Research methods in the field of crime and justice

Research methods in the field of crime and justice


at Our Dynamic Earth

Holyrood Road



6 October 2009

(13.00hrs to 18.00hrs including a networking wine reception)


This joint SRA-BCS event, in collaboration with the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) and the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)  will explore current ‘hot’ methodological topics in the field of research including data protection, managing large high profile projects and effective dissemination through presentations in the area of crime and justice by three keynote speakers.

The community policing project: Knowledge transfer. Alistair Henry (SIPR and University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Simon Mackenzie (SCCJR and University of Glasgow)

This presentation will outline work currently being carried out with Lothian and Borders police on community policing.  This project gives police officers the opportunity to learn from the academics (about what works’ evidence, theoretical conceptualisations of community policing, and methodological approaches to documenting practice) and the academics the chance to learn about the actual organisational and individual experiences of community policing (its practicalities, challenges and impediments) from those who are charged with delivering it.  Alistair and Simon will discuss three methods currently in use in the project – the diary:diary -interview method, virtual shadowing, and systematic self-observation. These methods are designed to mitigate some of the common problems of more widely-used approaches to data-gathering, such as hawthorne effect, sampling problems, and latent bias on the part of both researcher and respondent in identifying ‘what is important’ about a situation.


Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction: A longitudinal survey. Ashley Ames (Ipsos MORI)

Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (commissioned by the Ministry of Justice) is an ongoing longitudinal study and is the largest survey of prisoners undertaken in Britain with a target sample of 4,000 prisoners across England and Wales (2005-2009). The broad aim of SPCR is to explore how interventions might work in combination to address the range of prisoners’ needs. More specifically, SPCR aims to assess prisoners’ problems and needs on reception, how these are addressed during and after custody and the combined effect of any interventions on offending and other outcomes.  In total, an overall sample of 3,877 prisoners were interviewed at four stages. Such a large and complex study obviously has its challenges. Ashley will outline some of these methodological challenges including data privacy, the complexities of managing such a large project and the challenges surrounding dissemination.

Girls and Violence Dr. Susan Batchelor (SCCJR and University of Glasgow)

Susan will draw on her experience of two projects around the theme of girls and violence. “Discussing Violence – Let’s Hear it from the Girls” was an exploratory Scottish study of teenage girls’ views and experiences of violence and employed a range of methods including self-report questionnaires, small group discussions and in-depth life history interviews. “Prove me the Bam!” reviewed the evidence regarding young women’s involvement in violent crime and included in-depth oral-history interviews with young women in detention in Scotland. Both of these projects involved disseminating qualitative research to a general audience (including the media). Susan will also explore how the biography of the researcher impacts on interpretation/analysis of the data, linking this with validity/reliability in qualitative research.

Cost and booking

The cost to attend this event is £55 for members of SRA or BSC and £65 for non-members. To book your place please complete the booking form and return to address below. For further information please either email or telephone Lindsay.


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