but these ideas vary and are not all positive. As the interview continues, the researcher asks the group a question about men in the workplace. One of the women assumes that the researcher is being critical of men. She snorts loudly and accuses the researcher of being a man-hater. The researcher becomes defensive and denies the accusation but she is unsettled and becomes tight-lipped and anxious. Other people in the group begin to get uncomfortable and decide that the researcher is not approachable and they contribute less and less to the discussion. Finally one of the women announces that she thinks the whole thing is a waste of time and the group disperses, leaving the researcher alone.Questions What do you think was the researcher’s first mistake? Why do you think the woman thought the researcher was being critical of men? What do you think was the researcher’s second mistake? How might the researcher have prepared herself better?
    • Ethical issuesRead the following description of a planned research study and identify theethical problems by putting a ring around each one.Planned research studyA group of sociology students decides to investigate truanting from school byinterviewing fellow pupils. They are interested in the reasons for missingschool, the methods used by pupils to avoid getting caught, what the pupilsdo instead of coming to school, and their general attitudes to school work.Their first problem is to identify possible truants. They decide to do this byasking pupils to note down the names of anyone in their classes who theythink might fit the category. Once the researchers have gathered a list, theythen look out for their subjects at break times and after school, and approachthem to ask questions. The researchers realise that their subjects might notbe willing participants, so they decide to offer a bar of chocolate in exchangefor the information. If this doesn’t prove enough of an appeal, they considerpointing out that they could easily cause trouble for them if they don’tcomply.Each researcher has a sheet of paper with the following questions on it. Thepaper has a space at the top to put the participant’s name and class on it.• Do you ever stay off school when you are not unwell?• Do your parents know about it?• What would they say if they found out?• Do you smoke, drink or use drugs while staying off school?• Do you gamble while off school?• Have you ever shoplifted?• Are you aware that you are breaking the law?• Do you like school?• Do you think that staying off school will have a bad effect on your results?• What do you hope to do when you leave school?Once the data is gathered, the researchers put it all together into a folderand write an introduction and a conclusion. They hand it in as part of theircourse work.
    • Task 15: Sociological methods Know your dataPrimary and secondary dataIn the list below there are examples of primary and secondary data. There is also an oddone out.Use lines to organise the list into the two categories and then put a ring around the oddone out. Once you have found the odd one out explain why it didn’t fit into eithercategory.• Market research information from interviews in the street.• Information from church records on how many people choose to marry in church. Primary data• Asking a person to explain how it felt to be an asylum seeker.• A telephone survey of parents of teenagers to find out how much pocket money they get. Secondary data• Census information to be used in a longitudinal study.• Gathering information from ship’s logs.• Doing a media search to discover whether methods of reporting have changed over time.• Asking people whether they think that media reporting has changed over time.• Doing a case study that involves interviewing parents of children with special needs and gathering information from school records.• Police records of crime reporting.• Gathering information from local people by doing a survey on their political views.• Doing an analysis of children’s TV programmes.• Gathering information about women’s salaries by doing short interviews. The odd one out is:
    • Task 16: Quantitative and qualitative data Fill in the gaps in these sentences using the list of words at the bottom of the page._______________________ data can be measured and _______________. It is oftenanalysed using _________________________ tools. Sociologists who prefer a_______________________ approach will usually choose this kind of data gathering. Onecommon type of research method that produces this kind of data is a __________________.________________________ data is descriptive of people’s responses to different_________________. It is interested in the ______________________ people give toexperiences and recognises that each person is an _______________________. Sociologistswho prefer a _______________________ approach will usually choose this kind of datagathering. One common type of research method that produces this kind of data is__________________.It is important to remember that most sociologists use methods that produce both thesekinds of data. When multiple methods are used it is called ___________________________.Choose from this list of words: qualitative positivist an had that A fewer igloo interview quantitative than census meaning interpretivist one ever triangulation survey Inuits in in individual statistical 1920 forty-six revealed counted seen phenomena
    • Task 17: How can sociological research be evaluated?Evaluating researchEvaluation is an important skill for the sociology student to develop. Answers thatdemonstrate the ability to evaluate research and sociological arguments willreceive additional marks in exams – so this is a good time to practise these skills!Your taskBelow are three examples of research projects. For each one, find an example of astrength, a weakness, and an ethical problem.Study 1Researcher A has decided to investigate the impact of a youth club (that has beenopen for a year) on a small town. She is interested in the benefits to young peopleand whether or not the club has reduced the number of small crimes committed inthe evenings. To conduct this research, she intends to interview members and non-members of the club, along with youth leaders and local residents. She will askrespondents to say what is good about the club and whether they think the level ofcrime has been reduced. She will also ask participants if they know of anytroublemakers whose behaviour has improved since belonging to the club. Finally,she will ask the local police for crime figures in the six months before the clubopened and in the last six months in order to compare them.Study 2Researcher B intends to do a survey on the drinking habits of young people andtheir awareness of the health risks associated with binge drinking. He has designeda confidential questionnaire that asks participants to answer a series of questionson their own drinking habits. The questionnaire then asks them a set of questionslaid out in a quiz format about recommended safe drinking levels and the risks ofdrinking too much. Once he has gathered all the data, he will compare knowledgeand drinking levels to see if there is a positive correlation between knowledge ofrisk and safe drinking. He intends to target young people in the 15–25 age group.Study 3Researcher C wants to observe primary children’s play to see whether childrenchoose games that are gender specific, or whether boys and girls are equallycomfortable playing games that were traditionally thought to be for one or theother gender, e.g. football vs. imagination games. To do this, he intends to obtainpermission from the head teacher to observe children’s play in pre-school nurseryand early years’ settings. Because play is not part of the curriculum in laterprimary years, he will stand outside playgrounds and watch children playing asunobtrusively as possible. He decides that asking permission for this part of thestudy is not necessary, as he will not be on school grounds. Before he begins, hesets out an observation log that looks like this: 1
    • Boys’ games Girls’ gamesBoysGirls 2
    • Task 18: Positivism & Interpretivism Look at each of the questions below and tick the answer that most suits your own personal belief or experience.How was the world created?a. God created the world in six days.b. There was a ‘Big Bang’.“Sociology isn’t a ‘real’ subject”, Do you agree?a. Sociology isn’t a real subject, its all speculation about people. It’sa made up subject for people who aren’t clever enough to studyPhysics or Chemistry!b. the study of people is essential to the continuation of human life.We study matter to improve and inform the lives of human beings,therefore they are important enough to have their own academicdiscipline.To decide if an area I have never visit before is a ‘nice’ and ‘safe’ place to live Iwould…a. Spend some time in the area, talk to local people, try some ofthe local restaurants and pubs, go back at different times of dayand night.b. Look up the crime rate by geographical area on the internet andmake a decision based on whatever it told me.If I wanted to find out more information about a mysterious new religious order, Iwould…a. Go undercover, pretend to be a member and join, documentingmy findings in secret!b. Write a questionnaire with true or false answers, asking themabout their group. I would send one to all of the members with anSAE. 3
    • I think Laboratory Experiments are…a. Great! You can isolate variables and check your results foraccuracy or trends.b. Useless. You need to observe and measure in a natural,undisturbed setting to see true reactions.Once you have completed the quiz, use two colours to shade the boxes and identify which questions you think suggest either Positivism or Interpretivism. 4
    • ExtensionTest your knowledgeEach of the following questions should be answered in one or more full sentences.1 What is the difference between a sociological problem and a social problem? 2 What is social policy? 3 Give two examples of primary data. 4 Give two examples of secondary data. 5 Use an example to demonstrate what it means to operationalise a concept. 6 Give two examples of social phenomena. 7 Why might a positivist sociologist argue that qualitative data is not scientific enough? 8 Explain the meaning of ‘valid data’. 9 Explain the meaning of ‘reliable research method’.10 What does ‘value-free’ mean?11 Name one ethical problem with participant observation.12 What is a multiple-choice question in a survey?13 Is a multiple-choice question open or closed?14 Define the term ‘ethnographic’.15 Make up your own example of a field experiment.16 Does a positive correlation prove a cause and effect? If not, what does it prove? 5