Where are we? Why are we here? where are we going? how do we get there? the future of qualitative research in american criminology

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Qualitative Research in Criminology: Advances in Criminological Theory


This chapter explores the following questions: Why has quantitative research achieved dominance in American criminology, and what implications does this have for the future of qualitative criminological research? It outlines the ways in which quantitative criminology's adoption of the epistemological assumptions and workplace practices of the physical sciences have served to promote its reputation as representing real science. The chapter describes a broader conceptualization of science that recognizes the centrality of qualitative research in the advancement of scientific knowledge. It discusses the adoption of a more inclusive conceptualization of qualitative criminological research that emphasizes its important place in the scientific study of crime and control. Finally, the chapter proposes that qualitative criminological researchers should adopt some of the workplace practices underpinning the dominance of their quantitative counterparts, while capitalizing on the unique strengths of their own disciplinary approach.

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