Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Researching Youth Crime and Justice

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Youth and Community Studies

DESCRIPTION Youth justice, crime, deviance and present manifold challenges to the researcher, from accessibility to the field, the limitations and pitfalls of official data, research ethics to crucial decisions on methodology and data collection and analytical methods. This study-unit shall offer learners the opportunity to engage with these and other pivotal issues critically, with the scope of equipping them with the requisite tools and know-how to undertake research in the field. Learners will be exposed inter alia to applications of quantitative, qualitative and triangulated inquiry in youth justice research and the dynamics of the research process in such studies. The crucial nexus between research and evidenced-based policy and service development will also be discussed and examined. In an attempt to contextualise the course content within the growing corpus of empirical studies by Maltese academics in the sector, learners will be presented with the opportunity to examine and appraise the main thrust of this work, and how leading Maltese researchers in the area have grappled with and managed the central issues at stake. Study-unit participants will be expected to present a seminar paper outlining a research proposal on a topic of their choice related to the PoS by the end of the study-unit.

Study-unit Aims:

This Study-unit is aimed at;
(a) building course participants' knowledge on different youth justice research modalities and the central issues at stake in undertaking empirical inquiries in the field;
(b) equipping learners with the requisite tools to undertake post-graduate research in the sector;
(c) helping course participants recognise the importance of evidence-based and evaluation driven policy and service development and how research is pivotal to their practice within the sector for the betterment of the social inclusion prospects of minors and/or young people undergoing criminal proceedings or at risk of doing so;
(d) grounding the course content within the context of local academic research in the field;
(e) offering learners a hands-on class environment where crucial research issues are debated and critically reflected upon; and,
(f) assisting learners to develop a watertight post-graduate youth justice research proposal.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(a) identify, elaborate and critically reflect upon the main research modalities, data collection and analysis methods and key issues in youth justice research;
(b) recognise and advocate for the importance of scientific research and evaluation for practice, policy and service development in the area;
(c) understand the importance of effective linkage between a research study's research agenda, conceptual and methodological framework, methods and findings;
(d) understand and advocate for the importance of 'practitioner research' and what leading youth researchers refer to as the 'magic triangle' between practice, research and policy, and,
(e) develop a research proposal on a topic that is related to the programme of studies.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(a) engage, analyse and reflect upon the subject matter critically;
(b) understand, theorise; elaborate upon the course content and undertake the requisite academic abstraction;
(c) transfer course content to current practices in the field and advocate for the importance of evidence-based practice in the sector;
(d) formulate and implement a study on a topic related to the programme of studies; and,
(e) auto-evaluate and appraise related personal professional practice in the light of the course content and its emphasis on 'practitioner research'.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

Bachman, R.D., & R.K. Schutt. (2016). The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice. London: Sage.
Bradford, S., & F. Cullen (2012). Research and Research Methods for Youth Practitioners. London: Routledge.

Supplementary Readings:

Choi, J., G. Bazemore, & M. Gilbert. (2012). Review of research on victims' experiences in restorative justice: Implications for youth justice. Children and Youth Services Review, Vol.34(1),35-42.
Feldstein Ewing, S. (2011). Exploring racial/ethnic differences in substance use: A preliminary theory-based investigation with juvenile justice-involved youth. BMC Pediatrics, Vol:11, 71.
Goldson, B. (2010). Comparative youth justice research and the policy process. Criminology & Criminal Justice, Vol:10 (2), 117 -118.
Mcintosh, B. (2008). Integrating Victims in Restorative Youth Justice. Researching Criminal Justice Series. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 2008 Feb, Vol.8(1),109-111.
Mirra, N., D.Filipiak & A. Garcia. (2015). Revolutionizing inquiry in urban English classrooms: pursuing voice and justice through Youth Participatory Action Research. English Journal, Vol.105(2), 49-58.
Radnor, H. (2001). Researching Your Professional Practice. Buckingham: OUP.
Wilson, D. (2006). Some Reflections on Researching with Young Black People and the Youth Justice System. Youth Justice, Vol:6 (3):181 -193.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Seminar Paper SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Albert Bell
Janice Formosa Pace
Saviour Formosa

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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.