Posts Tagged ‘validity’
Opportunities for students to link crime, deviance and research methods in a practical way are often limited by the constraints of time and space – but one simple approach that can be used effectively in the classroom is a self-report crime questionnaire. Although there are a few of these kicking around (from Ann Campbell’s onward…) this is a relatively recent one I’ve put together based on questions contained in the UK Crime and Justice Survey.
It can be downloaded as a Word document so that you can amend it easily (you may not want to include all the 40+ questions and you may want to substitute some of your own…).
The document suggests some possible classroom uses for the questionnaire – from data and methodological analysis if you’re leaning toward research methods to using the data to think critically about official crime statistics based on categories like age and gender.
One of the simple pleasures of Wandering the Web™ for a living, made all the more enjoyable by that intangible sense of the unexpected (I know, I live my life through contradictions), is coming across Stuff That Is Free.
My not-so-little face lights up at the mere thought of finding Something For Nothing, even though that “Something” invariably ends up stored somewhere on a half-forgotten hard drive, waiting for that magic moment when “it might be useful to someone, sometime”.
This behaviour, which I’m calling “Simple Squirrelling Syndrome” – because I can – has a yet deeper dimension (I’m toying with the idea of “Simple Squirrelling Syndrome Squared”, but it may need some work). Some years after the initial find-and-save I get to spend further pleasurable hours sifting through multiple hard drives “looking for that study I know I saved somewhere, under a name that made perfect sense at the time but which is now largely meaningless”, during which I rediscover all kinds of things I’d forgotten I had. My pleasure is quite obviously redoubled. Probably. I’m not altogether certain I’ve quite mastered mathematical analogies.
Anyway, be that as it may, the actual point of this rambling preambling is that I came across this sample chapter on Research Methods from Holt and Lewis’ “A2 Psychology: The Student’s Textbook” and thought of you.
On the downside it looks like a chapter from the 2009 edition, but on the upside you have to ask yourself when was the last time a textbook said anything startlingly-new about the Hypothetico-Deductive Model? Or “the Research Process”? Sampling? Probability and significance? My case rests.
The chapter also has a very pretty, colourful, layout, which in my book counts for quite a lot.
- Talk the Walk
At this point students need to get to grips with learning the basics of research methods. How you organise this is up to you, but one way is to get students to take ownership of their learning:
• Brief overview of the method
• Primary / secondary data
• Quantitative / qualitative source / data
Keeping abreast of the various statistical sources and data on crime can be both time-consuming and somewhat confusing for teachers and students – both in terms of the volume of data and the reliability and validity of different data sources.
For these reasons the Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin is a brilliant resource for a-level sociologists in terms of both crime statistics and the research methodologies underpinning their production (so it’s good for information covering both Crime and Deviance and Crime and Methods in Context).
Reliability and validity are two important methodological concepts in both Psychology and Sociology because they address the problems involved in “doing research” – and while this film is aimed at A-level and AP psychology students (who are required to cover the issues in much greater depth), it should also be useful for sociology teachers who want to firm-up their students’ understanding of these concepts.
This short film looks at the key aspects of these important methodological concepts – from simple definitions, through an understanding of different types to examples of how they can be applied to different types of exam question – in terms of key:
- definitions: reliability (internal and external),validity (internal and external)
- examples: different types of validity, Bandura, Rosenhan
- applications: where and how to apply these concepts in exam answers.
A request from an American University to use this video in an online course prompted me to remember its existence on my YouTube Channel.
It’s a short video that looks at the “dark figure” of crime – crimes that are committed in our society but which never appear in the official recorded crime statistics. As such the video looks at methodological questions (reliability and validity, for example) surrounding our use of official crime statistics.
This is a low-res version of the film that’s just one of the many (around 2 hours worth – plus extensive audio, text and powerpoint resources) that can be accessed when you subscribe to the Crime and Deviance Channel.
The Bailey Report (Letting Children Be Children, 2014) highlights a range of issues (and moral concerns bordering on panics) around families, children, childhood and the media that form the basis for interesting discussions around both contemporary family life and wider social developments.
The research methodology – particularly the use of online parental surveys – is also a fruitful area for more general discussions about the reliability and validity of particular research methods.
The Independent has a short report that raises some broad questions about family, children and media (including the perennial “influence of sex and violence” on child development).
Alternatively, you can download the full report (that includes a handy summary).