Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Methods of Criminological Research

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Criminology

DESCRIPTION Students will be exposed to qualitative and quantitative analysis and the dilemma of fear of methods and statistics in the social sciences. Students will acquire a theoretical and a practical approach to research methodology employing real-case data. Discussion on the data cycle will be delivered.

The study-unit is essential for the acquisition of knowledge of how to carry out a research process. It will include the following:

- Research Forms: Basic, Applied and Multipurpose;
- Why Research Is Necessary;
- How Research Is Done;
- Identifying the Research, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Reporting, Presentation;
- The Data-Cycle;
- DIKA - Data to Information to Knowledge to Action aspects of research;
- When research should be avoided;
- Setting the scene: Conceptualisation, Entitation, Quantification, Validity, Composition - Encoding-Decoding, Temporality, Causality;
- Going about research: Interpretation, Evaluation, Problems of Measurement, Control, Representation (sampling), Indictors;
- Qualitative approaches to research;
- Choosing across or between the methods;
- Thinking about interviews and access;
- Surveys and other tools: Distribution (eg. Frequency/%), categories, data Types, modus operandi;
- Data management: Data Models, Warehousing, Querying, outputs, macros;
- Applications: Simple to Hi-Tech tools: Spreadsheets to Databases to GIS (use of Excel, SPSS, Access and GIS);
- Case study approach: 42-84 case studies reviewed;
- Mind-mapping concepts, drafting and presentation;
- Ethical issues;
- Preparing a proposal.

Study-unit Aims:

- To introduce students to the process of conceptualising research and the process required to formulate a thought process leading to reliable results;
- To familiarise students with the qualitative and quantitative approaches;
- To give a hands-on overview of the preparation of a research process;
- To familiarise students with the mindmapping process;
- To empower students on the use of qualitative and statistical tools;
- To demonstrate the importance of ethical considerations;
- To establish the process of drafting a proposal.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding

Students will be able to acquire basic knowledge of the research methodologies available in the qualitative and quantitative domains. Throughout the study-unit, life cases will be discussed, which would allow the students to appraise the technicalities of the DIKA (data-information-knowledge-action) process and understand the requirements of statistical testing.

The study-unit will enable students to appreciate the realities of field research and reflect on the responsibilities inherent in reporting actual observations.

The study-unit will enable students to evaluate different tools and technologies as conduct exercises through mind-mapping and statistical analysis tools.

As the research process is a delicate enterprise, the study-unit seeks to allow students to evaluate the validity of ethical considerations.

Finally the student would be able to translate the knowledge gained into a structured research proposal.

2. Skills

Students will be able to compare and contrast between qualitative and quantitative tests, investigate scenarios through statistical tools and to create a real-world model on how the different variables inter-relate between each other to form a working process. This would allow the students to list the variables pertaining to the topic under study, examine the relationships and appraise the overarching relationship model. As a result students will be able to develop and depict a mindmap based on a specific theme of their choice.

The student will also value the importance of ethical considerations and their impacts on the researcher and the person/entity/topic under study.

The student will be able to carry out field research and observe reality as a skill leading to the identification of variables.

The student will be able to compare different concept-to-mind mapping processes available and to choose the best fit for the respective potential dissertation topic. Student will be able to implement the knowledge gained from the study unit within a structure that enables them to draft a methodology chapter.

Student will be able to discern their findings from on-the-ground research and relate those observations into a conceptual map.

Finally, the students will also be to explore ways in which to draft a research proposal.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Readings:

- Bachman R., & Schutt R.K., (2008), Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, SAGE Publications, Inc, ISBN: 9781412960526.
- Dantzker M.L. & Hunter R.D., (2006), Research Methods for Criminology and Criminal Justice: A Primer, Second Edition, USA, Butterworth Heinemann ISBN-13:9780763736156.
- Formosa S., Scicluna S., Azzopardi J., Formosa Pace J., Calafato T., (2011), The Research Road We Make: Statistics for the Uninitiated, NSO, Valletta, ISBN: 9789995729141.
- Jupp, V., Davies, P. and Francis, P. (2000). Doing criminological research. London: Sage Publications.
- Maxfield, M.G. and Babbie, E. (2012). Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology, (6th Ed), Basics of research methods for criminal justice and criminology. USA: Thomson Wadsworth, USA.

Supplementary Readings:

- Bryman, A. and Cramer, D., (1994). Quantitative Data Analysis for Social Scientists. London: Routledge.
- Dey, I., (2005), Qualitative data analysis: A user-friendly guide for social scientists. London: Routledge.
- Hagan, Frank E., (2006), Research methods in criminal justice and criminology, 7th ed., Allyn & Bacon.
- Harris, M. B. (1998). Basic statistics for behavioural science research. (2nd ed.). USA: Allyn and Bacon.
- Lengler R., Eppler M. (2007). Towards A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for Management. IASTED Proceedings of the Conference on Graphics and Visualization in Engineering (GVE 2007), Clearwater, Florida, USA.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Report SEM2 Yes 20%
Project SEM2 Yes 30%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Gianmarco Alberti (Co-ord.)
Luke Buhagiar

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.