BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Criminological Research Methods

Unit code CRIM10072
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


Social research plays an important part in our understanding of the social world, and in everyday policy debates.  It is vital, therefore, that students have a critical knowledge of the various methods social researchers use to collect data and make sense of the world.  This module will provide students with an appreciation of the purpose and practice of social research with a focus upon the research methods most often used to study crime and criminal justice. 

Indicative content: (1) Introduction to the course; (2) Quantitative methodologies (3) Quantitative research design; (4) Quantitative research sampling and quality; (5) Ethics in research and key issues in qualitative research; (6) Qualitative interviewing; (7) Ethnography; (8) Visual and alternative research approaches; (9) Mixed methods research; (10) Course review & assignment support.


no pre-requisites.


This course unit aims to (1) introduce students to the purpose, principles and practice of research in criminology; (2) furnish students with an appreciation of the diversity and scope of the methods used; (3) give students a critical appreciation of the strengths and limitations of various research methods; (4) provide students with the skills necessary to carry out research; 5) To develop students autonomy and independence as learners.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to: (1) understand the intellectual roots of empirical enquiry; (2) appreciate key distinctions and traditions in social research; (3) understand the stages of the research process and apply them to criminological research; (4) identify the range of methods and research designs used in criminology; 5) demonstrate a critical awareness of the key features of, advantages and limitations of different approaches and key studies; 6) be in a position to undertake primary research in the future; 7) be in a position to think independently and work collaboratively with confidence.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 21/22 will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) a subject hour used for a range of exercises and activities; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) a tutorial; (4) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Employability skills

(i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.

Assessment methods

This unit is summatively assessed by a 2500-word essay worth 100% of the overall mark.

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) developing essay plans. Summative feedback will be given on the submitted essay via Blackboard (Grademark).

Recommended reading

Davies, P. & Francis, P. (2018) Doing Criminological Research (Third Edition).  London: Sage.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 13
Independent study hours
Independent study 40

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Aisling McLaughlin Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of 35-40 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands 12-13 hours of study per week consisting of (i) timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) preparation, required and further reading.

Restricted to: BA (Criminology) and LLB (Law with Criminology) students for which this subject is compulsory. Open to BA (Econ) all pathways.

This course is available to incoming study abroad students university wide.

No pre-requisites

See Law School Timetable

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