The perceived fear of crime and risk of victimization has been a key topic of criminological debate over the past few decades. Various research studies have focused on the importance of understanding public fear of crime and discovered that women fear crime more than men (Schafer et al., 2006). Arguably, this could be due to the stereotype of women as the more vulnerable sex, unable to protect themselves (Brownmiller, 1975), especially with regards to types of crimes like sexual assault. This fear is evident in the 2010/11 British Crime Survey, which expressed a disparity between the perceived fear of crime and the actual victimisation risk (Home Office, 2011). Despite a considerable amount of academic research on the fear of crime, it has been limited to the general public and does not necessarily consider specific societal groups, or why fear exists. The main aim of this study is to investigate the extent to which crime is feared by students in Swansea. It also intends to meet the following objectives:
Get your grade
or your money back
using our Essay Writing Service!
To use current literature sources to review 'fear of crime'.
To use questionnaires on students to investigate types of crime feared by them.
To investigate the ways in which fear of crime can be reduced.
To discover whether a gender difference can be found among students who fear crime.
To investigate whether the media influences public fear of crime.
To achieve the preceding objectives and overall research aim, the study first conducted a critical literature review on this topic to identify research gaps and help define the research question. Once this was established, an assessment was made of types of methods most suited to this study. Within the methodology section it was identified that quantitative and qualitative data were needed to fully achieve the desired objectives, and thus it was decided that a questionnaire would be used as the chosen methodology, and the procedures were fully explained. The subsequent section displays the findings of the research, using tables and graphs, with a brief description of the results with inferential analysis. The next section discusses and analyses the results of the research, and considers the relevance of the findings to the current literature on this topic. The study then draws conclusions and makes recommendations for further research into this topic.
Critical literature review
As already identified, the fear of crime in society has been a key topic of criminological research for several decades. Recently there have been two developments in the concept of the fear of crime: firstly the specific fears and anxieties in emotional reactions to crime among the public, and secondly the effect this fear has on making individuals over-cautious in daily activities (Gray et al., 2011). It is important to understand both in order to fully address concerns about this topic within society.
Are women more fearful of crime than men?
Research on the fear of crime has shown predominantly that women express higher levels of fear than men. This is seen in Schafer et al.'s (2006) study which found that women, particularly, showed greater levels of fear of personal victimisation. The fear of crime, specifically assault, expressed by women has historically stemmed from the fear of men. Debatably, this is derived from the stereotype that women are the more passive, vulnerable sex, and men are the more aggressive gender (Brownmiller, 1975). Stanko (1995) examined government initiatives put in place at the time to tackle this identified fear among women of male strangers. She concluded that they had adapted aspects within the community to make it safer, for example, street lighting. However, almost two decades on, this fear still exists, especially among young women. Chadee (2003) found that gender was directly correlated with risk and fear of crime, and that the perceived risk of victimisation is a distinctive predictor of fear rather than the reality. The fact that this fear still exists shows that the government strategies examined by Stanko (1995) do not seem to have had an effect. Therefore more research is required to influence government policies further, as there is evidence that fear of crime can have damaging effects on peoples' lives and restrict daily activities (Fairchild & Rudman, 2008). This is supported by Mawby's (2007) study which identified specific times of day and areas in which respondents experienced fear and anxiety, even changing their routine activities to avoid this fear. This study showed the advantage of conducting research in local areas, as it gives local authorities the information they need to put strategies in place to tackle fear in specific places.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Do men conceal their fear of crime?
The key themes from the literature identify the concept that women are more fearful than men. However, when looked at more critically, these arguments are not always valid. It appears that males may be just as fearful of crime, but fail to report it for reasons related to masculinity. This is evident in Sutton & Farrall's (2005) study, who found that men experienced crime-related anxieties similar to females, in some instances being even more afraid than women. This revelation draws attention again to traditional gender stereotypes which view women as vulnerable and men as the macho sex (Brownmiller, 1975). These labels may create social pressure for males to downplay their crime-related fears so as not to seem weak and ruin their masculine reputation. Furthermore, it is difficult to determine the extent to which male participants in studies distort their responses in order to give an answer they feel should be expected of them because of their gender (Tourangeau et al., 2000). This is an issue which needs to be acknowledged when researching gender differences surrounding the fear of crime.
The British Crime Survey - Valid data but lacking explanation
The British Crime Survey is a good source for analysing perceptions of public fear of crime. For example, it showed that 13% of interviewees felt they were at a higher risk of experiencing victimisation of a serious crime, when in reality only 3% had previously been a victim of serious crime 12 months prior to the study (Home Office, 2011). The rate of perceived risk of violence had dropped from 15% from the previous year (Home Office, 2010). An optimistic view is to suggest that the fear of crime rate has decreased. A pessimistic view is that this fear does still exist. This is shown in the study by Brunton-Smith & Sturgis (2011) who theorised that fear of crime was present among their sample and was partly influenced by neighbourhoods. Despite the British Crime Survey showing key findings about which crimes people fear, and linking this to the reality, the quantitative data does not provide explanations of why they feared particular crimes. There is a need to develop qualitative data in order to fill this gap and aid the study of criminology by discovering why people fear certain crimes, ultimately to help policy-makers address this issue.
Does the media inflame fear of crime?
The media is said to influence the public by creating fear of certain crimes. The relationship between media influence and the fear of crime is evident in early research by Gerbner & Gross (1976). They proposed a 'cultivation hypothesis' which suggests that watching television cultivates an evil world and distorts viewers' feelings by elevating fear of crime and risk of victimisation. The 'cultivation hypothesis' provoked a growing body of research examining the link between the media and fear of crime (Heath & Gilbert, 1996; Eschholz, 1997; Dowler, 2003). This theory is supported by Ericson (1991) who later argued that members of the public resemble a sponge, soaking up and believing every detail of media reports. This suggests that any representation in the media regarding crime is believed by viewers, even if it is a distortion of reality. However, this is rejected by Reiner (1997) who advocates that the majority of media presentations are primarily for entertainment purposes, and not for the public to take seriously. Thus dramatised crime programmes should not affect public perception of crime levels in society. Moreover, the media should not impact the publics' fear of crime.
In recent years, media representations of crime have arguably been dramatised and exaggerated in a way that does in fact tap into the minds of audiences (Garland, 2000) and thus the perception of crime in everyday life has increased. It would seem that the public tends to believe the amount of crime occurring is actually higher than the reality. Furthermore, it appears that images of violent 'crack-heads' and disturbed 'underclass' males within the media is strongly correlated with the fear of strangers (ibid). This is support by Eschholz et al. (2003) who discovered that local news has an effect on fear of crime, and suggested this could be due to the focus on violent crimes, showing the reality that these crimes can occur close to home. This can be linked to the previously presented argument that the majority of women are fearful of experiencing victimisation of sexual assault by a stranger. Debatably, newspapers fuel this fear by continuing to emphasize 'stranger danger' in their reports, which supposedly attracts the attention of readers (Cheit, 2003). This needs to be researched further as most of the current studies refer to women in general and do not consider different groups of women in society, for example students or the elderly. It also ignores the fact that men can also be fearful.
This Essay is
a Student's Work
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.Examples of our work
A critical review of the literature has identified a need for more research into gender differences in the fear of crime, as well as looking at certain groups of society in specific areas. It therefore led to this study, which focuses on the fear of crime among male and female students in Swansea.
The critical literature review identified a clear gap in the research regarding the types of crimes that are feared specifically by students. Although students are not typically used in criminological research, they are relevant because there are certain crimes that they are known to be particularly vulnerable to (Koss et al, 1987). Therefore it would be interesting to discover if their fear of crime matches that of society in general as presented in research studies. As Davies et al. (2011) argue, to generate a reliable and legitimate piece of empirical research it is important to make every decision regarding the methodology justified and rational. It was then acknowledged that due to practicalities, it was appropriate here to focus on a narrow geographic area where participants were easily accessible (Matthews & Ross, 2010). Hence students in Swansea were the chosen participants. A clear and defined research question was consequently identified from the literature review: To what extent do students in Swansea fear crime?
The research question helped to make the decision of using a questionnaire as the chosen methodology for this study. The reason for this was because it is a fairly straightforward approach to a study involving public attitudes and perceptions, and is exceptionally proficient at providing the researcher with large quantities of data that could be representative of the research population (Robson, 2011). In order to answer the research question, a large sample was needed to gain results representative of all students in Swansea. Thus, a questionnaire was the most appropriate method, as other forms may not have provided such results (Matthews & Ross, 2010). It was decided that, to ascertain reasons why people fear certain crimes, the questionnaire needed to include open and closed questions in order to gain qualitative and quantitative results. This would provide the researcher with more detailed data to analyse (Noaks & Wincup, 2004). In order to avoid any researcher bias (Robson, 2011), the questions were carefully written in a way that would not influence participants' responses. For example, Question 7 (see appendix 3) includes a statement followed by "Do you...?" and a ranked order likert scale, rather than "Do you agree with this statement", to avoid making participants unconsciously want to agree with it.
When considering the sample size, it was useful to look at sample sizes in empirical studies analysed in the literature review, and then decide what would be practical for this study. As previously stated, a large sample was ideally needed to secure representative results. Nevertheless, this being a small-scale research project, it was decided that 40 questionnaires would be appropriate. The sample used was a convenience sample of students who were at the university on the day the research took place, and in order to achieve the gender-difference objective an even number of male and female participants were approached. By using a convenience sample, the data collected should be representative. Nonetheless, it is important to note that choosing this type of sampling would make it problematical to replicate as it is difficult to standardise (Dantzker & Hunter, 2006).
The topic area was identified as potentially sensitive, as it covered all crimes, and some questions may have been difficult for participants to respond to if they had been a victim of crime themselves. This was an issue that was dealt with through the pilot study. One question in the survey was whether the participant had been a victim of crime. It was identified that allowing multiple choice answers made participants feel more at ease, rather than having to think about and disclose sensitive personal experiences. Another revelation discovered in the pilot study was that participants felt more comfortable talking about sensitive topics when face-to-face with the researcher. Many felt they would not go into detail online, due to it being less personal. Another key finding from the pilot study was that participants were pleased to have the opportunity to give reasons for some of their answers, especially relating to why they feared particular crimes. It was noted that more of these opportunities were needed, for example, a question regarding why the media influences people's fear of crime.
Face-to-face surveys were conducted using a convenience sample of students, and an equal number of male and females were approached. To avoid any unnecessary risks, a full briefing of the study's aims was given to each participant, and they were asked to read and sign the informed consent form (see appendix 2). Each question was then asked, and explained, if the participant did not fully understand. This was one benefit of conducting a face-to-face survey, as if it was online, some participants may have interpreted questions differently, resulting in their answers being invalid (Maxfield & Babbie, 2011; Robson, 2011).
One of the objectives of this study was to discover whether a gender difference could be found among students who fear crime. By looking at Figure 1, an obvious trend can be seen. The graph shows that 18 females feared crime compared with only five males, illustrating that the majority of males (15) did not fear crime. Using Fishers one tailed test, the p value is 0.0001, meaning there is a significant difference between gender and the fear of crime, because the value is below the significant p value of 0.01. From this it can be concluded that at a confidence level of 99%, women are more afraid of crime than men.
In addition to this, the questionnaires were able to investigate the ways in which crime is feared and the types of crimes that are feared by students in Swansea. Figure 2 shows the frequency of crimes feared by men and women. It shows that the crime most feared by both genders is assault. When questioned further, sexual assault came out as a particular fear amongst female students, whereas males feared physical assault, predominantly on student nights out. Surprisingly no participants feared petty crimes, explanations for which are discussed in the subsequent section.
A further objective set out in this study was to investigate whether the media influences public fear of crime. It was first important to establish whether the media is a contributor to the fear of crime. Therefore the question, "what influences your fear of crime" was asked. The model answer for this question for both males and females turned out to be the media, with 40% of participants choosing this category, as shown in Figure 3. Other answers included personal experiences, 32.5% of participants suggesting this influenced their fear of crime, and 27.5% said that their peers' experiences were the main contributor.
A further analysis could now be made to establish how much the media influences public fear of crime (see Figure 4). It demonstrates that 32 participants were influenced in some way by the media, 17 of whom were influenced considerably. Using Fishers one tailed test, the p value is 0.0001, meaning there is a significant difference between gender and the influence the media has on the fear of crime, because the value is below the significant p value of 0.01. From this we can conclude that at a confidence level of 99%, women are more influenced by the media than men.
Table 1 - Measures to reduce fear of crimeA final aspect of the investigation was ways in which the fear of crime can be reduced. This qualitative question was categorised into eight groups (see Table 1), which were the main key themes identified in the answers. As can be seen, the most frequent answer to this question, with 10 participants stating this, was to increase police presence on the streets. In addition, women in particular identified a need for self-defence classes. Contradictory, men were more interested in deterring offenders by implementing harsher punishments to stop criminals from offending in the first place, hence reducing the amount of crime to be feared.
Advice/talks from police
More security in clubs
Security in homes
Consistent with prior studies (Schafer et al., 2006; Chandee, 2003), the findings in this project identified a gender difference in the fear of crime. 90% of female participants feared crime, compared with 25% of male participants. Interestingly, it would seem that these findings correlate with the stereotype that women view themselves as more vulnerable. However it is important to note that some male participants may have been unwilling to admit to fear, in order to maintain their masculinity. This would support Sutton & Farral's (2005) findings, although this would be difficult to measure. It is also interesting that there were five male participants who admitted to being afraid of crime. Thus, the concept of masculinity clearly cannot apply to all males. This was a critical finding, contradicting the results of previous studies showing that only women fear crime.
The male participants who admitted their fear provided clear explanations as to the type of crime and why they feared it. Four of them admitted to being afraid of being assaulted, identifying physical assault as their main fear. It is interesting to note that these four participants had previously been victims of assault, or knew someone who had. One explained:
"I was assaulted on a student night out and it was quite a horrific experience. The offender was intoxicated which makes me fearful that something similar could happen on another night out."
It would seem that because they had been a victim of physical assault or knew someone who had been, this had made them more fearful, arguably, because it made such crimes more real. This is linked to Eschholz et al.'s (2003) study which theorised that seeing violent crimes reported in local news makes people feel fearful, as the crimes seem more real. This finding is in conflict with the fear expressed by the female participants, 12 out of 18 of whom identified sexual assault as the most feared crime. When further investigation was made as to why females fear this crime, one participant expressed:
"I think it's [sexual assault] one of the worst types of crime, taking something from you that is so personal and cannot be replaced... During my time at university there have been lots of assaults on females in Singleton Park when walking home from Uni. The park has little street lighting and can be a perfect environment to commit such crimes, making students unsafe, especially during the winter when it becomes dark at the time some lectures finish."
This was a quantified theme that emerged from the qualitative data, which provides an insight into why females fear sexual assault so much, and identifies particular areas where students feel unsafe. These findings could be beneficial for the local authority to use when considering how to make Swansea a safer place for students, and is something that the British Crime Survey fails to research. Another remarkable finding concerning types of crime that are feared was that none of the participants identified a fear of 'petty crime'. This could be due to it not being seen as a serious crime that causes emotional and physical damage to victims. Arguably any damage caused by petty crimes, e.g. vandalism, can easily be fixed. When relating this to the literature, it would seem that these crimes are not viewed as serious because they are rarely included in media reports, which prefer to cover crimes that include elements of seriousness and negativity (Greer, 2003). Petty crimes would not fit this criteria, hence the lack of media coverage.
Media reports lead nicely on to analysing answers from Question 9, regarding what influenced the participants' fear of crime. 32.5% believed that their own personal experiences caused them to fear particular crimes. This is correlated with answers from Question 3 which showed the model answer to be "yes they had been a victim of crime", with 60% of participants stating this. Another influence that was present in the findings was peer experiences, 27.5% of participants claiming that their peers' experiences influenced their own fear of crime. Again this relates to answers from Question 4 presenting the model answer as "yes they knew someone who had been a victim of crime", expressed by 70% of participants.
The most common answer regarding influences was the media, 40% of participants stating that the media influenced their fear of crime. Previous studies have shown that the media does have a direct link to the fear of crime (Eschholz et al., 2003; Garland, 2000). This is supported by the findings in this study. Question 10 was a likert scale asking how much the media influenced the participants' fear of crime. The mode answer for this question was "a lot", 64% of this answer coming from female participants. This was explored further through a qualitative question, which discovered through a content analysis that most people felt that the types of crimes often reported in the media tended to be those they feared the most. One participant expressed:
"The media always portray violent crimes as the ones which occur the most, e.g. rape and murder, so this makes me think that I'm more likely to be a victim of those crimes than others like theft."
As well as supporting the literature, interestingly the findings from Question 8 showed that the media influences the majority of participants (mode answer) to "agree" that crime is a particular problem in Swansea. Again, this can be linked to the crime feared by most participants being assault. This is not helped by media coverage on assaults in Swansea, the university newspaper being just one source which has reported copiously on the attacks. "Students in fear after 88 assaults in 6 months" (May, 2012) is just one of the headlines in the student newspaper. It is not surprising that students who read articles like this then experience the same fears presented in it. This fear is challenged when analysing Question 7, as the mode answer on the likert scale was that the majority of participants agreed that they felt safe being a student in Swansea. However, when looked at more closely, there is a gender difference, as 60% of females either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, which supports the view that media coverage of assaults in Swansea does have an impact on making these females feel unsafe. This is compared to 70% of males who strongly agreed or agreed that they felt safe.
Finally, the analysis of the findings focuses on the measures identified by participants to reduce fear of crime. This question was open-ended, to give each participant the opportunity to make their own suggestions. Being qualitative data, the answers given were categorised into key themes to measure which response to fear was given most commonly. The most frequent answer was to increase police presence on the streets. This is a common suggestion by academics, as the public often feel that if they can see police officers, it will deter people from committing crimes and thus reduce the fear of victimisation (Chadee, 2003). Interestingly when examining the suggestions, four female participants made recommendations for self-defence classes to be readily available in universities and secondary schools. Furthermore, three males suggested that harsher punishments were needed to deter criminals from committing crimes. Although both of these suggestions may reduce fear of crime and make students feel safer in Swansea, it shows that the males focus more attention on addressing issues relating to deterring offenders, whereas females focus more on changing their own lifestyles to feel safer.
This study aimed to answer the following research question:
'To what extent do students in Swansea fear crime?'
Analysing the data collected, it is clear that students in Swansea do fear crime. However, there is a gender difference, the fear lying mainly among female participants. The study discovered that assault is the main crime feared, and various reasons were given as to why this should be, some being influenced by personal and peer experiences. However, the majority of participants identified the media as the main influence, due to the frequency of reports of serious crimes. The study also discovered measures that participants felt would reduce fear of crime: more street-lighting, self-defence classes and, most commonly identified, greater police presence. The findings from this study could assist the local authority with ways to address the fear of crime. If further research were possible, the sample could be extended to other groups within society, for example, the elderly or teenagers in order to gain wider results. Further research could also be completed into whether the concept of masculinity has an effect on males admitting to being in fear or not.
Brownmiller, S. (1975), Against our will: Men, women and rape, New York: Fawcett Books
Bruntonâ€Smith, I. & Sturgis, P. (2011), Do neighbourhoods generate fear of crime? An empirical test using the British Crime.Â Criminology,Â 49 (2), pp 331-369
Chadee, D. (2003), Fear of crime and risk of victimization: An ethnic comparison.Â Social and Economic Studies, 52 (1), pp 73-97
Cheit, R. E. (2003), What hysteria? A systematic study of newspaper coverage of accused child molesters. Child Abuse and Neglect, 27 (6), pp 607-623
Dantzker, M. L. & Hunter, R. D. (2006),Â Research methods for criminology and criminal justice: A primer. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Dowler, K. (2003), Media consumption and public attitudes toward crime and justice: The relationship between fear of crime, punitive attitudes, and perceived police effectiveness.Â Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture,Â 10 (2), pp 109-126
Ericson, R. V. (1991), Mass media, crime, law and justice, British Journal of Criminology, 31 (3), pp 219-49
Eschholz, S. (1997), Media and Fear of Crime: A Survey of the Research, Journal of Law and Public Policy,Â 9 (1), pp 37-59
Eschholz, S., Chiricos, T. & Gertz, M. (2003), Television and fear of crime: Program types, audience traits, and the mediating effect of perceived neighborhood racial composition.Â Social problems,Â 50 (3), pp 395-415
Fairchild, K. & Rudman, L. (2008), Everyday stranger harassment and women's objectification. Social justice research, 21 (3), pp 338-357
Garland, D. (2000), The Culture of Control. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Gerbner, G., & Gross, L. (1976), Living with television: The violence profile. Journal of communication,Â 26 (2), pp 172-194.
Gray, E., Jackson, J. & Farrall, S. (2011), Feelings and functions in the fear of crime: Applying a new approach to victimisation insecurity.Â British journal of criminology,Â 51 (1), pp 75-94
Greer, C. (2003), Sex crime and the media: sex offending and the press in a divided society. Cullompton: Willan.
Heath, L. & Gilbert, K. (1996), Mass media and fear of crime.Â American Behavioral Scientist,Â 39 (4), pp 379-386
Home Office (2011) Crime in England and Wales 2010/11: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime (2nd Edition), London: Home Office Statistical Bulletin
Home Office (2010) Crime in England and Wales 2009/10: Findings from the British Crime
Survey and police recorded crime (3rd Edition), London: Home Office Statistical Bulletin
Kanan, J. W. & Pruitt, M. V. (2002), Modeling fear of crime and perceived victimization risk: The (in) significance of neighborhood integration.Â Sociological Inquiry,Â 72 (4), pp 527-548
Koss, M. P., Gidycz, C. A. & Wisniewski, N. (1987), The scope of rape: Incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of higher education students.Â Journal of consulting and clinical psychology,Â 55 (2), pp 162-170
Mawby, R. I. (2007), Alternative Measures of 'Fear of Crime ': Results from Crime Audits in a Rural County of England.Â International Review of Victimology,14 (3), pp 299-320
May, J. (2012), Students In Fear After 88 Assaults In 6 Months, The Waterfront, 10th December 2012, http://waterfrontonline.co.uk/news/students-in-fear-after-88-assaults-in-6-months , accessed 16/04/13
Matthews, B. & Ross, L. (2010), Research Methods: A Practical Guide for the Social Sciences, Harlow: Pearson LTD.
Noaks, L. & Wincup, E. (2004),Â Criminological research: Understanding qualitative methods. SAGE Publications Limited
Reiner, R. (1997), 'Crime and the media', in Maguire, M., Morgan, R., and Reiner, R, The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Robson, C. (2011), Real world research (3rd Ed), West Sussex: John Wiley & sons Ltd
Schafer, J. A., Huebner, B. M. & Bynum, T. S. (2006), Fear of crime and criminal victimization: Gender-based contrasts. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34 (3), pp 285-301
Snell, C. (2010), Neighborhood Structure, Crime and Fear of Crime: Testing Bursik and Grasmick's Neighborhood Control Theory. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC.
Stanko, E. (1995), Women, crime and fear. Annals of the American academy of political and social science, 539, pp 48-58
Stewart, O., Vernez Moudon, A. & Claybrooke, C. (2012), Common ground: Eight factors that influence walking and biking to school.Â Transport Policy,Â 24, pp 240-248
Sutton, R. M. & Farrall, S. (2005), Gender, Socially Desirable Responding and the Fear of Crime Are Women Really More Anxious about Crime?.Â British Journal of Criminology,Â 45 (2), pp 212-224
Swatt, M. L., Varano, S. P., Uchida, C. D. & Solomon, S. E. (2013), Fear of crime, incivilities, and collective efficacy in four Miami neighborhoods.Â Journal of Criminal Justice,Â 41 (1), pp 1-11
Taylor, R. B. & Covington, J. (1993), Community structural change and fear of crime.Â Social Problems, 40 (3), 374-397
Tourangeau, R., Rips, L. J. & Rasinski, K. (2000),Â The psychology of survey response. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Appendix 1 - Ethical approval form
Criminology and Criminal Justice System
Title of Proposed Research
To what extent do students in Swansea fear crime?
Member of staff
Postgraduate or undergraduate students should give the name of the academic supervising or overseeing their work
Ethical Evaluation: Do you need ethical approval or not?
If you are in doubt about whether or not you need to obtain ethics approval you need to check the ethical code of conduct for your professional body if any and the ESRC Research Ethics Framework: www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/opportunities/research_ethics_framework/
Please answer all questions by ticking the box YES NO
Does your project involve participants who are particularly vulnerable or unable to give informed consent? (e.g. people under 18; people with learning disabilities; students you teach/assess)
Will it be necessary for participants to take part in the study without their informed consent at the time? (e.g. covert observation)
Will any financial inducements (other than reasonable expenses / compensation for time) be offered to participants?
Will the study involve discussion of sensitive topics in a personal, social, cultural, or commercial sense? (e.g. sexual activity, bereavement, drug use, illegal activities, whistleblowing)
Will the project gather data from risky participants or difficult environments (e.g. working with the general public in their homes)
Could the study place researchers or participants at risk of physical or psychological harm, distress, or negative consequences beyond the risks encountered in normal life?
Does the study involve the use of secondary (survey) data for which you have not agreed to accept the conditions of release set by the data depository, which protects the anonymity of respondents. [Aggregate series available publicly are exempt]
Will the study involve recruitment of patients or staff through the NHS?
If your research involves human subjects, will arrangements be made to ensure that data obtained from/about participants remains confidential? [if your research does not involve human subjects, tick white box]
If you ticked a WHITE box for ALL questions in the checklist, further ethical approval from the School's REC is not required. Simply sign and return this form as indicated on page 3.
If you are applying for Research Council or other External funding which involves collecting data from human participants, then, if successful, you will need to submit an ethics approval form to the School's REC and obtain ethics approval before work can commence.
Briefly describe the main aims of the research you wish to undertake. Please use non-technical language wherever possible.
To investigate the ways crime is feared by students
To discover whether a gender difference can be found when fearing crime
To investigate whether the media influences how the public fear crime
To investigate the ways students feel the fear of crime can be reduced
Briefly describe the overall design of the project
Briefly describe the methods of data collection and analysis. Please describe all measures to be employed. If questionnaire or interviews are to be used, please append the questionnaire / interview questions and schedule.
A questionnaire will be used containing both open and closed questions
Location of the proposed research
Swansea university campus
Describe the participants: give the age range, gender, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and any particular characteristics pertinent to the research project.
An equal mix of both male and female students in Swansea university.
How will the participants be selected and/or recruited?
Convenience sample - an equal number of males and female will be approached
What procedures (e.g., interviews, computer-based learning tasks, etc.) will be carried out on the participants?
Face to face questionnaires
What potential risks to the participants do you foresee and how do you propose to ameliorate/deal with potential risks? For instance, provide contact details of Counselling services and relevant community support organizations, etc.
Minimising risk by fully briefing participants on the aims of the research project
Conducting a pilot study to ensure all questions are appropriate to use
What potential risks to the interests of the researchers do you foresee and how will you ameliorate/deal with potential risks?
The research will be conducted during day light, the university security will be informed of the research being carried out. Informed consent forms will also be collected from each participant and a pilot study will also help determine any risks and how to overcome them.
How will you brief and debrief participants? (Please attach copy of debrief information to be given to participants) If they will not be debriefed, give reasons for this.
- Informed consent form
- Explain the aims of the research project and talk through questions with participants
- Questions are not sufficiently sensitive and the necessary steps will be taken to protect participants, however, contact details will be left with participants in case they require a debrief.
Will informed consent be sought from participants? Will participants be informed of the proposed use of the data?
Yes (Please attach a copy of the consent form)
If no, please explain below:
If there are doubts about participants' abilities to give informed consent, what steps have you taken to ensure that they are willing to participate?
If participants are under 18 years of age, please describe how you will seek informed consent. If the proposed research is to be conducted in a school, please describe how you will seek general consent from the relevant authorities and attach a copy of any written consent.
How will consent be recorded?
Participants will sign a form which they can take away with them, they will also sign on their questionnaire so that the research also has a copy of consent
Will participants be informed of the right to withdraw without penalty?
If no, please detail the reasons for this:
How do you propose to ensure participants' confidentiality and anonymity? Please state who will have access to the data and what measures will be adopted to maintain the confidentiality of research subjects and to comply with data protection requirements? What will happen to the data at the end of the proposed project?
Not recording any names of the participants, therefore results will be anonymous.
Keeping digital copies of data locked away with password protection
Keeping any hard copies of data in a secure place which only the researcher can access
Destroying any hard copies of data that are no longer needed
Please describe which of the following will be involved in your arrangements for storing data:
Manual files (e.g. paper documents or X-rays)
Home or other personal computer
Private company or work-based computer
Other (please define)
Please explain, for each of the above, the arrangements you will make for the security of the data (please note that any data stored on computer must have password protection as a minimum requirement):
Will payments or subject pool credits be made to participants?
If yes, please specify quantities involved (e.g., £5 or 1 hour credits):
I am satisfied that all ethical issues have been identified and that satisfactory procedures are in place to deal with those issues in this research project. I will abide by the procedures described in this form.
Signature of Applicant:
Supervisor declaration (for student research only)
I have discussed the ethics of the proposed research with the student and am satisfied that all ethical issues have been identified and that satisfactory procedures are in place to deal with those issues in this research project.
Signature of Supervisor:
CHECKLIST OF ATTACHMENTS:
PLEASE REMEMBER TO ATTACH COPIES OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING (WHERE RELEVANT)
*INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED*
Copy of Participant Information Sheet
Copy of Consent Form
Copy of Participant debrief
Copy of any questionnaires and/or interview schedules to be employed
Copy of written consent from local authorities or other government bodies
If your proposed research is with 'vulnerable' groups (e.g., children, people with developmental disorder), please attach a copy of your clearance letter from the Criminal Records Bureau (if UK) or equivalent non-UK clearance.
Ethic Committee Use Only
Considered by Research Ethics Committee/ Chair's Action (delete as applicable) on: (Date)
Amend and Resubmit
If your proposal is not accepted, please ensure that you take account of these comments and prepare a revised submission that should be either shown to your supervisor (if you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student) or resubmitted (if you are a member of staff) to the School's Ethics Committee. Unresolved issues will be referred to the University's Ethics Committee.
Signed Off by member Ethics Committee:
Appendix 2 - Informed consent form
To what extent do students in Swansea fear crime?
Thank you for your participation in this questionnaire, the information that you submit will be hugely beneficial to this undergraduate Criminology research project.
The main aim of this study is to investigate: 'To what extent do students in Swansea fear crime?'
The data that you will provide will go towards understanding and exploring of the extent to which, and the types of crime that are feared by students, the ways this fear can be reduced and whether the media influences the public's fear of crime.
By signing this consent form you are giving your consent for me to use your responses in my third year project. All information gathered from this questionnaire is kept confidential and anonymous. It will be password protected and none of the information collected will be used for any other project or given to other parties.
This questionnaire is voluntary and I must stress that you have the right to withdraw from this study at any time you wish. You also do not have to answer any question which makes you feel uncomfortable. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding this questionnaire please contact one of the following:
Researcher: Sophie Holliss - email@example.com
Research Supervisor: Pamela Ugwudike -Â P.Ugwudike@swansea.ac.uk
Appendix 3 - Sample questionnaire
Fear of Crime questionnaire
Gender: Female male
Age: 18-20 21-23 24+
Have you ever been a victim of a crime? Yes No
3a. If yes, what type of crime?
Assault Burglary Petty crime Theft Other (Please state)
Do you know anyone that has been a victim of a crime? Yes No
4a. If yes, what type of crime?
Assault Burglary Petty crime Theft Other (Please state)
Are you afraid of being a victim of crime? Yes No
5a. If yes, which crime do you fear the most?
Assault Burglary Petty crime Theft Other (Please state)
5b. Why do you fear that crime the most?
What measures do you think could reduce the fear of crime?
"I feel safe being a student in Swansea" Do you...?
Strongly agree Agree Unsure Disagree Strongly disagree
2 3 4 5
"Crime is a particular problem in Swansea" Do you...?
Strongly agree Agree Unsure Disagree Strongly disagree
1 2 3 4 5
What influences your fear of crime the most?
Personal experience Media influence Peers experience Other (Please state)
How much does the mass media influence your fear of crime?
Not at all A little A lot
1 2 3
Why do you feel this way?