1st Edition

Engaging with Ethics in International Criminological Research

Edited By Michael Adorjan, Rose Ricciardelli Copyright 2016
    258 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Despite a voluminous literature detailing the procedures of research ethics boards and institutional ethical review processes, there are few texts that explore the realpolitik of conducting criminal research in practice. This book explores the unique lived experiences of scholars engaging with ethics during their criminological research, and focuses on the ethical dilemmas that researchers encounter both in the field and while writing up results for publication. Who benefits from criminological research? What are the roles and impacts of ethics review boards? How do methodological and theoretical decisions factor in to questions of ethical conduct and research ethics governance?

    This book is divided into four parts:

    • Part I, Institutional arrangements and positionality, explores the ongoing and expanding process of ethics protocol and procedures, principles of confidentiality, and the positionality of the researcher.
    • Part II, Trust and research with vulnerable populations, examines the complexity of work involving prisoners, indigenous peoples and victims of extreme violence, power dynamics between researchers and participants, and the challenges of informed consent.
    • Part III, Research on and with police, reflects on the importance of transparent relations with police, best practices, and the consequences of undertaking research in authoritarian contexts.
    • Part IV, Emerging areas, scrutinizes the ethics of carceral tours and suggests possible alternatives, and offers one of the first sociological and criminological examinations of dark net cryptomarkets.

    Drawing upon the experiences of international experts, this book aims to provoke further reflection on and discussion of ethics in practice. This book is ideal for students undertaking courses on research methods in criminology, as well as a key resource for criminology researchers around the world.

    1. Introduction (Michael Adorjan and Rose Ricciardelli)

    Part I: Institutional Arrangements & Positionality

    2. Ethics Creep: Governing Social Science Research in the Name of Ethics (Kevin Haggerty)

    3. The Ethical Imagination - Reflections on conducting research in Hong Kong (Michael Adorjan)

    4. Ethics, Politics and the Limits to Knowledge (Pat Carlen)

    Part II: Trust and Research with Vulnerable Populations

    5. A History of Coercive Practices: The Abuse of Consent in Research involving Prisoners and Prisons in the United States (Mark Israel)

    6. Indigenous Peoples, Research and Ethics (Maggie Walter)

    7. Ethics as Witnessing: ‘Science’, Research Ethics, and Victimization (Dale Spencer)

    Part III: Research on and with Police

    8. Navigating Research Relationships: Academia and Criminal Justice Agencies (Erin Gibbs Van Brunschot)

    9. Commanding Officer, faculty member, and student: Auto-ethnographic experiences of academic-police collaborative partnerships (Rose Ricciardelli, Laura Huey, Hayley Crichton, and Tracy Hardy)

    10. Criminologizing Everyday Life and Doing Policing Ethnography in China (Jianhua Xu)

    Part IV: Emerging Areas

    11. Carceral Tours and Missed Opportunities: Revisiting conceptual, ethical and pedagogical dilemmas (Justin Piché, Kevin Walby and Craig Minogue)

    12. Illuminating the Dark Net: Methods and Ethics in Cryptomarket Research (James Martin)

    13. Conclusion (Rose Ricciardelli and Michael Adorjan)


    Michael Adorjan is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary, Canada, and Fellow with the Centre for Criminology, University of Hong Kong, China.

    Rose Ricciardelli is Associate Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

    "Engaging with Ethics in International Criminological Research brings the ethical issues and challenges confronted by the criminological researcher to life. Rather than provide dry guidance on how to navigate institutional ethics review, it contains a wealth of insights – from international scholars at the forefront to contemporary criminology – into the ethical thinking and decision-making involved in all serious criminology. These contributions are full of interesting and thought-provoking discussion of profound moral issues. It will be of interest to anyone researching, studying, or teaching criminology."

    Gerry Johnstone, Professor of Law, University of Hull, UK


    "Drawing on scholars studying myriad international sites, Engaging with Ethics goes beyond other books that merely criticize the power structure providing a blockade for research, instead offering programmatic statements and examples of how to navigate through these barriers to produce empirically rich, theoretically driven, yet ethical research that honors both those we study and those who write about criminals and criminal justice settings."

    Patricia A. Adler, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado, and Peter Adler, Professor Emeritus, University of Denver, USA


    "Universities have defined ‘ethics up’. In doing so they have fundamentally reshaped, and are actively reshaping, how research is done. Nowhere is this more evident than in Criminology. Engaging with Ethics offers insightful reflections on this ‘ethical creep’ – its history and its implication across geographically dispersed research areas. It calls for an ‘ethical imagination’ grounded in the ‘lived experiences’ of active, experienced and sensitive researchers."

    Clifford Shearing, Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Australia


    "Adorjan and Ricciardelli and the contributors have assembled a valuable set of materials on a critical, yet understudied topic. They take the reader inside the dynamics of field research to explore areas not covered in traditional methods texts. A must-read for both experienced and novice field researchers."

    Curt Taylor Griffiths, Professor and Director of thePolice Studies Centre, Simon Fraser University, Canada