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Criminology and Social Research Methods (MSc)

Course Description

The focus of this programme is on contemporary substantive issues in criminology and criminal justice and on criminological research methods. It is particularly appropriate for those engaged in criminal justice policy analysis and development or similar work in allied fields.

The programme develops a theoretical, policy and technical understanding of key issues within criminology, criminal justice and research methods. More specifically, it aims to develop an advanced understanding of the complex nature of crime, harm and victimisation together with an appreciation of the role of the state/criminal justice system in the regulation of human behaviour, deviance and crime. The programme will equip you to design and implement social scientific research using a broad range of methodologies, consider research ethics, analyse and present the material such research generates.

Through combining criminology and research methods, the programme enables you to think logically and in an informed manner about criminological issues. The programme fosters a critical awareness of the relationship between theory, policy and practice and enables you to utilize your research knowledge of research skills and translate these into research practice in the field of criminology and broader social science research professions.

See the website http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/criminology-social-research-methods-msc


You'll undertake modules from a broad base of subject areas including:

- Criminological theory
This module charts the development of criminological thinking from the onset of modernity through to the present day. It will place discrete theories in their proper sociological, historical, political and cultural contexts. It will seek to establish the implications and relationships of various theories to criminal justice policy. A number of contemporary issues (terrorism, urban disturbances, and gang culture) will be explored with a view to critically evaluating the value of competing theoretical frameworks.

- Crime, harm and victimisation
The module aims to deconstruct the fundamental elements of criminology: the crime, the criminal and the victim. It begins by examining historical and contemporary patterns of crime and criminality, as officially measured, within the UK and beyond. It then engages with more critical academic debates about defining and measuring crime, considering definitions of crime as: a breach of criminal law; a violation of collective conscience; a product of conduct norms; a social construct; ideological censure; a gendered reality; a violation of human rights, and; social or environmental harm. The module engages with critical deconstructions of the 'offender' and the 'victim', considering how these are socially constructed and how our understanding of these, like of 'crime', has changed and continues to change in late-/post-modern society.

- Responding to crime: justice, social control and punishment
This module explores some of the key issues and controversies in the delivery of justice, social control and punishment. It begins with a critical consideration of the concept of justice and emphasises the significance of this in relation to how the state responds to various forms of crime. It encourages you to think critically about the role of the state in the regulation of behaviour and provides an overview of key changes that have occurred in the field of crime control and criminal justice. One of the key features of contemporary crime control discourse is the rise of risk management and the pursuit of security. This module outlines the ways in which such a discourse has transformed criminal justice thinking and practices of both policing and penal policy, and also of crime (and harm) prevention.

- Criminological research in practice
This module uses examples from recent and current research conducted by members of the Crime and Justice Research Group at LSBU and external guest speakers to develop both the research training and subject understanding elements of the MSc, demonstrating how research becomes knowledge – generating theoretical advances, policy initiatives, new research questions and university curricula. Lectures/seminars will take the form of a research commentary, talking you through a research project from idea inception through research design, fieldwork, analysis and dissemination and, where appropriate, on to the influences research has had (or could have) on subsequent academic works and policy developments. Particular emphasis will be placed on challenges peculiar to criminological research.

- Methods for social research and evaluation: philosophy, design and data collection
This module introduces you to core concepts in social research and shows how they can be used to address social scientific questions and practical issues in policy evaluation. You'll be introduced to central topics in the philosophy of social sciences and the effect they have on research choices. You are then introduced to different ways research can be designed and the ways design affects permissible inferences. You are then introduced to the theory of measurement and sampling. The final third of the module focuses on acquiring data ranging from survey methods through qualitative data collection methods to secondary data.

- Data analytic techniques for social scientists
You are introduced to a range of analytic techniques commonly used by social scientists. It begins by introducing you to statistical analysis, it then moves to techniques used to analyse qualitative data. It concludes by looking at relational methods and data reduction techniques. You'll also be introduced to computer software (SPSS, NVivo and Ucinet) that implements the techniques. Students will gain both a conceptual understanding of the techniques and the means to apply them to their own research projects. An emphasis will be placed on how these techniques can be used in social evaluation.

- Dissertation
The dissertation is a major part of your work on the MSc, reflected in its value of 60 credits. The aim of the dissertation is to enable students to expand and deepen their knowledge of a substantive area in criminology, whilst simultaneously developing their methodological skills. You'll choose an area of investigation and apply the research skills of design and process, modes of data generation and data analysis techniques to undertake a 15,000 word dissertation. You'll be allocated a dissertation supervisor from the departmental team and will meet regularly for personal supervision meetings.


This MSc will enable you to pursue a range of professional careers in criminal justice related work in statutory, commercial or community voluntary sectors and operating at central, regional and local government levels, for example, the Home Office; police forces; local government; crime and disorder reduction partnerships and their equivalencies throughout the world.

The acquisition of specific criminological and research methods knowledge will also enhance the career opportunities if you are currently working in the field. The specialist focus on research methods also offers an excellent foundation for those interested in undertaking subsequent doctoral research in the field.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

- direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
- Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
- mentoring and work shadowing schemes. The Crime and Criminal Justice Research Group, (CCJRG), at LSBU has developed a strong national and international reputation for delivering high quality and real life impact research. It has worked closely with a range of government agencies, including the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (Ministry of Justice); Government Office for London; the Scottish Executive, Northern Ireland Office and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. It has also undertaken extensive research in collaboration with various London local authorities together with a range of voluntary and charity-based agencies.


Our criminology programme also has a strong voluntary work scheme.You're encouraged to undertake voluntary work in a variety of criminal justice related agencies. Recent positions have been within the police service, the prison service, legal advice, victim support, domestic violence and child abuse agencies and youth offending and youth mentoring schemes.

Teaching and learning

Study hours:
Year 1 class contact time is typically 6 hours per week part time and 12 hours per week full time plus individual tutorial and independent study.

Visit the Criminology and Social Research Methods (MSc) page on the London South Bank University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

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