This research proposal aims to identify the contributing factors to onset delinquency in adolescents in the UK. Adolescent delinquency is also known as juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency is a big issue in the UK and is an issue which is very discussed about in in media. There is an apparent need for juvenile delinquency prevention as young offenders often do not cope well with the criminal justice system (NSW Law Reform Commission, 2005). However, in order for effective prevention methods to be put in place, the factors that contribute to young people becoming involved in criminal activity needs to be identified so that these factors can be dealt with appropriately. The idea of this research proposal is based on a topic of research which has already ben looked at before however this research proposal will explore the topic in further depth and detail.
This research proposal is sociologically relevant as it provides information which develops individual understanding of the sociological factors which contribute to adolescent delinquency. This information is particularly relevant for public agencies, youth monitoring programs and criminal justice studies as it could potentially help them improve policies and services that are put in place for youth offenders. Hopefully the results of this research would be able to reach the relevant parties who could then see to implement community awareness campaigns and policies that assist family members and adolescents, and youth services which runs mentoring programs for young people. With the combination of community and government involvement in preventing onset of young offenders, juvenile delinquency could be minimized for good. According to (Seymour, 1979), “the prevention of juvenile delinquencies involve a wide range of policies which is provisioned for community services, youth and family units.” With this being said, prevention studies are equally as important. Although the criminal justice system provides rehabilitation for juvenile delinquents, often the system is unpleasant.
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This study of juvenile delinquent onset prevention aims to assist youth before they need the criminal justice system. Literature review Although there are a number of sociological factors which contribute to adolescent delinquency, the factors that will be focused on in this research proposal are childhood maltreatment, neighbourhood disadvantage and lack of monitoring in adolescents. according to research done, childhood maltreatment is a contributing factor in the development of delinquencies (Crooks, Scott, Wolfe, Chiodo, Killip, 2007; Stuewig, McCloskey, 2005). In the article; ‘Understanding the Link between Childhood Maltreatment and Violent Delinquency: What does Schools Have to Add?’ (Crooks, Scoot, Wolfe, Chiodo, Killip, 2007), their research looked at the link between childhood maltreatment and the development of delinquent behaviour. In their research, the adolescents who experienced maltreatment were assessed using The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and additional questions were added for those who were involve in some sort of domestic violence. They also explore other topics such as whether the school the adolescent attended played a role in their delinquent behaviour or not. The results of the research showed that the adolescents that experienced childhood maltreatment were more involved in delinquent behaviour than the adolescents that didn’t.
Youth who grow up in disadvantage neighbourhood where gangs reside tend to be more prone to the opportunity of delinquency (Dupere, Lacourse, Willms, Vitaro, Tremblay, 2007). In their journal Affiliation to youth Gangs During Adolescence: Tendencies and Neighbourhood Disadvantage, they studied on the affiliation of youth in gangs, they research aimed to find out the correlation between growing up in a disadvantaged neighbourhood and becoming involved in delinquent behaviour. The respondents measured were 14-15 years old. The findings from the research suggested that youths who grew up in disadvantaged neighbourhoods have a higher tendency of gang affiliation (Dupere, Lacourse, Willms, Vitaro, Tremblay, 2007). According to an online article titled, Adolescents and the Importance of Parental Supervision, (Terrill Bravender, 2016), “High levels of family connectedness have been shown to protect against a variety of adolescent risk behaviours” in the article the author talks about how different parenting approaches have different outcomes. The author argues that parents need to be more involved in the lives of their adolescents, the author poses the question, “It’s 10 pm, do you know where your children are?”. The argument is that parents need to have a close relationship with their adolescent as this alone can play a major role in whether or not their child become involved delinquent behaviour.
Research Design Research design refers to “the overall strategy that is used to choose to integrate the different components of the study in a coherent and logical way.” (Bryman, 2016). Questionnaire is the first design I would employ in this research.
The questionnaire would be created to be given to participants for self-administering. “This method saves time and money if well design questions were formatted in the questionnaires” (Maxfield and Babbie, 2005). There are a number of advantages and disadvantages for using questionnaire as a research design. One advantage of using questionnaire is that a large number of participants quickly and therefore gathers large amounts of data easily making it both time and energy effective. Another advantage to this research technique is that it enables the researcher to collect first hand data, by collecting data first-hand the researcher can be assured that the information received is not biased.
The third advantage to a questionnaire is that it gives the participants time to properly think about their answers rather than in an interview where they will need to answer straight away. Questionnaires can be beneficial for the participant as they can help the participant feel less self-conscious when answering and this will enable them to answer more truthfully. This is because the participant might find social interactions like an interview intimidating whereas the questionnaire will be anonymous so the participant may feel more at ease to answer honestly. Although a questionnaire is a very good research method and has a lot of advantages, it also has a few disadvantages. One disadvantage of questionnaires is that some participants may not fully complete the questionnaire, which leads to lack of data. Another disadvantage to is that participant may misinterpret the questions on the questionnaire and as a result produce false feedback.
Participants may also purposely answer questions falsely to hide their true feelings and opinions, this could be because of conformity and social acceptance. The is known by researchers as “social desirability bias”. Beside questionnaire, Interviews is another design that I would employ in this research.
An advantage of using interviews as a research design is that most questions asked will are likely to be answered in full detail. Another advantage of an interview is that if the participant doesn’t understand the question, they can ask the researcher to explain it further, this will ensure that the question is answered accurately. During an interview the researcher will be able to prompt the participant in order to gain more in-depth answers or ask follow on questions depending on the answer given by the participant. Another advantage of an interview is that the researcher will be able to read the participant’s body language to assess whether or not they were being open and honest about their answers.
Although an interview is a very good research method and has a lot of advantages, it also has a few disadvantages. The first disadvantage to an interview is that the interviewer could potentially influence the participant answer by asking leading follow on question, which would lead to bias results. Another disadvantage of an interview is that they are quite time-consuming meaning the researcher would have to restrict the number of interviews, resulting in less data being collected. When the population is too large for everyone to be studied (almost always), the researcher picks a sub-set of the population, this is known as a ‘sample’. Stratified sampling would be considered as a prime method for questionnaire, interviews, surveys and observations.
The target audience sampled would consist of educators, social workers, family members and students. The variable in sampling the population would vary for each factor which is discussed from the topic. For example, in the factor of ‘childhood maltreatment’, the bulk of the population would be social workers.
The factor of ‘neighbourhood disadvantage’ would attract the population of family members. The factor ‘lack of monitoring in adolescents’ will find bulk of its data coming from the educators. The sample required for this research is setup to be precise and unbiased. To do so, the sampling is specified and the acceptance of response results will be monitored to minimise error in sampling. Research Ethics When undertaking this research there are four key research ethics principles that all researcher must be aware of and abide by, these are: Do no harm to participants This involves physical harm, harm to participants development, stress, loss of self-esteem or revealing their identity. The researcher must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of the participants is put above anything else.
the researcher should also avoid taking personal risks or putting other researchers in a position where they might suffer harm/ be exposed to risk (Rosenhan, 1973) Ensure informed consent Consent is a key issue that the researcher should be aware of. Before any research can take place, the researcher must get the participants consent. Common practice is to encourage participants to sign consent forms as a form of written proof. Also, before the participants can give consent, they must be made “fully” aware of the purpose of the research and what their participation will entail (however, the researcher must be careful as providing the participants with too much information can deter participation). the participants should also be given the opportunity to refuse participation in research if they wish, under no circumstance should they be forced or made feel as though they do not have a choice.
Consent is a key issue in this particular research as a lot of interaction will be with young people aged under 18, I this case consent will be needed from both them and their parent or legal guardian. Do not invade people’s privacy This point is closely related to informed consent and the idea that people ought to be given the opportunity to refuse participation in anything that they feel violates their privacy. This point also raises the issue of confidentiality, the researcher must ensure that any personal information received from the participants is kept confidential and is not shared with anyone else outside of the study as doing this protects the participants right to privacy. No deception It is very important that the researcher is as honest as possible with the participants. Deception is when researcher represents their work as something other than what it is. Although, it is rarely feasible or desirable to provide participants with a totally complete account of what the research is about, the researcher must keep deception to a minimum, and when it is necessary, mitigate its degree and effects as much as possible.
However, with this being said, much research involves an element of deception as the researcher would not want to influence the participants about the research subject