Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Review 1 of "'I’m no expert on qualitative methods, but I’ll know if you write crap': Qualitative Research, Done Dissertations, & Phronetic Criminology"


Published onSep 27, 2021
Review 1 of "'I’m no expert on qualitative methods, but I’ll know if you write crap': Qualitative Research, Done Dissertations, & Phronetic Criminology"

Vote: Reject

[For votes to count, referees must reasonably explain why they voted as they did. Thus, please explain your vote. If you voted to publish pending minor changes, specify each change, why it is needed, and, possibly, how it should/could be done.]

The aim of the manuscript is to provide an example of how to carry out and publish qualitative research in the field. The author contextualizes this aim by pointing to research that shows qualitative methods are often underused in the field and that many people do not get training in the method during graduate school. The author then promotes the value of using “phronetic criminology” as a framework for doing qualitative research, using their dissertation as an example of this approach.

The aim of the manuscript is valuable as the field of criminology and criminal justice do tend to devalue qualitative methods. The main limitation of the manuscript is that it does not offer new information. The core of the manuscript is a discussion of phronetic criminology and a discussion of the methods of the author’s dissertation. Accordingly, the manuscript is a summary of past work (the author’s and Tracy’s). I do not think this is a significant contribution to the literature. Perhaps, the authors could expand the manuscript by offering new innovations in phronetic criminology (or something of their own creation).

Also, the manuscript touches on philosophy of science as it relates to qualitative methods, even acknowledging that qualitative methods has multiple philosophies to from which to draw, but then seems to come down on the side of a positivist philosophy as the way to do research. I am not sure if the author intended this to be the case, but it is how I read the manuscript. This philosophy of science negates the work of constructivists, interpretivists, and critical scholars who look to generate data and knowledge using other approaches. The discussion on page 13 about the importance of being value-free also negates the work of critical scholars who argue that we should make value judgements in what we study, how we study, and how we respond to findings.

When revising I would also reconsider the IRB example given. If the aim is to show how this approach can be valuable for researchers in general then this example is too idiosyncratic. Others will not have these types of IRB hurdles or have someone like Jannelly to be the solution. This example creates the impression that the manuscript is more about the author’s dissertation than a broad approach to doing qualitative research.

Also, consider removing the discussion about how it is possible to have a career using qualitative methods. I think there enough examples of successful criminologists who use the method to make this seem unnecessary. 

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?