Perspectives on Social Research

Order Description

Question: What difference does using different research methods make?
Please choose one of the following topics from any in the list below and write an essay of not more

than 3,000 words providing a comparison of two research methods your ‘home’ discipline would

utilise in examining one of the following topics.

f) Missing persons

Guidance
Your account needs to focus on the research methods used in investigating the topic rather than

producing a research proposal.
You need to be producing a comparison between different methods in investigating a particular

topic, and showing how the different methods inter-relate with the topic.
The following might be a useful guide in thinking about the essay:
a. The conceptual issues that your chosen topic raises
b. The challenges of researching in this area, either from a primary or secondary research

perspective
c. The particular methods your home discipline might employ for research in this area, their

appropriateness, and the constraints they might put upon your research.
d. The difference that using alternative methods might make to your answer in c.
e. The use of theory in research in these areas, and the way that this structures research
f. Other methodological aspects you believe are appropriate, and which are derived from research in

your specific topic area or from the methods literature.

I have started an essay (below) to give an overview of what I require:
What difference does using different research methods make? Provide a comparison of two research

methods your ‘home’ discipline would utilise in examining missing persons
Introduction
This essay will provide a comparison of two methods commonly used in the author’s home discipline;

criminology, to research Missing persons. This paper will introduce the topic, using existing

research to illustrate challenges that will need to be considered by researchers in this area. It

will then look at a method regularly adopted by criminologists, and consider the appropriateness of

this method, the limitations that this places on the researcher and benefits that are to be gained

through this method. It will also show how the research question influences the choice of method.

An alternative method will then be discussed, again examining the limitations and benefits for the

researcher. Throughout, this paper will consider the philosophical assumptions of the chosen method

and how that impacts on the ability to answer the research question. Finally, the author will

discuss the most appropriate method, of the two chosen, to research this area.
Missing Persons

There are multiple issues that contribute towards children and young people within the looked after

system running away from a children’s home, which leads to them being reported as missing.

Individuals who go missing are putting themselves at potential risk and increased likelihood of

involvement with crime (Shalev, 2010). More recently, following a series of high profile

prosecutions, attention has been drawn to the risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and the links

to children in care (Greene & Alys, 2016), and research is beginning to look at the factors that

influence this. The reasons why people go missing are recorded following each police investigation.

These are then grouped, or coded, into categories as specified by the National Crime Agency

(Missing Persons Bureau, 2015) It is worth knowing that the reasons recorded are subject to

disclosure by the young person and interpretation by the police officer involved. This may be why

47% of the 16313 respondents in an 11-17 years of age category were recorded as “intentionally

missing” or “because of a relationship”. Almost 47% of those missing, who were questioned, refused

to give a reason or an unknown was recorded

I had considered Surveys and Semi Structured Interviews as the two methods that I’d like to discuss
The references can include 2 or 3 internet sources and MUST contain references to Greener, I.

(2011) Designing social research : a guide for the bewildered. London: SAGE.
Bryman, A. (2008) Social research methods. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bryman, A. (1992) Quantity and quality in social research. London: Routledge
Blaikie, N.W.H. (1993) ‘Introduction’, in Approaches to social enquiry. Cambridge: Polity Press, or

Blaikie, N.W.H. (2007) Approaches to social enquiry : advancing knowledge. 2nd edn. Cambridge:

Polity.
I additional items from my reading list if required

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