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Research Methods in Criminology

Course Code: CRIM 2254
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Hybrid
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This is an introductory course in research methodology in Criminology and the Social Sciences. Topics addressed include: origin of research questions; qualitative and quantitative approaches; deductive and inductive approaches including theory, hypothesis testing and causality; sampling; and ethical issues in research. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, course materials will focus on research in criminology and criminal justice. Emphasis will be placed on data gathering techniques.

Course Content

  1. The social science research enterprise
  2. Research decisions and how they are made
  3. Qualitative and Quantitative  Methodologies
    • Inductive and deductive approaches
    • Theory, variables, hypotheses, causality
    • Operationalization
  4. Ethical issues in research
  5. Sampling
    • Purpose, function,
    • Probability & non-probability types
    • Reliability, validity and generalization issues
  6. Experimentation and Quasi-Experimentation
  7. Data Collection
    • Questionnaire design and administration
    • Interviewing techniques
    • Observation
    • Case Studies
    • Interactive and Internet Research techniques
  8. Descriptive & Inferential Statistics
    • Function and purposes

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a range of instructional techniques: lecture, class discussion, audio-visual materials, guest lectures, field observation, and term projects.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following:

  1. Examinations
  2. Term Assignments
  3. Oral Quiz

An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

Midterm Exam 1  30%
Midterm Exam 2  30%
Term Assignments (3)  30%
Final Oral Quiz  10%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the nature and purpose of the social scientific research enterprise.

  2. Describe and explain the nature of research decisions facing social science researchers.

  3. Criticially assess the differences and similarities between quantitative and qualitative approaches as well as describe the general strengths and weaknesses of each.

  4. Critically assess contemporary ethical issues in conducting research on human subjects.

  5. Describe and explain sampling.

  6. Describe and explain the relevance of experimentation and quasi-experimentation.

  7. Describe and explain the relationship between theory, variables, hypotheses and causality.

  8. Describe and explain the strengths and weaknesses of such data gathering techniques as: questionnaire design and administration; case studies; interviewing; observation; unobtrusive and archival methods; and, Internet-based research techniques.

  9. Describe and explain the relationships between reliability, validity and generalizability.

  10. Describe and explain the purpose and function of descriptive and inferential statistics.

course prerequisites

CRIM 1150

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.