A growing tendency towards interdisciplinary and international social science research has resulted in the need for codes of ethics and guidelines that cross disciplinary…
A growing tendency towards interdisciplinary and international social science research has resulted in the need for codes of ethics and guidelines that cross disciplinary and national boundaries. One set of such documents was developed by the RESPECT project, which produced Europe-wide professional and ethical guidelines for social sciences. This chapter builds on a semi-structured interview conducted with the Principal Investigator of the RESPECT project. Her thoughts are contextualised within the broader discussions of ethics and professional standards codes and guidelines as identified by other scholars in the field. Drawing on an experience-based account, the chapter offers guidance in overcoming some of the common concerns when developing international, interdisciplinary ethics codes and guidelines for social science research.
Shadowing is a form of non-participant observation that entails following and observing research participants as they go about their everyday business. It offers a…
Shadowing is a form of non-participant observation that entails following and observing research participants as they go about their everyday business. It offers a possibility to gain in-depth insights into individuals’ actions, roles, and personalities, as well as their social relations and environments. However, shadowing remains – as do other observational and ethnographic methods – largely unfamiliar within the field of higher education research. As a result, a methodological – and, consequently, knowledge – gap has formed: while document, policy, survey, and interview analyses offer insights into how things should be done or are said to be done, few studies offer an understanding of how things are actually done. Based on my experience of shadowing heads of departments at an English university, I discuss the strengths of the method and warn about the issues one has to carefully navigate when conducting shadowing, with a particular focus on carrying out such research in higher education environments. The chapter advocates for a wider use of shadowing among higher education researchers, concluding that our understanding of higher education dynamics can benefit most from this method when it is combined with other data collection techniques.
This chapter looks at the role qualitative evaluation can play in the external review of the Probation Service, the development of an evaluation framework for ongoing assessment and how it can be used to develop new elements of the service. How is this different from the use of existing data by the service?
This takes us to the kind of information that is used by the probation service, to make judgements about the effectiveness of its programmes and the impact on offenders. The main contention is that this is in the main quantitative data, and reports on levels of re-offending. The data is standardised so that it can be used to make comparisons between different types of sentence and criminal justice intervention.
Our contention is that this information is limited in what it says for two main reasons. Firstly, quantitative data tends to report on impact, that is whether an offender has committed another crime after engagement with the probation service, or whether there are patterns of behaviour between offences, individual circumstances and the likelihood or re-offending. In short, the data is a snapshot of whether an offender has changed his or her behaviour or not. However, this chapter will illustrate how quantitative data misses an understanding of how behaviour changes and why behaviour does not change. As a result, this leaves the service with a limited understanding of how it is working.
Secondly, the chapter will argue that the existing probation framework itself creates quite specific definitions of which data is relevant and which data is not relevant. We will give examples of narratives that offenders offer in group sessions that provide rich material about their lives, pressures and offence. But evidence suggests that this information is not used to inform programmes, re-assess and review an offender's own progression towards re-offending or a life without crime.