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NCJ Number: 229397 Find in a Library
Title: Importance of Telling a Good Story: An Experiment in Public Criminology
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:48  Issue:5  Dated:December 2009  Pages:472-484
Author(s): Martina Feilzer
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research) ; Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This British study examined the potential role of criminologists in contributing to the public debate on crime and criminal justice, based on a survey of the impact of communicating factual information on crime and criminal justice through a specific newspaper column.
Abstract: Based on the findings of this research, the author suggests that criminologists should contribute to information in the public sphere as an end in itself, functioning in their unique role in sharing stories of complexity, uncertainty, dilemmas, and normative problems associated with crime and criminal justice. This is criminologists' distinctive role in enabling and supporting evidence-based policy, and it makes government officials and politicians more accountable. In order to fulfill this role effectively criminologists must tell interesting and compelling stories that are appropriate and relevant. They must develop the communication skill that enables them to present complex and subversive stories that make sense to the different 'publics' they intend to address. This recommendation derived from the main research findings of the Crime Scene Study, an experimental intervention designed to determine the impact of communicating factual information on crime and criminal justice through a newspaper column. A local newspaper published weekly columns, 800 words long, written by the author of this article. The column was linked to locally relevant themes and stories, continuing in the Oxford Times for 6 months. In the Oxford Public Opinion Survey, 3,145 questionnaires were sent to a random sample of Oxford residents selected through the electoral roll, 2,079 prior to and 1,066 after the experimental intervention. Semistructured interviews with survey respondents who reported reading the Oxford Times were intended to lead to a better understanding of the processes of interest or lack of interest in the newspaper column. 5 notes and 41 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Information dissemination; Media coverage; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public education; Public information
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