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Understanding Criminological Research

Understanding Criminological Research
A Guide to Data Analysis

May 2013 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Criminological research lies at the heart of criminological theory, influences social policy development, as well as informs criminal justice practice. The ability to collect, analyze and present empirical data is a core skill every student of criminology must learn. Written as an engaging step-by-step guide and illustrated by detailed case studies, this book guides the reader in how to analyze criminological data.

Key Features:

  • Guidance on how to identify a research topic and question, design a research study, account for the role of the researcher within the research process, as well as write up and present research findings

  • A thorough account of the development of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies within the emergence of criminology as an academic discipline; including experimental research design, survey research, qualitative approaches and mixed methods
  • Detailed coverage of different forms of qualitative and quantitative data analysis used by criminologists and other social scientists; including grounded theory, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, as well as descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Relevant and up-to-date case studies, drawn from internationally published criminological research sources, to illustrate how to conduct different types of data analysis
  • Clear and accessible chapter content supported by helpful introductions, concise summaries, self-study questions and suggestions for further reading


An Autobiographical Introduction
Getting Started: Focusing on Deskwork
Qualitative and Quantitative Fieldwork Strategies
Grounded Theory Analysis
Narrative Analysis
Discourse Analysis
Univariate Analysis
Bivariate Analysis
Deskwork Revisited: Writing a Project Report

'Clearly written and tightly focused on the nuts and bolts of managing the research process, Chamberlain's book will become an invaluable guide for students at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate study - and is very likely to grace the bookshelves of many staff members, too'
Martin O'Brien
Reader, School of Education and Social Science, University of Central Lancashire

'John Martyn Chamberlain has written an excellent introductory text that will be useful to lecturers, undergraduates, postgraduates and practitioners involved in understanding and conducting criminological research. Rooted in his own biographical connection to and aspirations for criminology as well as reflective practice Chamberlain engages the reader in a journey from identifying research topics and questions through strategies for conducting and analysing to writing up. This book is a 'must buy' for the broadest possible readership'
Professor Maggie O'Neill
Durham University

'An accessible and engaging introduction to undertaking criminological research using quantitative and qualitative methods, this book will both support and reassure students facing the sometimes daunting task of doing their own research project'
Karenza Moore
Lecturer in Criminology, Lancaster University

'Provides a thorough, clear and precise step-by-step guide for 'doing the business' of criminological research. Carefully balanced between qualitative and quantitative approaches, amply supported by examples and exercises, this book is an invaluable resource for students of criminology at all levels'
Professor Majid Yar
University of Hull


Amongst the multitude of books being published about research, this book centres on developing the ability to collect, analyse and present empirical data. This is a core skill for students and this book provides a guide through the process in a way that is both interesting and insightful. [...] So the book is useful to the academic who is selecting recommended reading for their research modules. But beyond this, the book ultimately sets the student a challenge to understand the world for themselves, in a structured, thoughtful and analytical way that takes them away from ordinary, common sense assumptions and opinions, into the realm of research and analysis.

Helen Jones
HEA Discipline Lead for Sociology and Criminology

It is a good book and I recommend it to final year students. Includes a detailed explanation of certain types and methods of data analysis which is useful for students opting for these kinds of analysis on their dissertation.

Miss Cristiana Viana Cardoso
Division of Criminology, Birmingham City University
July 24, 2018

The most comprehensive account of the criminological research journey for both undergraduate and post graduate inquiry. Written through an autobiographical narrative, Chamberlain offers experience, contextualized insight and first-hand experience of both field work and desk work.

Miss Gillian Dickinson
UCBC, Blackburn College
June 23, 2016

This book underpins student research in criminology and supports their studies using statistical data. Great for undergraduate dissertation students

Mr Ashley Tiffen
Institute of Policing and Criminal Justice Studies, University of Cumbria
August 14, 2014

Excellent for student projects. I will be recommending it as non-core for my second year research methods course and will be drawing on it for some of the more practical sessions. I have recommended it to my colleague as a core text for his third year research projects course.

Dr Sajid Humayun
Law Department, Greenwich University
December 16, 2013

Rather too advanced for this cohort of students. Written in an accessible style and covering stat's effectively the methodology covered was not suited to this course.
I may consider using it with my Masters group in 2014-15.

Mr James Bonworth
School of Forensic & Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire
November 28, 2013

An excellent text that offers practical tips not only to students that are new to conducting primary research but also to their supervisors...

Mr Stuart Agnew
Social Science , University Campus Suffolk Ltd
July 14, 2013

This book locates methods clearly within the field of Criminology, making apparent the links that students often struggle with.

Jamie Harding
Social Sciences, Northumbria University
June 29, 2013

A very useful guide to methods for Criminology students at all levels

Dr Donna Peacock
Faculty of Education and Society, Sunderland University
February 26, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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