Developing numeracy in criminology students through crime data

Humphreys, L and Francis, B (2009) Developing numeracy in criminology students through crime data. In: CETL-MSOR proceedings 2008. Maths, Stats and OR Network, pp. 51-56. ISBN 978-0-9555914-5-7

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Abstract

Criminology students at Lancaster, as elsewhere, do not expect quantitative ideas to play a role in their undergraduate degree. Many have poor mathematical skills and have difficulty with the interpretation of data in numerical form. In parallel with this, the Economic and Social Research Council has recognised that many social science undergraduates are not exposed to mathematics and statistics in their degree courses, and this will lead to a lack of quantitative social science researchers for the future. The Council are thus funding the development of innovative undergraduate courses to tackle this problem. This paper describes the characteristics of an innovative course in criminology “Measuring Crime” which introduces second-year students to basic concepts of numeracy, graphics and reading and understanding tables, as well as the various sources of crime data and their similarities and contradictions. It introduces students to the idea of crime data as quantitative information rather than case studies or interviews. It encourages students to plot data and to understand and question the source of commonly voiced research statements. Statistical concepts such as trend lines are also introduced quietly through graphics. Although a shock for many students, the course is in general well received.

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:9. Research Skills, Communication and Dissemination > 9.6 Teaching and Supervising Research Methods
ID Code:847
Deposited By: L-W-S user
Deposited On:19 May 2010 14:09
Last Modified:09 Feb 2012 14:57

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