Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Research Methods

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Criminology

DESCRIPTION This unit addresses advanced concepts of social science research and how these can be applied within a social and criminal justice context. The unit, based on the investigation of qualitative and quantitative research methodology, will assist students to develop an understanding of the requisites of empirical studies, the diverse methodologies that may be utilised to conduct social science research, and the different phases of the research process.

This unit will also focus on special issues such as: ethical considerations, sources of error and the importance of research studies to inform policy. Qualitative and quantitative research tools will be discussed at length. Students will also be introduced to spatial and non-spatial data analysis.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this unit are to actively engage students in current methodological debates and reflect on the use of particular research methods.

The Topics which will be delivered cover:
- Methods and methodology
- Designing a literature review
- Ethical and moral dilemmas
- Principles of research
- Consent and ethics
- Research design
- Narrative/biographical research
- Case studies
- Action research/Participant Action research
- Grounded theory research
- Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
- Data Cycle: collection to analysis
- Tools: Surveys, interviews, questionnaires, sampling
- Tools: Digital Aids
- Statistics
- Writing a dissertation

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Critically examine the various social science research designs;
- Identify research areas in social science;
- Conduct research using quantitative and qualitative research tools;
- Provide an overall assessment of the rigor of research papers;
- Carry out research under minimal supervision;
- Comprehend statistical methodology;
- Explain the utility of spatial analysis in the study of phenomena;
- Evaluate various social science research designs;
- Identify sampling or case selection strategies;
- Evaluate major types of quantitative research methods;
- Evaluate major types of qualitative research methods;
- Evaluate measurement choices and the implications of these choices;
- Interpret and explain elementary measures of association;
- Assess the rigor of research papers;
- Identify the Research process and the inherent field process.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Use tools that aid analysis;
- Construct empirical research questions;
- Conceptualise the research process using visual tools;
- Carry out statistical analysis using SPSS and other tools.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Bachman R., & Schutt R.K. (2008). Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN: 9781412960526.
- Berman, Evan M. (2007) Essential Statistics for Public Managers and Policy Analysts. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
- Bloomberg, L.D. and Volpe, M. (2008), Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation. UK: Sage.
- Bryman, A. and Cramer, D. (1994). Quantitative Data Analysis for Social Scientists. London: RoutledgeDantzker.
- M.L. & Hunter R.D. (2006). Research Methods for Criminology and Criminal Justice: A Primer, Second Edition, USA, Butterworth Heinemann. ISBN-13:9780763736156, ISBN-10: 0763736155.
- Esterberg, Kristen G. (2002) Qualitative Methods in Social Research. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
- Formosa S., Scicluna S., Azzopardi J., Formosa Pace J., Calafato T. (2011). The Research Road We Make: Statistics for the Uninitiated, NSO, Valletta.
- 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.
- Jupp, V., Davies, P. and Francis, P. (2000). Doing criminological research. London: Sage Publications.
- Kraska, Peter B. and W. Lawrence Neuman. (2007) Criminal Justice & Criminology Research Methods. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon.
- Silverman, D. and Marvasti, A. (2008) Doing Qualitative Research. UK: Sage.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Practical SEM1 No 40%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Gianmarco Alberti
Albert Bell
Luke Buhagiar
Trevor Calafato
Miriam Farrugia
Gordon Sammut (Co-ord.)
Sandra Scicluna
Mary Grace Vella

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 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.