1st Edition

Researching Crime and Justice Tales from the Field

By Louise Westmarland Copyright 2011
    208 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Willan

    208 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Willan

    This book provides an introduction to research and some of the methods in the field of crime and justice and related areas, including police, prisons and criminal justice policy making.

    Less a dry 'how to' book, it is concerned rather to provide a wide-ranging discussion that illustrates the kind of research that has been done in particular areas, the findings of previous studies, the pitfalls of ‘real life’ research (and some potential solutions) and the range of possible research methods and approaches – both qualitative and quantitative. It shows how appropriate methods are chosen for particular studies and explores the theoretical underpinnings of the studies, including how and why researchers use theory; the political and ethical issues; and the role of emotions such as fear and danger in researching the field of crime and criminal justice.

    Key features include:

    • First hand interviews with leading ‘hands on’ academics
    • Examples, excerpts and sources of original research
    • Analysis of the theories, methods and outcomes of previous research

    Throughout the book there is an emphasis on the often troublesome (and often ignored) relationship between the topic of study, desired outcomes and suitable methods, with a wide range of illustrative case studies. Here the approach is practical - pointing out the different approaches various studies have used and how their outcome is often determined by their choice of methods. The book also reflects on the philosophies of research and includes discussions about the way the choice of methods will be reflected in the findings and vice versa (which seems obvious but is often forgotten).

    Researching Crime and Justice: Tales from the Field will be an essential source of inspiration and ideas for criminology students and other researchers on crime and justice.

    Introduction  1. Problematising Criminological Research  2. Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods  3. Quantitative Methods  4. Qualitative Methods  5. Soft and Semi-structured Research  6. Ethics, Emotions, Politics and Danger  7. Analysing Evidence of Crime and Justice


    Louise Westmarland is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the Open University. She has written widely on police and policing, specifically on various aspects of police culture such as in her book Gender and Policing: Sex, Power and Police Culture (Willan 2001) – and on violence and police culture, ethics and integrity. Most recently she has co-authored Creating Citizen-Consumers: Changing Publics and Changing Public Services (Sage 2007).

    'Westmarland explores a broad range of methods of critical importance to both new and established criminological researchers. In examining how these have been applied in the context of real projects, the book brings to life the problems and potential challenges of doing criminological research. This is an engaging and thought-provoking text that will benefit all those conducting criminological enquiry, be they students, practitioners or seasoned researchers.'Michael Rowe, Reader in Criminology, Northumbria University

    'In a stimulating way Researching Crime and Justice takes the study of research methods that extra mile. By including the research experiences of 'hands on' criminologists, Louise Westmarland brings the research experience alive for the student in a way that, hopefully, will reduce the shock of how different it is in practice compared to how it is often portrayed in the text books.'David S. Wall, Durham University