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BASS Philosophy and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Making Sense of Criminological Data

Unit code CRIM20441
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

1. Government surveys
2. Crime data
3. Employment data
4. New forms of data
5. Research design
6. Data sets & variables
7. Concepts, operationalisation, measurement
8. Univariate analysis
9. Bivariate analysis
10. Inferential statistics
11. Statistical significance
12. Central tendency
13. Dispersion
14. Qualitative data
15. Qualitative data analysis
16. Qualitative data: anonymity, archives, security

Aims

- To introduce students to quantitative and qualitative sources of information on issues of relevance to criminology, social policy, and other social science disciplines

- To introduce students to the principles underlying statistical and qualitative analysis 

- To develop students' basic skills in producing, interpreting, writing up, and visualising the results of data analysis

- To equip students with basic skills using software for data analysis 

- To provide students with the skills necessary to critically evaluate both academic and media accounts of statistical and qualitative research 

- To develop students' autonomy and independence as learners whilst promoting collaborative practices needed to work as part of a team

Learning outcomes

- Identify the principal data sources for a number of key areas in criminology and other cognate areas of social policy

- Demonstrate a critical awareness of key data quality issues and how they are linked to research design decisions

- Produce, read, and interpret quantitative information in the form of tables and graphs

- Understand the basic tenets and concepts of exploratory data analysis (e.g. measures of central tendency and spread, various types of charts), as well as principles of good data visualisation

- understand the different levels at which social and personal characteristics (variables) are measures and how resulting data are distributed

- Become aware of the range of existing qualitative data and basic approaches to their analysis

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 20/21 will reflect both University policy and local and national lockdown restrictions operating at the time of delivery. We will offer face-to-face teaching where possible and provide a like for like on-line experience for those unable to be on campus. 

Our teaching models will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide (1) media, activities and other learning material that should be engaged with before scheduled teaching; (2) a timetabled 2-hour online lecture/workshop slot used for a range of online Q&A and follow-up activities; (3) a timetabled weekly 1-hour seminar/activity slot that will be face-to-face if possible and ‘live’ online if not/preferred; (4) weekly opportunity for 1:1 support. In total, there will be the opportunity for up to 30 hours of contact time.

Knowledge and understanding

- Identify the principal data sources for a number of key areas in criminology and other cognate areas of social policy
- Demonstrate a critical awareness of key data quality issues

Intellectual skills

- Develop a critical understanding of social statistics, in academic writing, the news, and official reports.

Practical skills

- Read and interpret quantitative information in the form of tables and graphs
- Understand some of the basic principles underlying statistical analysis including: samples and populations, distributions, statistical significance, hypothesis testing
- Understand the different levels at which social characteristics (variables) area measured and how resulting data are distributed
- Become aware of the range of existing qualitative data and basic approaches to their analysis
- Be in a position to consider conducting secondary data analysis for their third year UG dissertations (after taking Modelling Criminological data in their 2nd term).

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written assignment (inc essay) 80%

Homework assignments (weighted 20%)

Project based essay (weighted 80%)

Feedback methods

FEEDBACK
Each week, two pieces of homework will be assigned for students to work on in their own time. This homework will be handed in and assessed. Total scores for all homework submitted over the course will make up 20% of the mark for the course unit. Weekly (compulsory) homework sessions allow students to get formative feedback on homework after having handed it in, helping them to determine how well they have understood the material. The homework session is designed for students to be able to review their weekly homework exercises with a tutor.

Recommended reading

Blastland, Michael. and Andrew W. Dilnot. The tiger that isn't: seeing through a world of numbers. Profile books, 2008. 

E. Babbie, The Practice of Social Research, (Most recent edition)

D. Dorling and S. Simpson, Statistics in Society. (London: Arnold, 1999)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Reka Solymosi Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
Restricted to: BA (Criminology) students for which this subject is compulsory, also available to students across the Faculty of Humanities depending on the availability of places. Students in the criminology pathways of BASS will be given priority. 

Pre-requisites: We assume in our teaching that students have previously taken a course on research methods covering basic principles of data collection and research design. Although the course focuses on criminological data the techniques and ideas covered here can be used in other social science contexts. No criminological knowledge is required for taking this course unit. 

Timetable
See Law School timetable

 

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