Researcher Researching Research

So, research, it sucks. OK, may be not that much, but I’m starting to hate it to the point that if I could ditch my research project, I would. I found myself yesterday thinking of clever and creative ways that I could slip out of the research project and still claim a half decent mark for it. I thought about wishing I would catch some exotic disease that would throw me in the hospital for exactly three weeks, and I awoke with all the work done, and then I would just pick up and continue on to the next set of classes. Or, a huge cataclysmic earthquake hits British Columbia, and it flattens the College, and my term papers just so happened to be in the building at the time….

I really can’t knock the work though? I see that research is an necessary staple of academic work, and with out it we would know very little of the world around us. Heck, in my field, we would know next to nothing if it weren’t for all the research done. Though, in criminology, research is a bit tricky?

Criminological research is so difficult to pursue now-a-days that current research projects are nothing compared to what was done back in the 1960s and 70s. Why you ask? It boils down to ethics. Think about this, you want to do research on why people do drugs. As we all know, in North America, as it is in other parts of the world, some drugs are illegal, like marijuana. You want to know what makes youth want to smoke it, so you decide to pick a school and set up a research project where you want to do interviews and do field observations on the playground, hoping to see some drug activity take place. But there are some problems…

Drugs like marijuana are illegal, and as an adult seeing youth in possession of it and taking it puts an onus on you that means you become part of the criminal element. In other words, seeing the crime take place and recording it under the gaze of anonymity can be just as much of an offence as the youth who are doing the criminal act in the first place. This is the problem of doing research on and about criminal activities. If you wrote in your analysis that you observed N=marijuana smokers, and they were youth, there is nothing to stop the police from demanding your research notes and hauling you into court to surrender the names to them so that they can lay charges against you and the youths? So Ethics Boards today are now very sensitive as to what criminologists do research on.

This is why some of the best research came from the 1960s and 70s. They got away with subject matter then that today would cause a university to explode as they send you and your ideas out the door.

As a “beginner” researcher, I can only do safe topics that have little criminological value. My research topic for this class, Qualitative Research Methods, is on “cash versus debit and credit cards.” I want to see if there is a difference in the way people spend their money and manage it whether it is with cash or plastic. So, I need some participants? I need four more people that I can interview, who do not mind talking about their opinions on money and how you spend it. There is a consent form that is needed for the College that states that your input is anonymous and the data will be destroyed once the research is finished, plus it explains your rights and the potential risks, etc…. My research requires a one-to-one interview that I want to audio record then transcribe it so that I can compile the data from it. Anyone who is interested, this would help me out a lot. Please let me know within the next week or so?