Methods of research for criminology

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Thursday 18:30 – 21:20

Lecture venue

Course description

This course is designed to introduce students to research methods, and the basics of quantitative statistics and qualitative methods in the field of criminology. Students will learn how to consume and critique information provided by social scientific research. The course will also incorporate an interdisciplinary approach and expose students to the use of research methods in other disciplines. Students will become well-equipped to conduct independent research study.

Course learning outcomes

  1. Understand the ethical issues, methods of research design, measurement, data collection, and data analysis in criminology research.
  2. Identify and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different research methodologies.
  3. Develop reading, presentation, critical and reflective thinking, and writing abilities. Become an active learner and apply the knowledge to the field of criminology, other disciplines, and non-research related aspects of everyday lives.


Class Discussion & Exercises20%
Article Critique20%
Group Presentation – Group15%
Group Presentation – Individual15%

Required reading

Maxfield, Michael G., and Earl R. Babbie. Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology. Eighth edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2017.

Ellis, Lee, Richard D. Hartley, and Anthony Walsh.Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology : an Interdisciplinary Approach. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010.

Weisburd, David et al.Basic Statistics in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Fifth edition / David Weisburd, Chester Britt, David B. Wilson and Alese Wooditch. Cham: Springer, 2020.

All required readings are available online on HKU library.

Recommended reading

Additional articles for each week will be posted to Moodle. Students must read them before class.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

It has been a delightful experience to learn about Criminology research methods through vivid examples and interesting opportunities provided by this course.

– Joyce Lam, Year 1 MSocSc Criminology student