Fieldwork in Criminology

VIII. Conclusion

Fieldwork continues to evolve and redefine itself along epistemic, methodological, and analytic standpoints. Contemporary fieldworkers, called street ethnographers, continue to write about dilemmas in the field concerning process and outcomes. For example, publications on the emotionality of initiating and sustaining a field study are becoming commonplace, largely because of an increased number of relevant publication outlets. Modifications made to traditional nonprobability sampling designs, such as respondent-driven sampling, have created opportunities for collaborative work among street ethnographers and statisticians. Recent technological advances in the area of audio- and video-recording capabilities have transformed how such data are recorded and stored, thereby creating further collaborative opportunities across disciplines (e.g., communications, education, psychology, and sociology). On a related note, qualitative software, which was introduced in the early 1980s, has made great strides in being able to handle and manage an ever-larger assortment of qualitative data, including textual data, video, movies, and so on. Although the use of software for the analysis of qualitative data might seem out of step with fieldwork’s philosophical roots, it is facilitating closer reviews of data integrity and structure, both of which may impact later analysis.

Read more about Criminology.


  1. Adler, P. (1993). Wheeling and dealing: An ethnography of an upper-level drug dealing and smuggling community. New York: Columbia University Press.
  2. Agar, M. H. (1973). Ripping and running: A formal ethnography of urban heroin addicts. New York: Seminar.
  3. Akersontrom, M. (1985). Crooks and squares: Lifestyles of thieves and addicts in comparison to conventional people. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
  4. Anderson, E. (1976). A place on the corner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  5. Anderson, N. (1925). The hobo: The sociology of the homeless man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  6. Becker, H. (1967). The outsiders. New York: Free Press.
  7. Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  8. Campbell, D. T. (1955). The informant in quantitative research. American Journal of Sociology, 60, 319–338.
  9. Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
  10. Chirban, J. T. (1996). Interviewing in depth: The interactive-relational approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  11. Clifford, J., & Marcus, G. E. (Eds.). (1986). Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  12. Cressey, P. (1923). Taxi dance hall. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  13. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Introduction: Entering the field of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin &Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 1–17). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  14. Duneier, M. (1999). Sidewalk. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Erickson, K. (1966). Wayward Puritans. New York: Wiley.
  15. Filstead, W. J. (Ed.). (1970). Qualitative methodology: Firsthand involvement with the social world. Chicago: Markham.
  16. Fine, G. A. (1995). A second Chicago School? The development of a postwar American sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  17. Flesher, M. S. (1995). Beggars and thieves: Lives of urban street criminals. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  18. Frasier, E. F. (1932). The Negro family in Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  19. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Perseus Books.
  20. Gold, R. L. (1958). Roles in sociological field observations. Social Forces, 36, 217–223.
  21. Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums: Essays on the social situations of mental patients and other inmates. Garden City, NJ: Anchor Books.
  22. Goode, E. (1999). Sex with informants: An account and commentary. Deviant Behavior, 20, 301–324.
  23. Humphreys, L. (1975). Tearoom trade: Impersonal sex in public places. Chicago: Aldine.
  24. Jacobs, B. A. (1999). Dealing crack: The social world of street-corner selling. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
  25. Jacobs, B. A. (2000). Robbing drug dealers: Violence beyond the law. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
  26. Jankowski, M. S. (1991). Islands in the street: Gangs and American urban society. LosAngeles: University of California Press.
  27. Jorgensen, D. L. (1989). Participant observation: A methodology for human studies. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  28. Kulick, D., & Wilson, M. (Eds.). (1995). Taboo: Sex, identity, and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork. New York: Routledge.
  29. Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  30. Liebow, E. (1967). Tally’s corner. Boston: Little, Brown.
  31. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  32. Lynd, R. S., & Lynd, H. M. (1959). Middletown: A study in modern American culture. New York: Harvest Books. (Original work published 1929)
  33. Maher, L. (1997). Sexed work: Gender, race, and resistance in a Brooklyn drug market. New York: Oxford University Press.
  34. Manning, P. K. (2003). The narcs’ game: Organizational and informational limits on drug law enforcement. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
  35. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self, and society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  36. Mead, M. (1973). Coming of age in Samoa: A psychological study of primitive youth in western civilization. New York: Morrow. (Original work published 1928)
  37. Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view. New York: HarperCollins.
  38. Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.
  39. Moore, J. W. (1991). Going down to the barrio: Homeboys and homegirls in change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  40. Park, R. E., & Burgess, E. W. (1921). Introduction to the science of sociology (3rd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  41. Park, R. E., Burgess, E. W., & McKenzie, R. D. (1925). The city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  42. Platt, J. (1983). The development of the participant observation method in sociology: Origin, myth, and history. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 19, 379–393.
  43. Preble, E., & Casey, J. J., Jr. (1969). Taking care of business: The heroin user’s life on the street. International Journal of Addictions, 4, 1–24.
  44. Reckless, W. C. (1933). Vice in Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  45. Rock, P. (1979). The making of symbolic interactionism. New York: Macmillan.
  46. Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (1995). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  47. Scriven, M. (1976). Maximizing the power of causal explanation: The modus operandi method. In G. V. Glass (Ed.), Evaluation studies review (Vol. 1, pp. 101–118). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
  48. Seidler, J. S. (1974). On using informants: A technique for collecting quantitative data and controlling for measurement error. American Sociological Review, 39, 816–831.
  49. Shaw, C. (1930). The jack-roller: A delinquent boy’s own story. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  50. Sherman, L.W., & Strang, H. (2004). Experimental ethnography: The marriage of qualitative and quantitative research. American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 595, 204–222.
  51. Shover, N. (1996). Great pretenders: Pursuits and careers of persistent thieves. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
  52. Suttles, G. (1968). The social order of the slum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  53. Tomasi, L. (1998). The tradition of the Chicago School. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
  54. Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the field. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  55. Websdale, N. (1998). Rural woman battering and the justice system: An ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  56. Weppner, R. S. (Ed.). (1977). Street ethnography: Selected studies of crime and drug use in natural settings. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
  57. Whyte, W. F. (1943). Street corner society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  58. Wirth, L. (1928). The ghetto. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  59. Wright, R. T., & Decker, S. (1994). Burglars on the job: Street life and residential break-ins. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
  60. Zimbardo, P. (1969). The human choice: Individuation, reason and order versus deindividuation, impulse and chaos. In W. J. & A. D. Levine (Eds.)., Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (Vol. 17) Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.