module specification

SC5001 - Measuring and Interpreting Crime (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Measuring and Interpreting Crime
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
 
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 45%   Quantitative analysis report
In-Course Test 10%   Multiple choice class test
Coursework 45%   Qualitative analysis report
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon
Year North Monday Morning

Module summary

A comprehensive grasp of research methodologies and the ability successfully to undertake primary research are key employability skills in social science/services careers such as working in government departments, the police, the voluntary sector and the private sector. This module aims to develop students’ competence in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, critically assessing the ways in which these are utilised and presented and how they can contribute to our understanding of crime. The module first examines quantitative methods, which are predominantly employed by organisations with interests in investigating crime and making evidence-based decisions. The module then goes on to explore qualitative methods, which are deployed as a way of understanding criminals and the phenomenon of crime in more flexible ways than those permitted by the collation of crime statistics. The utility and justification of both research methodologies is critically considered and students have the opportunity to developing a variety of practical research skills, from questionnaire design and SPSS analysis to observation and interview techniques.

A basic understanding of research methodologies and the way that they are used in professional settings is an essential skill for graduates who intend to pursue a career in an area related to criminology, whether as a researcher or a practitioner. This module therefore aims to develop students’ knowledge of research methods and ability to apply them in practice to enhance their future employment opportunities.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  1. Develop an informed grasp of the strengths and limitations of survey research including identification and consideration of the ethical issues which may arise
  2. Develop students’ competence in designing and conducting primary quantitative research in relation to data collection, analysis and report-writing
  3. Develop an informed grasp of the strengths and limitations of qualitative research including identification and consideration of the ethical issues which may arise
  4. Develop students’ competence in designing and conducting primary qualitative research in relation to data collection, analysis and report-writing
  5. Examine the ways in which quantitative and qualitative data are created and used in professional settings such as the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police, voluntary sector organisations related to the Criminal Justice System and private sector organisations such as MORI and Gallup and so to enable students to work towards a career in the field of Criminology.

Syllabus

The syllabus takes students through the research process in relation to both quantitative and qualitative methodologies from the formulation of a research problem through appropriate collection and analysis of data to the writing-up of results in a clear and useful way.  The module sets out and discusses the research contexts in which quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies are appropriate and the skills and limitations associated with these different methodologies such as questionnaire design, content analysis and interview and observation techniques.  The syllabus also includes sessions in which professional practitioners introduce their organisations, talk about how they use research, and provide examples of career opportunities their organisations offer.  Group seminar sessions enable students critically to reflect upon their personal development plan in relation to the practice of social research.

Learning and teaching

Each teaching session runs through three hours comprising a lecture or presentation by guest speaker, seminar and/or workshop. Tutorial support is offered throughout the module by way of tutor availability during office hours, seminar discussions and email. Seminar tutors act as facilitators and consultants responding to students’ research ideas and research problems. During the workshops students are encouraged to generate discussions through which they can invite and receive advice and support from their peers and tutors.  Sessions are also organised to facilitate students’ reflection upon the contributions of guest speakers and connect their work on the module to consideration of their career aspirations. Blackboard will be used to provide information and teaching/learning materials to support the learning process. The module requires approximately 7 hours per week of independent reading, research and writing.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Construct a report which attends to the strengths and limitations of quantitative research
  2. Construct a report which attends to the strengths and limitations of qualitative research
  3. Demonstrate the ability to manage their own learning and to initiate projects by specifying research problems and drawing up research plans
  4. Apply methodological knowledge in practice through the processes of quantitative data analysis
  5. Apply methodological knowledge in practice through the processes of qualitative analysis
  6. Draw on appropriate academic and online resources relating to current research
  7. Demonstrate that they are basically equipped for employment in fields related to Criminology which require literacy in research methods and the interpretation of data for policy making and performance monitoring.

Assessment strategy

Quantitative analysis report
Multiple choice class test
Qualitative analysis report

Bibliography

Bachman, R. & Schutt, R. (2017). The Practice of Research in Criminology & Criminal Justice. London: Sage
Bell, J. (2010). Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education and social science (fifth edition). England: Open University Press
Bryman, A. (2015) Social Research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Coleman, C. & Moynihan, J. (1996). Understanding crime data : haunted by the dark figure. Buckingham: Open University Press
Field, A. (2013) Discovering Statistics using SPSS. London: Sage
Jupp, V. Davies, P. & Francis, P. (2011). Doing Criminological Research. Sage: London.
Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction. London: SAGE Publications
Silverman, D. (2013). Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook. Sage: London.