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Feasibility of an Ethnographic Study of Adult Property Offenders

NCJ Number
B Glassner; C Carpenter
Date Published
80 pages
This report assesses the feasibility of an ethnographic study of adult property offenders using procedures of indepth interview, direct observation, and content analysis.
An ethnographic approach would permit a consideration of how property offending is organized and carried out, differences between male and female offenders, and the risk-benefit reasoning of individuals as they make decisions about committing property crimes. Methodological alternatives then are considered, including issues related to research instrumentation, quantification, and analyses of variables versus meanings. Design options and possible problems then are detailed with respect to number and choice of sites, subject selection, sampling procedures, and field relations. The validity and reliability of ethnographic research also are discussed. Finally, information is presented on the development of instruments such as observer logs, interview schedules, and computerized data retrieval and analysis. Approximately 160 references.