Research Methods in Criminology - SO870

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) DR SR Cottee







This module provides grounding in the theories, logics and methods that underpin criminological research. As such, students will learn about the principles involved in designing, carrying out and interpreting research. The module focuses on the relationship between empirical data (what is observed/measured in the ‘real world’) and the development of theory (academic thought). Students are encouraged to learn how to ask appropriate criminological questions and to design studies which draw on the most appropriate methods to answer them. These methods include both primary empirical work (quantitative and qualitative) and secondary work (e.g. dataset analysis, literature analysis). The module thus is also concerned with how data can be interpreted and analysed. Beyond equipping students with intellectual and practical skills in the field of criminological research, the module fosters a capacity to critically evaluate research in general.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

The module will be composed of 12 lecture hours and 12 seminar hours.



Method of assessment


Students' work over the module will be assessed by means of written coursework, which consists of a 5,000 word essay.

Preliminary reading

Recommended Reading:

Jupp, V., Davies, P. and Francis, P. (2011), Doing Criminological Research (2e),
London: Sage.

Noaks, L., and Wincup, E. (2004), Criminological Research: Understanding
Qualitative Methods, London: Sage.

May, T. (2003), Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process (3e), Buckingham:
Open University Press.

Young, J. (2011), The Criminological Imagination, London: Polity Press.

Supplemental Reading:

Jupp, V., Davies, P. and Francis, P. (2000), Doing Criminological Research,
London: Sage.

King, R. and Wincup, E. (eds.) (2008), Doing Research on Crime and Justice 2nd Ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kumar, R. (2005), Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners,
London: Sage.

Jupp, V. (1989), Methods of Criminological Research, London: Allen and Unwin.

Becker, H. (1986), Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your
Thesis, Book, or Article, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hart, C. (1998), Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science
Research Imagination, London, Sage Publications.

Wright Mills, C. (1959), The Sociological Imagination, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Punch, K. (2005), Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative
Approaches, London: Sage.

Lewis-Beck, M., Bryman, A., and Liao, T. F. (2004), The Sage encyclopaedia of social science research methods, London: Sage.

Bryman, A. (2004), Social Research Methods, Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Web Resources:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module successful students will:

• Be familiar with the logic and concepts necessary to understand and conduct research in the field of criminology and criminal justice.

• Be able to present a topic as a potential research project and justify the methods chosen to carry out that research

• Relate research methods to various criminological and social scientific theories.

• Be able to operationalize theoretical concepts as variables for analysis;

• Be able to write a research proposal

• Be able to discuss research as a social activity within the wider contexts of the society in which it takes place.

• Identify how research findings may disadvantage or misrepresent various groups in society.

Key Skills:
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to show:

• Demonstrate skills commensurate with postgraduate study in presentation and debate, both verbal and written, and in utilization of research and empirical data

• Be able to synthesise complex theoretical items of knowledge from different schools and disciplines of enquiry

• Be able to gather library and web-based resources appropriate for postgraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and use the available evidence to construct a developed argument to be presented orally or in writing

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