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Title: The 'crime scene' experiment : improving public knowledge through the provision of factual information on crime and criminal justice
Author: Feilzer, Martina Yvonne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3458 8103
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores the relationship between crime, media, and public opinion of crime and criminal justice. It sets out current levels of knowledge and contemporary debates in each of the three academic disciplines devoted to these aspects of social life, and discusses how they relate to each other. It focuses on the capacity of information and public education to influence levels of public knowledge of and, as a secondary concern, attitudes towards, crime and criminal justice. The empirical research at the heart of the thesis employed a mixed methods research study drawing on quantitative – experimental research using a public opinion survey – as well as qualitative research methods – in-depth interviews and contextual data. The experimental research, the Oxford Public Opinion Survey and the publication of the Crime Scene column, was designed to measure the impact of providing factual information about crime and criminal justice to the public in a naturalistic way, i.e. by using a local newspaper column as the conveyor of such information. The key finding from the research was that readership of the column was low and that the column had no measurable impact on readers. Overall, the research findings suggest that interest in, take-up, and retention of factual information on crime and criminal justice is not as high as previous empirical research has suggested. The Crime Scene study has implications for sociological theories of crime and punishment which rely on simplistic orthodoxies concerning the media’s importance in influencing public opinion on crime and criminal justice and the related assumption that ‘the public’ is straightforwardly punitive.
Supervisor: Young, Richard ; Roberts, Julian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Criminology ; public opinion ; mixed-methods research ; experiment ; knowledge