Criminological Research for Beginners: A Student's Guide (Paperback) book cover

Criminological Research for Beginners

A Student's Guide

By Laura Caulfield, Jane Hill

© 2014 – Routledge

246 pages | 39 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415509619
pub: 2014-03-31
Hardback: 9780415509602
pub: 2014-03-31
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pub: 2014-04-03
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Criminological Research for Beginners is a comprehensive and engaging guide to research methods in Criminology. Written specifically for undergraduate students and novice researchers, this book has been designed as a practical guide to planning, conducting, and reporting research in the subject. By first inviting readers to consider the importance of criminological research, the book places related methodology firmly in the context of students’ broader study of Criminology, before moving on to provide a detailed guide to the practical processes of research.

It is common for Criminology undergraduates to feel intimidated at the prospect of conducting their own research, and these students typically struggle to see the relevance of research methods to their own studies. This book speaks directly to the needs of such students, and includes contemporary examples and case studies that bring a topic that is often thought of as dry to life, providing a thorough and accessible practical guide that students can return to at each stage of their research, all the way through to their dissertation.

This book covers:

  • an examination of the theoretical, political, and ethical debates in criminological research;
  • a complete guide to planning criminological research, assisting student researchers in identifying their research questions, choosing their research methods, and critiquing the available literature;
  • guidance on the practicalities and processes of collecting data,
  • a discussion of the process of analysing data and writing up research,

Including an extensive glossary and an integrated companion website with extra examples, exercises, and videos to further develop students’ understanding, this book is essential reading for any undergraduate on a Criminological Research Methods course, or for anyone in need of practical guidance on any or every of the various stages involved in conducting thorough and effective criminological research.


'Laura Caulfield and Jane Hill have grasped the thorny issue of how to inspire and enable first time criminology researchers. They have produced a common-sense, no-nonsense introductory text that removes the fear from embarking on criminological research without losing sight of the need for rigour. Rich in advice, guidance and real-life examples, this will be a welcome resource for novice researchers.' - Rob C. Mawby, Reader in Criminology, University of Leicester

'Accessibly written, coherently organised, and drawing upon examples from undergraduate dissertations to classic social science, this book does what its title promises - and much more. From the politics and ethics of criminological research, through to the reflexive framing and contextualisation of research questions, as well as extended explorations of the practicalities of "doing" such research via a variety of forms of generating qualitative and quantitative data, this text stands alone in its ambition - and its accomplishments.' Steve Tombs, Professor of Criminology, The Open University

Table of Contents

Part One: The Importance of Criminological Research, 1. Context: power, knowledge, and politics, 2. Significance: the importance of criminological research, 3. Ethics in criminological research, Part Two, Getting Going with Criminological Research, 4. Planning: Where do research ideas come from?, 5. Critiquing the literature: What do we know already?, 6. The relationship between theories and methods, 7. Preparing for the practical challenges of real-world crime research, Part Three, Doing Criminological Research: Data Collection, 8. Conducting interviews and focus groups, 9. Ethnography, case studies, and life-history approaches, 10. Questionnaires and surveys, 11. Using secondary data sources, Part Four, Doing Criminological Research: Analysis and writing-up, 12. Analysing the data: Quantitative analysis, 13. Analysing the data: Qualitative analysis, 14. Analysing the data: Documents, images, and other data, 15. Writing-up criminological research.

About the Authors

Laura Caulfield PhD is Head of Research and Consultancy in the School of Society, Enterprise and Environment at Bath Spa University. She conducts research and lectures in the areas of criminal justice, criminal psychology, and research methods. She is an expert in the evaluation of programmes for those involved in the criminal justice system and her work is currently focused on assessing the impact of the arts and other non-traditional programmes. In 2011 Laura was presented with a commendation award from the Howard League for Penal Reform for her research on the arts in prisons.

Jane Hill PhD has had a career in teaching Sociology and Criminology at under-graduate and post-graduate levels. She was Programme Director of BA Criminology at BCU when she retired in 2012. Jane has always had an interest in research methods and the philosophy of science. Her research has been in the areas of Child Protection, Community Justice and Restorative Justice.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology