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Qualitative Methodolgy - One Source on Debate in Criminology

NCJ Number
Crime and Justice Volume: 7/8 Issue: 3/4 Dated: (1979/1980) Pages: 167-174
J Poupart
Date Published
8 pages
Current controversy over the use of qualitative methodology in criminology and the sociology of deviance is examined.
The use of qualitative methods has been almost exclusively within the tradition of interactionist studies. These works have had a great impact on criminological research. Their use of qualitative approaches have instigated several debates which, while focusing primarily on deviance and social reaction, also extend to more general controversies about sociology as a whole. On one level, debates have centered on the relative value of quantitative versus qualitative methods. At the epistemological level, concern has been with different conceptions of science and the available means by which the researcher may apprehend reality. A final point of contention has been the resulting opposition between positivistic and phenomenological approaches, eventually leading to a new definition of criminology itself. Forty-two references are provided. (Author abstract modified)


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