Criminology and methodology


What is a method?


The method is a planned process of testing and research of a phenomenon or the path to achieve a goal on the philosophical, scientific, political or practical area.



Research methods of criminology

What is a scientific method?


Scientific method is a set of various processes which science uses in scientific research to investigate and present results of scientific research in a particular area or scientific discipline. Scientific method is a path of research that shapes and builds the science. Scientific method is also the every manner of scientific research that provides a safe, sorted, systematic and accurate knowledge.


Criminology methods


Most commonly used methods in criminology are: a study of individual cases (case study), a clinical method of studying personalities of delinquents (clinical study), a statistical analysis of crime as a mass phenomenon (statistical analysis), and an experimental study of delinquents (experiment).




Research methods of criminology are:


1. historical method,


2. comparative method,


3. psychological method,


4. statistical method,


5. prognostic method,


6. case study,


7. prophylactic method and


8. an experiment.


Characteristics of scientific methods i.e. methods must be:


1. objective or impartial


2. systematic or sorted


3. precise or exact


4. general and


5. reliable.


Scientific methods features


Historical method is a descriptive method. This method describes a certain research object or phenomenon in its historical dimension or time sequence.



Comparative method compares two or more phenomenons (research objects) with a final goal to find certain connections or dissimilarities between them. Comparing two objects we can find out, does the connection between them really exists as well as what are natures of their similarities or dissimilarities. We should also consider  that many phenomenons may look like to be connected in some way, but  the connection between them doesn't really exist i.e. there is no clear connection between crime and intelligence. Being intelligent certainly helps to the development of professional criminal career, but just alone it isn't sufficient.


Psychological method consists of itself  of various behavior observations, attempts of behavior modifications and attempts to predict future behaviors of delinquents. Psychology in some way is a hocus-pocus science, because it isn't easy to modify or predict human behavior or to know for certain what fully caused it.


Statistical method. Mark Twain once said: "Statistics is only accurate in inaccuracies." Crime can be statistically analyzed using various attributes: conceptual (name of the analyzed phenomenon), temporal (one year, six months, one month) and territorial (town, country, region or globally).


Clinical method is used in psychology. Psychology mostly researches normal behaviors, but specialized field in psychology known as clinical psychology researches abnormal behaviors, while psychiatry researches mental health disorders i.e. dangerous behaviors. Clinical method is formed as an interview. Clinical psychologist asks the questions, and a patient (person) gives the answers. During  the interview, the psychologist takes notes. Whole interview takes about 30 minutes. Psychologists then take those notes and set diagnosis and prognosis about health condition and possible behavioral developments.


Case study is one of the best detail analysis ever introduced into science. However, case studies are detail, but expensive. Some of the best results and scientific contributions in understanding  the juvenile delinquency are achieved trough  a case study. Case study can analyze one case or can analyze 30 or more similar cases by comparing them together. Many valuable results are gained trough case studies.



Criminological methods of research



Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Applied Social Research Methods)


Quantitative methods in criminology are the methods for study of distribution and possible causes of crime. Quantitative methods of research in criminology are:

1. survey research,

2. field research,

3. evaluation research and

4. other quantitative research methods.



Quantitative research methods are used in gathering of reliable and valid data. Data is then used by criminologists in formulation of causal statements about research variables. Quantitative methodological approach is described in a handbook "The Handbook of Quantitative Criminology. Statistics in criminal research is an indicator and starting point for an explanation of crime.


Criminal statistics sources are:

1. police statistics about crimes, criminals and presumptive criminals,

2. state attorney's statistics about accused and convicted persons,

3. the Court statistics about convicted persons and about (private) lawsuits

4. victimization studies,

5. self-report and anonymous report studies.


Criminal statistics is used for the development of:

1. prevention programs,

2. repression programs (crime combating, war on crime)

Criminal statistics can also be used for creation of effective policing, selection of human resources in the police organization, assessment of security and safety in some geographical area and for finding of connections in criminal phenomenology.


Many colleges offer the criminology study. Information's about benefits of criminology degree can be given by a college counselor. Criminology study information's can be obtained trough seminars. Criminology has little to do with forensic sciences, although certain college programs in the area of police sciences have incorporated theoretical criminology and forensic sciences into an interdisciplinary university program.

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