Qualitative Methods in Criminology

Qualitative Methods in Criminology


There are various methods of studying crime employed bid theoristsin efforts to understand criminal behavior and solve complexsituation surrounding criminal activities. The crime professionalare mostly interested in understanding the relationship that existbetween the impulsivity and the criminal behavior. Criminologistsuse various quantitative methods as a way of triangulating theirresults (Lipsey &amp Wilson, 2000). The results of the findings helpthem to settle at the best explanations of criminal behavior.Quantitative methods provide a primary way f inquiry and it assistsin studying the distribution and the factors leading to committing acrime. The quantitative methods assist social scientist and othersecurity professional in making inferences from the variables underinstigation. This paper will look at the various quantitativemethods used by criminologists and security experts in understandingcriminal behavior.

There are several of quantitative methods that researchers use employin studying crime, and they indicate them in their research designs.They answer crucial questions including who committed a crime, thetype of crime that they perpetrated and the location of the incident.They also find out the method of facilitating the crime and thereason for the deviant behavior (Lipsey &amp Wilson, 2000).

Survey research is the first quantitative method. It is the mostfrequently use method for mode observation in social science withcriminology included. Survey research involves the set of informationfrom an identified sample. The data collected emanates from theresponses they give by answering the different question indicated inthe various research tools. Criminologists conduct the study viae-mails, telephone, online platforms or by conducting personalinterviews (Maxfield &amp Babbie, 2014).

Survey research consists of a set of open-ended questions thatrequire respondents to answer a set of questions. The open-endedquestion tries as much as possible to restrict one answer questionbecause such answers offer narrow responses even in inquiring atwould require a significant level of digressing. Also, they mayinclude a few close-ended questions to restrict the answerers fromdiverting from the objective of the research. A room for a shortexplanation accompanies the questions (Maxfield &amp Babbie, 2014).For example, a question may require a respondent to identify the mostserious problem facing a community and the researchers can giveseveral options. The following question may ask for a briefexplanation for the previously given answer. At the end of the givenlist, the researchers allow a room for any other answer that therespondent may find relevant (Kraska &amp Neuman, 2011).

Survey research has become a favorite among criminologists for theirversatility and efficiency. Researchers can customize the questionsto suit the levels of knowledge of different populations. They arecheap to administer, and it is easy to make generalizations from theresults derived from the surveys. However, they may have a limitationdue to sampling difficulties. Criminologists should ensure thequestion in the research tools is as objective as possible for thesurveys to measure the intended variables.

Quasi-experiment research is also an important qualitative methodused by criminologists. It has the capacity of assessing the causeand effects of a criminal activity. Quasi-experiments have threeimperative components. They should have two groups for comparisonpurposes consisting of the experimental and the control sample. Theyalso have a variation in the independent variable before the onset ofthe assessment in the groups under comparison (Maxfield &amp Babbie,2014).

An efficient quasi-method employs a pre-test and d a post-test. Thepre-test assesses the dependent variable before the onset of theexperimental intervention. The post-test measures the independentvariable after the experimental group has undergone investigation.The practice of randomization renders the comparison sample in aquasi-experiment effective in the identification of the effect oftreatment on the comparison group (Maxfield &amp Babbie, 2014).Effect of the process administered. Randomization in a quasi-researcheliminates any biased advances towards the samples and consequentlysupports the validity of the generalize information. Thequasi-research occurs in two major types. The non-equivalent controlgroup designs have both experimental and comparison samplesdesignated before treatment. In this approach, the researcher doesnot engage the random selection of the participants. It also has preand post designs with pre and post tests that lack a comparison group(Kraska &amp Neuman, 2011).

Criminologists also use the longitudinal research as a quantitativemethod in studying behaviors. The two common longitudinal approachesinclude the cohort and the panel studies. They both conduct theirstudy in the same group over a given period. They normally study thevariations that occur between and within the individuals in thegroup. The panel study trails the changes in a sample over aparticular period whole the cohort study involves assessing thechanges in a more specific sample referred to as the cohort (Kraska &ampNeuman, 2011). A prime example is a procedure used by the NationalCrime Victimization Survey that randomly selects a given number ofparticipants from the across the United state. The participant takesplace in interviews conducted six times over a period of sevenmonths. A cohort study follows a specific group of participants toidentify any comparable changes within the sample.

Lastly, criminologist employs time-series-designs by typicallyinvolving a set of multiple observations in a group over a givenperiod or at designated successive points. Time-series studies asingle variable at given successive periods. They are very practicalin assessing the impacts of a new program introduced in a community.It helps to show significant changes before and after the rolling outof the initiative in the community.

Although time-series quantitative research exhibit a reliableinformation in studying trends over a particular time, criminologistsshould consider the inappropriateness of the method of controllingall the potential effects. They should take into consideration boththe empirical and non-empirical information.

Conclusively, quantitative research methods play an important role incriminology showing relationships between the variables under study.Researchers can use a single method or a combination to come up withviable solutions to problems. Surveys are easy to administer, andcriminologists can customize them for different populations dependingon their level of knowledge. Cross sectionals studies involve havingan experimental and control group to point out any variation inbehavior of the subject group regarding the control group.Quasi-research has efficient checks for biases through its randomselection of participants. It helps in getting answers to the causesand effects of criminal behavior. Finally time-series quantitativemethod spots observable changes over a given period or at successiveintervals. The four of them are instrumental in criminology andsecurity situations that require empirical procedures to derive validexplanations


Kraska, P., &ampNeuman, W. L. (2011). Criminal justice and criminology researchmethods. New York N.Y.: Prentice Hall.

Lipsey, M. W., &ampWilson, D. (2000). Practical meta-analysis (applied social researchmethods). New York N.Y.: Sprionger.

Maxfield, M., &ampBabbie, E. (2014). Research methods for criminal justice andcriminology. New York N.Y.: Cengage Learning.