Methods of criminological research
Introduction A major theme of Chapter 1 has been that criminology progresses both by the development of coherent and comprehensive theories about crime and its causes and also by the systematic collection and analysis of observations about the social world in relation to such theories. Such observations are usually referred to as ‘data’. A wide variety of data are used to contribute to the criminological enterprise, data which are the products of the range of methods of research we shall consider in subsequent sections of this chapter. Typically, they are generated by forms of data collection (for example, structured interviews) and examined by forms of data analysis (for example, correlation analysis), both of which are housed within some broad research design or strategy (for example, social survey design). The variety of data are, in part, a reflection of the diversity of problems addressed and the plethora of aspects of such problems which are exposed for investigation by different theoretical approaches. Any given instance of criminological research represents a particular constellation between problem, theory and method and the data which are used are outcomes of that constellation.