Evaluate the Use of a Longitudinal Research Design When Considering Upbringing as an Explanation for Criminal Behaviour.

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Q) Evaluate the use of a longitudinal research design when considering upbringing as an explanation for criminal behaviour. (15)

A) Longitudinal studies are psychological investigations carried out over a long period of time, or at various intervals over a long period of time. They allow psychologists to study changes in behaviour and, for instance, partiality to crime, and how this behaviour and the attitudes of those partaking in such behaviour change over time and why.

But there is a flaw in the fact that longitudinal studies like Farrington, et al., have many extraneous variables that can affect the validity of the results. This is not an issue for studies like Wikstrom & Tafels Peterborough Youth Study, which was a snapshot study â a study conducted at just one point in time â and consists of a singular analysis of the school reports of 2,000 14/15 year olds and one interview, thus making the practicality of psychological research far easier than the 40 year-long longitudinal study Farrington conducted.

On top of this, the most commonly used approach to collecting data from longitudinal research is self-report; both Farrington and Wikstrom & Tafel used them. Self-report techniques are a good indicator of partiality to criminal behaviour because you can ask personal questions and learn about smaller crimes that unreliable criminal records (used by Farrington in a bid for concurrent validity) and school reports (used by Wikstrom and Tafel for the same purpose) omit. But in spite of this, self-report may be subject to withheld information or social desirability in which the participant may feel pressured to reply to questions with a social desirability bias answer, instead of the truth, lowering the reliability of the self-report technique.

When studying upbringing and its role in criminality and turning to crime, it is important that the sample used…...

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