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Unveiling Social Realities

Section 1: A mini essay

Qualitative Research

Crossman (2019) defines qualitative research as a type of social science that collects and works with non-numerical data and that seeks to interpret meaning from these data that help understand social life through the study of targeted populations or places. It is a research approach that focuses on obtaining data through open minded and conversational communication. Statistics Solution (2019) further highlights that Qualitative research seeks to tell the story of a particular group’s experiences in their own words, and is therefore focused on narrative data as opposed to quantitative researches numerical data. The design of the research approach allows a researcher to be able to isolate and research any one particular social issue within a community or in a group of people and connecting it to any potential related factors. Given the significant aspect of the society as a key player in criminology, sociology and issues of social policy, Qualitative research approach presents a particularly effective tool for the research of any issues with relation to this policies within the contemporary society.

However a wide range of other factors concerning Qualitative research approach that may be significant and advantageous to a researcher, especially in the social scene and thus warrant its adoption are highlighted. Bhat (2019) points out that the qualitative research approach is not only focused on “what” people think for instance regarding their society and what happens in it, but it also goes in deeper to evaluate “why” they think whatever is happening is happening, as such it can be used significantly by a researcher to get to the root cause of various aspects of the society in relation to social policies including criminality and the reasons behind it.

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Statistic Solutions (2019) point out that the logic of qualitative research (the inductive approach) can be challenging for researchers more accustomed to quantitative research which significantly employs a deductive approach. However this approach points out another reason why a researcher might prefer qualitative research approach. According to DeFranzo (2011) Unlike quantitative researches deductive approach, in which researchers state specific hypotheses and then collect data to empirically test them, most qualitative research employs an inductive approach in which the researcher first collects data and then attempts to derive explanations from the data collected through its analysis in the backdrop of various highlighted themes and patterns presented within the findings. As such, qualitative research tends to be more exploratory in nature, seeking to provide insight into how individuals or organizations, groups and other population understand aspects of their own worlds.

Crossman (2019) further accentuates that within the discipline and aspect of sociology, qualitative research is typically focused on the micro-level of social interactions that composes everyday life thereby allowing the researcher to investigate and relate peoples’ attributes to their behavior, actions, and interactions with one another. Whereas quantitative research typically focuses on macro-level trends and phenomena which are based on generalities making qualitative research a more suitable approach in the criminology, sociology and social policy fields.

Quantitative research is undoubtedly also useful in the sociology discipline and fields and Crossman (2019) highlights among its functions to include measuring specific variables such as social status, poverty and racial hate as well as identifying the relationships between these variables. This gives a more general idea of how different variable impact one another and the society in its entirety. However Bhat (2019) clarifies that qualitative research is responsible for illuminating why this connection exists by investigating the cause of the variables existence in the first place through going to the source which is the respective group in study. Qualitative research approach in this way is therefore designed to reveal the meaning that informs the action or outcomes that are typically measured by quantitative research (McLeod, 2019). Qualitative researchers investigate meanings, interpretations, symbols, and the processes and relations of social life making it a more reliable tool in criminology, sociology and social policy research.

Atieno (2009) points out that among the major benefits of qualitative research approach is its flexibility in the approach of collecting and analysis of data. Some of the methods used in data collection within this approach include Interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, observation and use of secondary sources such as case study research, and record keeping. Atieno (2009) points out that given the flexibility of the approach, parameters of the study can be easily changed or shifted to control or enhance the researches outcome. For instance if useful insights are not being captured, researchers can quickly adapt questions, change the setting and/or any other variable to improve the rate and quality of responses and the subsequent data collected which further impacts the eventual outcomes and minimize margins of error which are a significant part and limitation of quantitative research approach. This makes qualitative approach a more reliable method in that respect.

Qualitative data capture in addition, allows researchers to be far more speculative about what areas they choose to investigate and how to do so. Rahman (2016) writes that, It allows data capture to be prompted by a researcher’s instinctive or ‘gut feel’ for where good information will be found. This allows it the flexibility of being either general or more targeted to a specific aspect of the society and as such enabling its manipulation with regards to available resources for research in cost and time for the researcher. Rahman (2016) further highlights that the research framework as well as operating structures are fluid and highly dependent on the incoming or available data enabling a conclusive research process within the available data rather than eventual inconclusive research due to limited data collection mechanisms or limited data as would be in quantitative approach studies. Despite being quite a significant research approach in the sociology discipline and having been adopted by various sociologist ever since the development of the disciplines, qualitative research approach carries with it potential limitations for which a researcher must be aware of and take into account prior to its use within any study. Some of these are highlighted to include:

The quality of the data gathered in qualitative research is highly subjective especially to who is responding, their views and personal opinions. Atieno (2009) especially points out that the sample size can present a big issue and further raise questions to even the credibility and reliability of the data collected. For example sampling 5-10 employees in an organization of 200 individuals raises a question on whether the sample will provide a true reflection of the views of the remaining 95% of the organization. In addition,Vittana (2019) highlights that the data might also be subjective to the researcher emphasizing especially, that data one researcher might feel is important and necessary to gather can be data that another researcher feels is pointless and won’t spend time pursuing. While appreciation of having individualized perspectives and opinions including instinctual decision making capabilities in the research might significantly impact the collection of detailed and wide scoped data for analysis, Vittana (2019) points that it can equally lead to data that is generalized and even inaccurate due to it is over reliance on a researchers’ subjectivism.

Rahman (2016) in addition highlights that researcher influence can easily have a negative effect on the data collected. The quality of the data that is collected through qualitative research is highly dependent on the skills and observations of the researcher. As such if a researcher has a biased point of view, then their perspective will be included with the data collected and influence the outcome. Qualitative research studied must as such have controls in place to help eliminate the potential of biasness including their reviewing with integrity.

Given the open ended nature of the data collection strategies and mechanisms used in qualitative research approach. The eventual data collected might be significant and present a limitation in terms of time needed to mine the data for effective outcomes and references. And because of the subjective nature of the data that is collected in qualitative research, findings are not always accepted by the scientific community (Vittana, 2019).

One of the hallmarks of scientific research and factual determination include the possibility of replicating results so as to impact its credibility however replication of results in a qualitative study can be quite difficult highlighting another of its limitations. Vittani (2019) points out that this is not only due to variability of researcher bias for which to account within the data, but also the informational bias that is built into the data itself from the provider and in the process of biased data collection by the researcher. Further researchers must have industry related expertise of the area they are researching into. Otieno (2009) highlights that for qualitative research to be accurate, the interviewer involved must have specific skills, experiences, and expertise in the subject matter being studied, this his include being familiar with the material being evaluated and having the knowledge to interpret responses that are received. If any piece of this skill set is missing, the quality of the data being gathered can be open to interpretation.

A majority of the limitations are however highly circumstantial and can have measures put in place to limit and minimize their potential influence in the eventual outcome. This guarantees a positive outcome and effectiveness of the qualitative research mechanism.

Section 2: Data analysis task

What are people’s experiences of crime and fear of crime?

While crime is a significantly real and quite spread out across the entire globe with approximately almost every individual having an idea of what it is, different people have different experiences with crime in different degrees which significantly impact their fear or reaction to it. Based on the response from the four interviewees, the most immediate conclusion that one must make include identifying that the location in which they live is crime rampant. While two of the four respondents have actually experiences crime on a firsthand level the other two agree to having heard on the news and various sources increased levels of burglaries’ and other crimes and even witnessed break ins in other people’s homes within the locality ever since they moved in. This analysis will evaluate the general experience of crime by the people of the locality as well as evaluate the impact of increased crime in their livelihood impacting fear.

Experience of Crime

The general experience by the population based on all the four respondents is that the area has experienced a significant increase in rates of crime in the recent past. For instance all the respondents agree that petty small crimes like vandalism and burglaries are rampant and increase especially during the summer leading to increased reports and instances of crime. In addition in addition to two of the respondents having experienced crime in a first hand with Irene’s car being stolen twice within a span of months and Mike having been stolen from as well, the other respondents are witnesses to instances of burglaries in their neighborhood making it quite widespread that at least every individual within the area has at least experienced a crime at some point. David says

‘But there is a lot of er, things happen on this estate that er, you know, last few years it's got really worse…’

Referring to increased cases of vandalism and burglary within the last few years and outlining the area as crime prone. While up to half of the population can be assumed to have experienced crime or criminal incidences first hand based on the responses, all the respondents have witnessed crime and criminal activities first hand either vandalism or burglary and many other crimes. This includes kids who may be significantly impacted by such incidences.

Reasons for increased crime

Based on the responses the increased rates of crime and the high level of contact and experience of crime and criminal activities within the area can be attributed to the level of policing that is dispensed within the location. All the respondents highlight a somewhat luxed response by the local police or neighborhood watch. This comes in form of either a slow response or a lack of assistance to victims who call in such incidences after they occur. David points out how he witnessed neighbors’ being stolen from and had to eventually threaten children to keep off from throwing stones at his windows despite the existence of a neighborhood watch who should in fact be liable to such issues. Mike highlights in response to whether he called the police after the burglary, he says

‘I 'phoned t'landlord first. Then the police. I 'phoned t'landlord, explained what had happened. How I'd found everything er he said he'd come straight out. Er and then I 'phoned t'police. They took quite a while to come really.’

This speaks of the emergency response services and indicates a possibility of that as a reason for the increased crime within the area.

While one respondent Liz highlights having not experienced crime on a first hand she acknowledged knowing about their existence due to the frequent reports on newspapers and television with regards to crimes such as mugging, vandalism and burglary. She however highlights that these crimes occur as a result of people’s carelessness and putting themselves in danger. The findings report an increase in criminal activity in the area. However most of these include mugging of old people walking alone at night and not locking up their doors despite the knowledge that they could be stolen from, as such she is least impacted by the increase in crime within the area.

Impact of increased crime

The other respondents however are not in agreement and their positions highlight the impact of increased crime and peoples experience of it including increased fear and caution. Three out of the four respondents highlight that as a result of the experiences they had with crime and criminal activities and witnessing such, they have developed increased awareness of situation some to the extent of fear. Mike responds that

‘Well, I've been burgled before er, before that, it never bothered me at all. Now, totally different. Bit paranoid really. There's not much else to say. It's sort of... tend to hear a lot of noises that aren't actually there really.’

Irene on the other hand highlights that after the incident

‘I mean I'd got no security light. I'd got a little light on the back, which I put on meself. But I made damn sure then that everything were really secured. I mean the first year or so, all these windows in the living room were all screwed down. Screwed through the middle.’

And when asked whether she slept better and soundly after wards she also talks of the edginess and paranoia described by Mike highlighting one of the impacts of the increased experience of criminality and criminal activity to include trauma which manifests in fear, paranoia and often being uncomfortable and edgy around others.

Mental health of the residents of the area can as such be concluded as one of the most impacted by the crime and its increased rates. While a the respondents highlight increased awareness and as such uneasiness and caution including, locking doors, walking in pairs and taking up their own defenses against criminal activities, they seem to have gotten used to the idea of crime and learnt to live with it all around them. They are inherently aware of its presence and know its impact yet seem oblivious of it indicating its entrenchment within their day to day life and activities. Liz points out that

‘Actually em, it's not had any impact on me at all because em, I've never come across it as such. Er, I've heard of people saying there's been vandalism and this, that and the other. But as regards to real crime, I've never come across it on here at all.’

This is however without realizing that her caution and look out for crime and criminals has increased impacting her to close her doors at night and only go to the bank with her husband around and never alone.

Conclusion

In general the data highlights a general increase of crime rate and incidences of crime significantly to a level where almost every individual within the area is susceptible and vulnerable to crime either being a victim or a witness. While the crimes experienced are significantly small ones ranging from mugging, vandalism and burglary their rates have significantly increased in the recent years especially during seasons such as summer and upon mostly careless individuals who don’t invest much in their own security. This has impacted fear all across the area with different people becoming increasingly cautious and paranoid with regards to their environment and their security.

Section 3: Outline of Research Proposal

An evaluation of the implications of crime in London UK: an evaluation of the causes and consequences of Crime in London

Background of the Study

Crime is a common social problem that is experienced possibly by all societies around the globe. given the existence of social problems such as hunger and poverty brought about by the class society, people lacking resources often have to device unconventional ways of getting resources they need to survive and this significantly impact the development and existence of crime. Canter and Youngs (2016) define crime as behavior in which individuals obtain resources from others via force, fraud, or stealth. They further highlight that much of society’s resources are devoted to dealing with, or preparing for the possibility of, crime. But while a great fortune is being used to fight crime all across the world with development of weapons and task forces to combat criminal activities, what exactly is understood with regards to the nature of the criminals and their victims. Can we point out a specific cause as the existence of criminal activity in even the most civil and advanced economies and societies?

The University of Glasgow (2018) describe two theories proposed to explain the causes of crime to include biological and sociological theories however in the basic level of the witnesses and victims what are the alluded to causes of crime. This research looks to evaluate the various criminal activities that are experienced by the population of London, UK and evaluate the possible causes of why people engage in the criminal activities. The study will further look into the consequences that the criminal activities have had to the population in terms of livelihood and emotional stability.

Problem Statement

According to Clark (2019) In 2018/19 the crime rate in London was 95.99 crimes committed per thousand people. Since 2015/16 the crime rate in the United Kingdom capital has increased in every reporting year, with the steepest increase occurring between 2016/17 and 2017/18. Police.uk (2019) points out theft, violence and sexual offences, anti social behavior, shoplifting, bicycle theft and burglary to be among the most popular crimes within London with up more than 250 cases reported for each every year. Boyle (2019) highlights an increase in the crimes committed in UK by 2.2% in 2019 with over 910,000 crimes reported across London between February 2018-2019, While Westminster had the highest crime count in London, with 71,034 reported crimes the general Crime Rate (per 1000 population) went up from 99 to 102 compared to this time last year this stats include 41,000 knife crimes were reported across the UK in year ending March 2018 this highlights a significant high rate of crime in London and impacts the motivation for evaluating the root causes of these crimes as well as their consequences within the society and population of London UK.

Research Aims and Objectives

Official police reports highlight a progressive increase of criminal activities in the UK over the years since 2015 with the steepest increase occurring between 2016 and 2017, various measures have of course been taken to manage the impact of these activities and maintain relative law and order however what are the cause of these criminal activities and their continued increase over the years. The study aims to evaluate these various crimes and highlight their causes as well as their consequences to the society and the population of London. To be able to impact a consequent research process however the aim was broken down into specific objectives including:

Objectives of study

To evaluate the common criminal Activities and their causes within London UK

To determine the major consequences of criminal activities to the population in UK

To determine the implications of crime and the various consequences it has had on the population of UK

Research Questions

What are some of the most common criminal activities in London and what causes them??

What are the major consequences that criminal activities have had on the population of London, UK?

What are the implications and consequences of crime in the UK?

Rationale of the Study

The crime rate is significantly increasing year after year in the UK as highlighted by Boyle (2019) and Clark (2019). London police (2019) confirms an increase in property as well as violent crimes constantly all through the last five years impacting a less safe society. However while studies and action has been taken to minimize crime and further enhance law and order the rate and level of crime continues to increase over time significantly impacting the society. The very existence of crime impacts a problem in the society which is then multiplied by the crime impacting an additional problem. Through this study the root causes of these criminal activities as well as their progressive increase can be highlighted and tackled to enable not only the minimization of the crime rate but also solve the problems that lead to their existence in the first place thereby impacting a single solution for two social problems.

Literature Review

The literature review consists of the analysis of the existing literature with regards to the topic of study and various aspects and factors that relate to it. in this study, the review will include an evaluation of different areas with regards to Crime and its impact in the UK. Beginning with the history of crime in London UK, the review includes

Evaluation of the most common crimes in the past decade both in stealth and numbers

Evaluation of the most common reasons and factors why individuals indulge in crime and criminal activities

Evaluation of the policies and frameworks in place within UK and especially in London that enhance the management of crime and policing

Evaluation of the impact and consequences that crime and criminal activities in the UK have had on the population

This review will be designed to highlight some of the themes and patterns that impact crime and criminality in the UK and further used in conjunction with the findings of the primary study to describe inferences for answering the study questions and objectives.

Research Methodology

Research Techniques

The research will apply a qualitative research technique that endeavors to collect information regarding the different criminal activities, within London UK, as well as their causes and eventual consequences to the population of. The study aims to highlight which types of criminal activities are rampant within London as well as the reasons of their existence and their eventual impact. The research further applies the research philosophy and approach of interpretivism and induction respectively which as outlined by Corley and Gioia (2011) are most suitable for research studies supported with the collection of first hand data.

Target Population

The aim of the study is to evaluate the implications of crime in London U through a detailed evaluation of the causes consequences and level of Crime in London As such the target population for this research will be the general population of London with sampling restricted to adults and individuals who have lived in London for up to 5 years.

Sampling Techniques

Being aware of the range with which ones sample can be picked from is integral in the decision of which type of sampling to be adopted for use (Blaikie, 2010). While the population of London is significantly big enough and getting a respective sample size can be significantly challenging, the sampling will focus on two estates with the highest reported crime rates so as to increase the focus of the research and impact more credible results. As such random sampling will be carried out to select only respondents from the two identified high crime rate estates within London.

Research Methods

Being a qualitative study that aims to evaluate the implications of crime in London, a lot of descriptive information from which analysis of patterns and contrasting issues is expected. The most suitable form of data collection and the one that will be used therefore is semi structured short interviews. This is also appropriate given the research will be conducted in public spaces and streets where only a short period of time can be taken up by the participants to answer the interview questions after which they can resume their daily endeavors.

Data Analysis

Thematic analysis structure and method will be taken up in the analysis of the collected data. Thematic analysis is a qualitative research method of analysis that takes into account the identification, analysis and reporting of patterns, themes and connections available within raw data (Braun and Clarke, 2006). The analysis should be able to establish the different patterns regarding the different crimes engaged in within London and their impact.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical issues about relevant courtesy to be given to the participants by the nature of them being humans arise in the context of this study. The British Psychological Association (2013) highlights that ethical issues in this context involve, the invasion of individual’s privacy as well as their dignity in using them as sources for information. Collecting information with regards to criminals and criminal activities may also present a danger to individual respondents and as such names of all respondents will be kept anonymous to enhance their confidentiality.

Limitations of the Study

Given the adoption of the qualitative research approach, the study is susceptible to all the limitations including biasness of the researcher and the population of study and as such the research will affect significant measures to enhance credibility of the data collected

The city of London is in additionally quite populated highlighting a big population and subsequent big sample; as such analysis might take much time and effort. To minimize this, the sampling technique despite being random will aim to spread widely across the study area to further enhance the credibility of the eventual collected data.

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Investigating the causes of crime and criminality in addition would require the perspective of the individuals involved in crime and perpetrating crime within London. Identifying, contacting and interviewing these kinds of respondents may presents a setback and difficulty given the nature of crime being illegal and their lack of wanting to be known. This presents a significant limitation to the achievement of one of the studies objectives

References

Blaikie, N. (2010) Designing Social Research (2ndedn).Cambridge: Polity

Canter, D. and Youngs, D. (2016). Crime and society. Contemporary Social Science, 11(4), pp.283-288.

Corley, K.G. and Gioia, D.A. (2011) ‘Building theory abouttheory building: What constitutes a theoretical contribution?’,Academy of Management Review, 36(1), pp. 12–32.

Rahman, M. (2016). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches and Methods in Language “Testing and Assessment” Research: A Literature Review. Journal of Education and Learning, 6(1), p.102.


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