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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Applied Criminological Research Methods (LAWS11500)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course applies theoretical issues of methodology and research design to the practice of empirical research. You will be introduced to the practice of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, which you will employ through the design and conduct of your own, original research project. You will gain experience of the possibilities and dilemmas of research in practice, and an understanding of questions of politics, power and reflexivity that are central to research in practice. Through the presentation of your work you will also practice oral, visual and written communication skills to a range of lay and practice audiences. Please note, to take this course you must have taken Criminological Research Methods (LAWS11469) or a similar postgraduate course in social research methodology.
Course description This course provides a training in the practice of criminological research methods. It introduces students to a range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies as they apply in practice, and the strategies, techniques and dilemmas of real world research. The course will focus on methodologies most used in criminological research, including interviews, ethnography, and quantitative methods, with scope to introduce students to alternative and innovative methodologies. Throughout, the course will emphasise the key roles of theory in research and issues of politics, power, ethics and reflexivity that are fundamental to the research process. The course will require students to put their learning into practice through the conduct of an original criminological research project. This project work will be supervised by staff in the Criminology Subject Area.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Criminological Research Methods (LAWS11499)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have taken Criminological Research Methods (LAWS11499) or an equivalent postgraduate level course in research methods in the social sciences
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) There are two assessment pathways for this course.

1. Principal pathway:-
The expected pathway will be a Research Project presentation (70%) and 2000 word written report (30%).

2. Alternative assessment:-
Where students have been unable to complete a research project, for example where access has not been possible, they are able to submit instead a 5000 word Critical Reflective Methodological review (100%).
Feedback Students will receive feedback in their individual supervision meetings throughout their project development, and on their applications for ethical review. They will also have the opportunity to seek feedback and support in seminars. They will receive written feedback after both assessments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe and critically evaluate different approaches to research design, data generation and data analysis in practice
  2. Demonstrate the ability to design and conduct an original empirical research project
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of issues of power, politics and ethics as they relate to social research in practice
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of processes, procedures and principles of ethical review
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of reflexivity in the conduct of social research
Reading List
Most texts are available on SAGE Research Methods Online (available through DiscoverED) -

Indicative texts from this resource include:
Brinkmann, S and Kvale, S. (2018), Doing Interviews.
Coffey, A. and Atkinson, P. (1996), Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complimentary Research Strategies (and Social Thought).
De Vaus, D. A (2002): Surveys in social research.
Kvale, S (1999) InterViews: an introduction to qualitative research interviewing
Hammersley, M (1993): Social research: philosophy, politics and practice
Hesse-Biber, S.N (2014): Feminist research practice: a primer (second edition)
Hollway, W and Jefferson, T (2013): Doing Qualitative Research Differently
Holt, T.J. (2015), ¿Qualitative criminology in online spaces¿, in: H. Copes and J.M. Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Qualitative Criminology. London: Routledge: 173-188Mason, J (2019) Qualitative Researching
Robson, C and McCartan K (2016): Real World Research

Other indicative texts include:
Becker, HS (1964): ¿Against the code of ethics¿. American Sociological Review, 29 (3) 409-10
Best, A. L. (2003). Doing Race in the Context of Feminist Interviewing: Constructing Whiteness Through Talk. Qualitative Inquiry, 9(6), 895¿914
Diphoorn, T (2012): ¿The Emotionality of Participation: Various Modes of Participation in Ethnographic Fieldwork on Private Policing in Durban, South Africa¿. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 42(2) 201 ¿225
Guillemin, M. and Gillam, L. (2014), ¿Ethics, reflexivity and ¿ethically important moments¿ in research¿, Qualitative Inquiry, 10(2): 261-280.
Jewkes, Y (2012): ¿Autoethnography and emotion as intellectual resources: doing prison research differently¿. Qualitative Inquiry 18 (1) 63-75
Kvale, S (2006): ¿Dominance through interviews and dialogues¿ Qualitative Inquiry, 12 (3) 480-500
Kvale, S (1994): ¿Ten standard objections to qualitative research interviews¿. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 25 (2) pp147-173
Laube, S. (2021). Material Practices of Ethnographic Presence. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 50(1), 57¿76.
Lumsden, K and Winter, A (Eds) (2014): Reflexivity in Criminological Research Experiences with the powerful and powerless. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Sabati, S. (2019). Upholding ¿Colonial Unknowing¿ Through the IRB: Reframing Institutional Research Ethics. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(9¿10), 1056¿1064.
Van Maanen, J (1988): Tales of the field: on writing ethnography Chicago: University of Chicago Press

All of these texts are available online.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Research and Enquiry. A student who has completed this course will be able to:
1. Formulate appropriate, viable research questions to investigate complex questions.
2. Design a research project to interrogate criminological questions utilising appropriate and justified methodological approaches.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy. A student who has completed this course should be able to:
1. Work independently on the design and development of a research project.
2. Work reflexively on a piece of social research, adapting as necessary to feedback from supervisors, peers and/or research collaborators.
3. Evaluate different methodological approaches through practical experience and/or critical reflection.
4. Recognise the role of theory in social research.
5. Take ownership of their research with an ability to demonstrate its contribution to knowledge while also being cognisant of both its strengths and its weaknesses.
6. Work transparently and ethically in the context of social research.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Personal Effectiveness. A student who has completed this course should be able to:
1. Utilise existing literatures (theoretical, methodological, policy, legal) in the formulation of research questions and research project designs and critiques
2. Understand different approaches to data collection and data analysis.
3. Negotiate research access and/or research ethics arrangements.
4. Collaborate with academic supervisors and be responsive to their feedback.
5. Manage their own project milestones and deadlines to completion.
6. Consolidate and make sense of research findings and/or methodological reflections, drawing them into a coherent, reflexive and critical narrative.
7. Communicate clearly and succinctly about research design and ethics to different audiences: peers, practitioners and academic staff.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Communication. A student who has completed this course should be able to:
1. Communicate clearly formulated research problems, proposals and designs
2. Write an ethical review form that shows recognition of potential ethical issues posed by their work and awareness on handling such issues in accordance with ethical guidelines.
3. Communicate research ideas, problems and solutions with academic supervisors, peers and, if required, with practitioners.

KeywordsCriminology; criminal justice; methodology; research methods; research ethics; reflexivity
Course organiserDr Anna Souhami
Course secretaryMs Susanna Wickes
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