Module code: SOCM033

Module provider


Module Leader

HUBBARD KA Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Seminar Hours: 20

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK - Ex.1 50
Coursework COURSEWORK - Ex.2 50

Alternative Assessment

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module aims to consider how research methods can inform practice and policy in the CJS to ensure that it is ‘evidence based’

The module will centre upon two key research methods which standardly inform criminal justice policy and practice – the use of surveys and the evaluation of current or proposed interventions. It will explore some of the standard requirements of these methods such as precision, accuracy, representation, conformity to random control trials and sensitivity to the needs of research sponsors.

It will consider how the interests of practitioners and the politics of criminal justice policy might impact upon the research process and critically evaluate the extent to which policy and practice really can be ‘evidence based’ as a result of such pressures.


Module aims

Consider the significance of evidence based research in shaping criminal justice practice and policy

Develop an understanding of survey design and research as an evidential basis for criminal justice policy

Develop an understanding of evaluation research as an evidential basis for criminal justice policy

Critically evaluate the extent to which criminal justice policy is ‘evidence based'

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Understand the basic methodological principles underpinning research and evaluation KC
Appreciate some of the technical, practical and ethical issues encountered when evaluating criminal justice interventions KC
Critically assess evidence-based policy research reports KC
Design a questionnaire and understand the pros and cons of a range of survey designs KCT
Identify sources of error in survey measurements and be aware of how they can be prevented and removed KP
Distinguish between evidence based and non evidence based forms of criminal justice policy PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content


Indicative content includes:

the significance of evidence based research in shaping criminal justice practice and policy
experimental and quasi-experimental research designs
basic principles of evaluation research: types of evaluation
realistic evaluation
qualitative approaches to research and evaluation
systematic reviews and meta analysis
 evaluating crime reduction programmes, crime prevention initiatives and the effectiveness of court sentences
history, theory and logic of the sample survey
the art and the science of questionnaire design
data sources and modes of data collection
errors in data; threats to validity and the reliability of estimates

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to reflect the programme’s key learning and teaching aims by:


Developing students’ in-depth understanding of the function of evidence in shaping criminal justice theory, practice and policy:
Developing skills in survey design and evaluation;
Indicating the extent to which such methods serve to produce evidence with;
Developing key study skills that relate to employability.


The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures (1 hour per week)

Seminars (1 hour per week)

Class exercises

Class discussions

Independent study

Sessions focus on practical and theoretical approaches to evidence in the criminal justice context. This includes applied sessions dealing with the design of surveys and techniques for evaluating programmes or policies.

Sessions are split between lectures which aim to provide a broad introduction to a topic and a workshop session which aims to allow more in-depth discussion of key issues and to engage in practical exercises which enhance knowledge in more practical ways

Each session involves a mixture of practical exercises, primary reading and class discussions. Additional reading is strongly encouraged too.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop practical and theoretical skills in survey design and evaluation and to demonstrate how these methods may (or may not) serve a evidential underpininngs for criminal justice practice.

The summative assessment for this module consists of two exercises; a critique of a piece of evaluation research and the design of a questionnaire.

Informal formative assessment is conducted throughout the module during seminars where students have the opportunity to engage in exercises and readings and to receive feedback on how they are progressing.

The final session provides students with an opportunity to present their analyses of a piece of evaluation research in a formal setting. This provides formative feedback enabling them to complete their final assessment more effectively

Reading list

Reading list for EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE IN CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/socm033

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.