POEC 6340/SOC 5390 Graduate Seminar in Qualitative Criminology Spring 2006

Professor: Danielle Lavin-Loucks Course Time: Thursday, 4:00-6:45 P.M. Office: GR 2.116 Phone: 972-883-4769 E-mail: danielle.lavin-loucks@utdallas.edu Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-1:30, or by appointment Course Overview: The purpose of this course is to expose you to qualitative methods in Criminology. Throughout the course, we will explore the elements of qualitative research, including: ethical issues, entering the scene, establishing rapport, collecting data and performing qualitative analysis among others. We will also establish the ideology behind qualitative research and how it relates to quantitative research. The first portion of the course will deal with the issues surrounding qualitative research. The second portion of the course will provide an in depth examination of the varying forms of qualitative methods and focus on the practice of qualitative research. Course Materials: This course will utilize several books and a number of journal articles that will be posted on webCT or handed out in class. The books for the course include: (1) Miller and Tewksbury. 2006. “Research Methods: A Qualitative Reader”. Prentice Hall.; (2) Berg, Bruce. 2004. “Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences”. Allyn and Bacon.; (3) Anderson, Elijah. 2000. “Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City”. W. W. Norton & Company. The books are available at the Campus Bookstore and Off Campus Books. Structure of the Course: v Participation: Participation in class discussion is expected. More than this, to have any meaningful discussion I will expect you to be prepared for class. Obviously to participate, you must attend. Failure to attend will have a negative impact on your participation grade. v Discussion Leaders: Each week one student will lead the class discussion over that week’s readings. I will assign you a week and you will lead a thoughtful and critical discussion of not only the class material assigned for that week, but two additional academic articles that either critique, build on, support, or pose alternative views of the assigned readings. One way to do this is by introducing a comparable qualitative study of a similar or related topic. Please remember that this is NOT a presentation. You need to involve the class and engage other students in an open discussion of ideas. To this end, you will be expected to provide a brief overview of the material for that week, as well as your outside articles. Your outside articles must be e-mailed to the whole class (as a PDF) or distributed in paper form a minimum of three days prior to your discussion leading day.


v Weekly Projects: For each week that reading is assigned you may turn in a two page (single spaced) mini research project that deals with the specific method discussed that week. You may select any of the assigned articles as the basis for your project, or design your own. You are required to turn in 5 projects (2 full pages, single spaced) throughout the semester. Each project is worth 6 points. Projects must use the skill set discussed in the readings for that week and involve a minimum of 2 participants (4 for focus groups). Issues and topics for research are up to you, but they should center on crime and criminality. v Final Paper: Your final paper will require you to design a qualitative research project that deals with crime and/or criminality, perceptions of crime, or social reactions to crime. Final papers should be at least 20 pages, double spaced, with one inch margins, in 12 point Times New Roman font. You will be required to upload an electronic version of your paper to webCT, as we will not be holding class on the day that the paper is due. Late papers will be penalized one letter grade for each day they are late. Expectations for the Course: I expect that you will have completed the readings each week and have something valuable to contribute to the course. I have no reservations about asking you to leave class if you show up unprepared. This is a graduate seminar and the minimum requirement is that you attend, complete the assignment readings and are prepared to discuss the themes and ideas presented in the literature. This class will be a discussion based endeavor, and I will not be lecturing on the topics. As such, I would advise you to come prepared with questions, comments, and critiques of the articles. Grading: Participation Discussion Leader Projects Final Paper

15% 15% 30% 40%

90-100% 80-89% 70-79% 69% & below


Academic Misconduct: Each student in this course is expected to exercise independent scholarly thought, expression and aptitude. Obviously, cheating, plagiarizing other people’s words and ideas and collusion will not be tolerated. Citations (in APA or MLA format) should accompany all assignments and papers turned in for this course. All episodes of suspected scholastic dishonesty will be reported according to University policy. Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students and the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. Penalties that may be assessed for scholastic dishonesty may be reviewed in Subchapter D. Penalties at http://www.utdallas.edu/student/slife/chapter49.html. (Quoted from Judicial Affairs, Syllabus Addendum, 04/05). Please note that in all cases of academic misconduct I will advise failure of the course. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism or academic misconduct, please ask.


Course Timetable: The following is a list of the readings assigned for the semester. The journal articles will be posted in pdf format on webCT, so that you can download and print them if you wish. In addition, some weeks I may be handing out other supplemental articles that correspond to the topics for the following week. January 12th January 19th Introduction to the Course: What is Qualitative Research? Ethics in Qualitative Research Read: Eder and Corsaro’s “Ethnographic Studies of Children and Youth: Theoretical and Ethical Issues”, Taylor’s “Observing Abuse: Professional Ethics and Personal Morality in Field Research” and Berg Chapter 3 Designing Research, Gaining Access and Navigating Danger Read: Newman’s “Research Interviewing in Prison”, Miller and Tewksbury Part III, and Berg Chapter 2 In Depth Interviewing Read: Berg Chapter 4 and Jacob’s “A typology of street criminal retaliation” Focus Groups Read: Berg Chapter 5 and Lane’s “Fear of Gang Crime” Participant Observation Read: Miller and Tewksbury Part I and Berg Chapter 6 Ethnographic Fieldwork Read: Miller and Tewksbury Part II Capturing Culture: Ethnography of the Streets Read: Anderson’s “Code of the Street” Introduction and Chapters 1-4 SPRING BREAK: No Class Capturing Culture: Ethnography of the Streets Read: Anderson’s “Code of the Street” Introduction and Chapters 5-7 and Conclusion Case Study and Comparative/Historical Read: Harding, Fox and Mehta’s “Studying Rare Events through Qualitative Case Studies” and Berg Chapters 9 & 10 Content Analysis Read: Grabe’s “Narratives of Guilt”, Herda-Rapp’s “The Social Construction of Local School Violence Threats” and Berg Chapter 11

January 26th

February 2 nd

February 9 th

February 16th

February 23rd

March 2nd

March 9th March 16th

March 23rd

March 30th


April 6th

Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Read: Duneier and Molotch’s “Talking City Trouble” and HANDOUTS Analyzing and Presenting your Data Read: Berg Chapter 12 Due: Final Papers

April 13th

April 20th

*** I reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus***