Dissertation block

Ask here about academic and research issues, like designing studies, recruiting participants, choosing statistics, submitting for publication, etc.
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Beggarsroost
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Dissertation block

Post by Beggarsroost » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:01 pm

Hi All :)

I am currently looking at ideas for my undergrad dissertation and have decided that I would quite like to investigate something forensic.

At the moment I have an idea related to testing/investigating current typologies of stalking within a different population/setting (dont know if I'm allowed to say where/what population?). However, this is as far as I have got..... I am really stuck as to how to take it from an idea to a feasable study. How to go about actually desiging a study that would work?

I have tried designing a possible RQ - "Can current typologies of stalking be generalised to ********?"/ "Do ******** fit with current typologies of stalking?" and then asking the "so what?" question but that hasnt got me far!

Any general advice is welcomed!
Life is far too important to be taken seriously

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Inflames
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Re: Dissertation block

Post by Inflames » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:47 pm

Hi Beggarsroost,

If you want to look into the characteristics of people involved with sexually aggressive behaviour/stalking then I would look up Dr Louise Almond's work. She works in the forensic psychology department at the University of Liverpool. One of her current postgrads is researching offending and behavioural profiling. I'm more than sure you would find relevant techniques and information related to your topics within this work. Especially as she specialises in the usefulness of behavioural investigative advice (BIA), this is the information the police are given for offender profiling these days. I would also give Dr D Canters work a look to, he specialises in the behavioural geography of criminal behaviour. You may also want to consider how you might develop a scale or test a population of stalkers (I imagine it would be difficult). I hope that I have not misunderstood what you hoping to look into, I would still deem this research worth a look anyway.

possible relevant articles

Almond, L. (in press). Test of Canter’s sexual behaviour models in a sample of young people who had sexually harmed. In D. Canter, & D. Youngs (Eds.), Festschrift.

and

Dressing, H et al (2007). What can we learn from the first community-based epidemiological study on stalking in Germany?

This article has been published and is in a forensic psychology text book by Canter and Young, although I don't know what it is called.

However, before you go off designing your own study I recommend that you look at what the psychologists in your department are researching. If they are not looking at research in your proposed area I would recommend that you change your topic, preferably to one your interested in, as you will need as much support from your supervisor as you can get with your final year project. Most undergrad students do research that their supervisor has designed already, and if they think your good they'll let you do something new that they may be able to publish. Unfortunately designing your own study generally takes time that you may not have, and skills which are expected of postgrads. I would highlight that you do not receive extra marks for designing your own study.

Hope this helps
"I can come in any trousers I like" (Fry 2009)

captain artichoke
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Re: Dissertation block

Post by captain artichoke » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:57 pm

It sounds like a really interesting idea. The first thing I would be thinking about is what kind of study it will be possible to do as an undergrad. Specifically I'm thinking about acess to forensic populations from which to draw your sample. I'm not sure from your post if this is what you're hoping to do, but if so I would imagine it would be extremely difficult unless you have a) a supervisor whose research interests include stalking or b) a gatekeeper in some service who could 'get you in'? Plus if it was in the NHS/HMPS you'd need ethical approval which could take ages.

If you could design something with a community sample it might be more viable - maybe something to do with the impact of stalking on victims?

Have just re-read your post and it sounds like you might have access to a sample/population already - if thats the case I'd consider getting in touch with a clin psych/researcher there and having a chat with them about what would be useful to them/possible to do within the environment there.

A couple of researchers at Leicester do quite a bit of stalking research.

Good luck. :D

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Beggarsroost
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Re: Dissertation block

Post by Beggarsroost » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:14 am

Thanks for the advice guys, much appreciated!

I re-read my post and realised I wasnt very clear so apologies about that!

I have access to the population I am interested and I also have lots of support at the place I would conducting the research (only worries are NHS ethics taking too long and what the university allows us to do as undergrads)

I guess my main question would be related to how to go about designing a study where you are trying to test an existing typology of stalking within a different population?? Im really stuck as to what design to use!
Life is far too important to be taken seriously

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othello
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Re: Dissertation block

Post by othello » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:41 am

How was it tested in the original population? Maybe look up some research that tackled that question and that might point you in the right direction?
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

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Inflames
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Re: Dissertation block

Post by Inflames » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:33 pm

I have to say I'm slightly confused, to me it would appear that if you were testing an existing typology then there must be a measure for this. I'm assuming some kind of psychometric measure, which has been previously designed and tested. If so, then you should look at the related papers as othello has suggested, and probably copy one of the designs.

The population you test on might not be particularly important, except to say that the say typology 'x' was found (or not) in one population as in another. You could either contrast this with previous studies or directly compare populations. The thing is the only information I could give at this point is that one participant can only really be classed as one typology at a time (although it may vary between context, population and time etc), and you will probably want to take other measures related to this. Information between populations is a unrelated-design, if you take extra measures you would need to use a within/related-design, therefore utilising a mixed design overall. The possibilities are endless (well almost).

Unfortunately we would need more information than you have given us to be able to help, however the professionals/lecturers at your university would be a better place to look for advice on design. After all that is what you pay them for, you should not need to worry about approaching them. I always found it better to talk to lectures if I was unsure as to what exactly to do, because they are so good at clarifying the masses of information you are bombarded with, and they seem to enjoy looking after enthusiastic students too.

Sorry I can't be more help
"I can come in any trousers I like" (Fry 2009)

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