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OCR G543 - Evaluate the use of a longitudinal research design when considering upbringing as an explanation for criminal behaviour.

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Introduction

Forensic Psychology 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.’s, have many extraneous variables that can affect the validity of the results. This is not an issue for studies like Wikstrom & Täfel’s Peterborough Youth Study, which was a snapshot study – a ...read more.

Middle

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 ?socially desirable? answer, instead of the truth, lowering the reliability of the self report technique. When studying upbringing and it?s role in criminality and turning to crime, it is important that the sample used is as unbiased as possible. This is a problem for longitudinal studies as there may be a limit on the number of people willing to participate for such a lengthy procedure. Farrington used 411 boys from the East End of London and studied them for forty years (from ages 8/9-48/49) ...read more.

Conclusion

Quantitative data is useful in this instance because the participants’ criminal records were analysed numerically in accordance with criminal activity over time to collect the data (Wikstrom & Täfel also did this with school reports). In conclusion, longitudinal studies are very useful for observing changes in behaviour over time – much more so than snapshot studies because they can register changes in behaviour at different points on a person’ life. The use of self reports mean psychologists can delve deeper and to learn why a certain criminal act was committed by an individual and the motives behind it by asking open questions with room for elaboration and justification of actions – important details that quantitative measures exclude. Longitudinal studies also allow psychologists to look at how exposure to criminal activities at a young age can affect partiality to crime later in life. Mark awarded: 15 ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is a highly-detailed, confident and competent response from the candidate here. There is every indication this candidate has a profound knowledge of the two studies cited in this essay (Farrington, et al.'s study in delinquent development and Wikstrom and ...

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Response to the question

This is a highly-detailed, confident and competent response from the candidate here. There is every indication this candidate has a profound knowledge of the two studies cited in this essay (Farrington, et al.'s study in delinquent development and Wikstrom and Tafel's Peterborough Youth Study). They use both studies well and the analysis is succinctly tied to them. The candidate also demonstrates abilities to and beyond an A grade in A Level Psychology based on their proficiency and confidence with complex psychological terminology, with helps to fortify the answer with an air of professionalism, and shows the examiner the knowledge possessed by this candidate. The answer reads well and the information is easy to take in due to a clear presentation of information; a model answer.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is very good, although not quite as perfect overall. The candidate write fluently, and addresses a number of evaluation points when looking at the use of longitudinal research hen undertaking studies into criminality. The comparisons between Farrington and Wikstrom & Tafel allows for a balanced, insightful argument based around each studies strengths and differences as they utilise both the longitudinal and the snapshot method. Perhaps a further longitudinal study (possibly Kohlberg?) would be prudent to show there is a primary focus on this design, as it is what the question specifically asks for, however the comparisons snapshot study is an illuminating contrast and allows the candidate to showcase a broad knowledge of the psychology of criminality and how to evaluate studies into it.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication poses no problem whatsoever. The answer's use of language is fresh and engaging, steering away from typical analytical syntaxes such as "This is a strength/weakness"... "It is a strength/weakness because"... "This is shown in the study by..." etc. The discourse is fluid and runs confidently, and the use of psychological terminology is extensive, accurate and impressive.


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