Research method

You are required to submit TWO 2000 word essay:

ONE 2000 word research proposal (+/­10%) and ONE 2000 word small scale study (+/­10%, You must also complete the ethics component

(A) Research Proposals ­ 2000 words in total

2,000 words in total, a large part of this will be found in the literature review, design and methods,

and ethics sections. Individual proposals will vary in the emphasis given to particular parts of the

proposal ­ methodology and ethics, for example. Word totals are thus expressed as a guideline about

how to apportion your efforts. The headings below provide a structure for how you will present your

proposal. Work that is totally literature based will have more written under ‘previous work’. You may

wish to have more emphasis on theory and how this has shaped what has been written in your

chosen area. Instead of ‘design and methods’ you could detail how you are going to do the full

search for the thesis i.e. key words, bibliographic databases, journals, any specialist libraries and so


Title – brief, self­explanatory. Can be in the form of a question to be answered.

Table of content – containing an updated list of various headings that structure your work. You can

type table of contents entries and use tabs to get the dotted lines, or dot leaders, between each entry

and its page number. For a faster way to create a table of contents, see Create a table of contents


Summary – highlights key references; the interest/importance and relevance of the chosen topic to

your wider field of study; methodology of your proposed study (150 words maximum)

Aims – clear and succinct. Each aim should be no more than a sentence. Stick to one or two aims

only. The aim(s) reframe the title/overall purpose of the research.

Objectives – clear and succinct. Each objective should be no more than a sentence. You can have a

number of objectives which will help you fulfil your aim(s).

Why is this research worth doing? – establish the importance/timeliness/relevance of your proposed

research area (150 words maximum).

Previous work (initial literature review) – starts either with seminal studies which perhaps brought the

issue to the public attention or with a broad sweep about the breadth of work in the field and what is

already well established, funnelling down to your specific topic area, and relevance of your research.

You might expect to have started your initial review by identifying at least 10 relevant studies –

maybe many more (depending on the field you have chosen) at this stage. If there appears to be no

literature on your topic, either you have not searched thoroughly enough or you have not made the

connections to relevant literature, by defining your topic too narrowly. Literature reviews will vary in

the emphasis they give to theory in the chosen area (350 words maximum) 

Design and methods – If you are doing primary data collection ­ clearly specify what type of research

design you propose and the specific method(s) of data collection. If you are doing literature­based

research specify clearly how you will go about your search. If you are analysing other forms of

secondary data, highlight this and explain how you will analyse this data (450 words maximum).

Ethics – You must fully explore the Assessment Information section on Moodle – and address all 12

points raised under Ethical consideration – Part 2 (200 words). Complete Ethical consideration – Part

2 form and send this attached to your proposal as an Appendix. This is a PASS/FAIL component of

this assessment so it must be completed.

Note: This Ethics component is meant as an exercise and as such it does NOT constitute the formal

application for ethical opinion needed for your dissertation project at Level 6. You will need to seek

further guidance from your dissertation supervisor, when allocated at Level 6, to find out more about

the formal application.

Timetable ­ specify month and year(s) and hours/days available for the research. (Half a side of A4

maximum – diagrams are fine)

Resources with costs – some research may cost very little apart from your time. But remember

postage and phone calls as well as travel. You may need to travel to use a specialist library and buy

books and so on. (Half a side A4 is enough – a table itemising any resources needed) The

Applicant – brief CV (half a side A4 maximum). Treat this as a CV in support of you conducting the

proposed research: note qualifications and relevant work experience. (just leave it blank which I can

just put myself)

Reference list – should include all references and sources used to support your work. This must be

done using the recommended APA 6th Edition style.

(B) Research Study ­ 2000 words in total


Write a report based on the analysis of crime, justice or security statistics on a topic that interests you

(or may form the basis of your future dissertation). See sites linked to the Moodle unit site (Home

Office, National Statistics, Ministry of Justice or Police). You can also source statistics from within

your organisation.


Conduct a content analysis of newspaper reports on a topic that interests you (or may form the basis

of your future dissertation).

Structure the presentation of your study using the sub­headings provided below. The questions and

comments within each sub­heading are there to remind you of the things you need to cover in each


Title: “An analysis of statistics on XXXXXX”

Locate tables of statistics from one of the government sites such as: Home Office, National Statistics,

Ministry of Justice or Police. OR From within your organisation.

(1) Crime, Justice, Risk and Security Statistics

a) Introduction

­ Introduce the issue of using crime, justice, risk and security statistics in research and the academic

debates about this.

­ Is the data ‘official’ or organisational (i.e. collected on processes and practices within the system,

convictions, numbers in prison) or is it a ‘self­report’ survey data (like the British Crime Survey, now

known as the Crime Survey for England and Wales)?

b) Data source

­ Explain the source and coverage of the statistics presented for the purposes of the assignment and

by whom they were collected.

­ Make clear whether your data is international, national or local.

­ Is the data based on a sample? If so, what kind of sample?

c) Data presentation

­ Present the statistics in their original form (as an appendix to the report if complex).

­ Choose ways of clarifying/ simplifying the statistics and present the data using graphs.

d) Data explanation and discussion

­ Summarise and explain what the analysis of statistics appears to show about your chosen topic.

e) Evaluation and conclusions

­ Evaluate the use of the analysis of the statistics you have chosen as a way of researching the topic.

­ Outline any problems in the nature of the data collected.

­ Are there any ambiguities in the data?

­ How does the data represent the scale or nature of the issue shown in the statistics?

­ What can you conclude from your analysis?

References Remember to use supporting references from academic texts on crime statistics and

secondary data in research: especially in sections a, b and e.

(2) Content analysis of newspaper reporting Chose any issue to do with crime, risk, security or fraud (e.g. the way a specific case is reported, a

particular issue such as drugs or crime statistics in general) and analyse the way newspapers present

the issue.

You can locate a wide range of newspapers in Nexis UK on the library website

The following is a guide to how you might begin to go about the process of doing content analysis.

Look also at the section on content analysis on the unit site and follow up on how research using

content analysis has been written up.

The sample: date or time period, names of newspapers (think about the different slants taken;

audiences targeted), key words used in the search and so on. Number of articles identified. When

analysing the content of articles these are some questions to consider: Title: What was the title given

to the article? What did this suggest? Do the titles from different newspapers give the same/different

messages? Location and coverage: Where in the newspaper was this article located? (E.g. headlinefront

page or buried somewhere in the middle of the paper) How many column inches are devoted to

the news item in each paper? How does this compare to other newspapers? You will need to adapt

this part of your analysis if you use newspaper websites and databases – they indicate length of

article but don’t always have an illustration or indicate location in the newspaper.

Content: Are factual details the same in each paper? Are the same or different quotes used? Is an

illustration used? Is the illustration the same / different / not used in some accounts? Would you

come to the same or different conclusions about what happened/ what the issue is after reading

these two accounts? What themes can you identify? Note the use of language and so on. Notice too

how the issue or problem is ‘constructed’ by the media, consider whether this is problematic,

supported by reliable ‘evidence’ and so on. Analysis: Create themes or categories from your data.

Alternatively you could create a few questions that will guide your analysis. Think about how you

present some of your analysis in summary forms – graphs, tables, diagrams. Don’t just count up

categories and describe the content. Go a stage further and identify themes that are debated as

crime, justice and security issues. Also make sure you look at the advice given about conducting

content analysis in the unit text, section on the unit site, as well as the reading list for the unit.

Write a report on your research using the following format:

Title: “Content Analysis of XXXXXX”

a) Introduction

­ What is content analysis?

­ Make clear whether your analysis is primarily quantitative or qualitative in nature; or, whether you

are interested in both types of data in your analysis.

b) Data collection

­ Explain why and how the topic/case was selected.

­ State the timescale of the search (if relevant) as part of your explanation about the nature of the

sample ­ why particular newspapers were used – popular and quality; political slant and so on.

­ Outline how the data was collated and analysed (ie how you used content analysis).

c) Data presentation

­ Present a summary of the content analysis.

­ Decide the extent to which any quantification of the data is important in the type of content

analysis you have chosen to do.

­ This can be done by using graphs, tables or diagrams.

d) Data explanation and discussion

­ Summarise and explain what the content analysis appears to show on your chosen topic.

e) Evaluation and conclusions

­ Evaluate the use of content analysis as a way of researching the topic.

­ What did you find out about newspaper reporting on the topic you chose?

­ Is this ‘construction’ of the issue (or topic) problematic in any way?


Remember to use supporting references from academic texts on crime statistics and secondary data in

research: especially in sections a, b and e.

Must include reference list is below

Doing criminological research ­ Davies, Pamela, Francis, Peter, Jupp, Victor, 2011

Data collection and analysis ­ Sapsford, Roger, Jupp, Victor, 2006

Methods of criminological research ­ Jupp, Victor, 1989

Real world research: a resource for users of social research methods in applied settings ­

Colin Robson, Kieran McCartan, 2016

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology ­ Maguire, Mike, Morgan, Rodney, Reiner, Robert,


Doing your research project: a guide for first­time researchers in education, health and

social science ­ Bell, Judith, ebrary, Inc, 2010

Researching criminology ­ Crow, Iain, Semmens, Natasha, ebrary, Inc, c2008

The good research guide: for small­scale social research projects ­ Denscombe, Martyn,

ebrary, Inc, 2010

A gentle guide to research methods ­ Rugg, Gordon, Petre, Marian, ebrary, Inc, 2007

The researcher’s toolkit: the complete guide to practitioner research ­ Wilkinson, David,

ebrary, Inc, 2000

21st century criminology: a reference handbook ­ Miller, J. Mitchell, Credo Reference (Firm)

, c2009

Criminal visions: media representations of crime and justice ­ Mason, Paul, ebrary, Inc, 2003

Criminological research: understanding qualitative methods ­ Noaks, Lesley, Wincup,

Emma, ebrary, Inc, 2004

Danger in the field: risk and ethics in social research ­ Linkogle, Stephanie, Lee­Treweek,

Geraldine, ebrary, Inc, 2000


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