Evaluate the Use of Longitudinal Research When Considering Upbringing as an Explanation of Crime. Essay

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Evaluate the use of longitudinal research when considering upbringing as an explanation of crime. One of the main positives is that it traces the development over time. An example of this is Farrington’s Cambridge Study into Delinquent Development. This took boys who were born in 1953/54 and continued to study them until they were well into their forties. This study could be said to be particularly realistic, that it had good ecological validity since the participants are studied in real life situations. This permits an interpretation of criminal activity as a reflection of what develops over a period of time – the study can show at what stages of life people either become or remain criminal. ( Farrington called ‘persisters’ people who were convicted before and after their twenty-first birthday and ‘desisters’ those who commit crime only until age twenty.) However, the fact that longitudinal studies take a great deal of time does mean that they may be regarded as less useful – since it limits what can be put into practice before the study is complete. Due to the very nature of the studies being over a long period of time, they can end up being rather expensive. These expenses could come from various requirements, whether they be the continual payment of the researchers, the facilities or equipment necessary to pursue the study, as well as the analysis of the vast amount of data collected. Furthermore, being longitudinal, such studies as Farrington’s are impossible to replicate, since there just wouldn’t be time. This also means that if there are any methodological flaws these are likely to be repeated throughout the study. The large amount of data – both quantitative and qualitative – is also one of the strengths of longitudinal studies. This permits deeper analysis of the findings, as well as more likelihood that the results will be valid. Perhaps one of

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