The methodology is a critical study of the research techniques employed in the human sciences. The course includes three parts. An epistemological part covers the evolution of knowledge on the scientific approach. This part of the course focuses on the typology of scientific approaches:
- positivism versus constructivism;
- issues for research in human sciences and in criminology;
- policy distinctions in criminology research;
- compilation methods involving privileged data in criminology.
Thanks to the elements provided in the course, the student must be capable of posing the necessary questions preliminary to the formulation and the execution of a research project (such as a dissertation, for example). These elements must also enable the student to adopt a critical attitude to research, attitude which he is called upon to develop and exercise in his reading and research.
The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
A general methodology part covers cross-disciplinary issues prerequisite to any data compilation and analysis. The inductive and deductive approaches to research are discussed, as are the selection of units for observation (definition of the field of analysis and sampling) and validity (external and internal validity and triangulation).
A special methdology part covers techniques of data compilation and analysis widely used in criminology; initiation involves illustration of criminology research.
The pratical exercises lead the student to select a personal research project and thus to experiment with ways of resolving epistemological, logical and ethical problems posed by every research project.
Practical exercises are conducted by series to supplement the lectures. The exercises cover the stages of a research project.