Incorporating Socio-Historical Context and Temporal Variation Into Quantitative Cross-National Criminology

Janet P. Stamatel, ICPSR/University of Michigan

ABSTRACT
Quantitative analyses of crime data are often hindered by data limitations. In order to maximize sample size to utilize certain analytical techniques, researchers have often used cross-sectional research



















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Quantitative analyses of crime data are often hindred by data limitations. In order to maximize sample size to utilize certain analytical techniques, researchers have often used cross-sectional research designs based on convenience samples of all countries that participate in a particular data collection. This approach has been criticized for two main reasons: (1) cross-sectional designs are often used to test theories of temporal variation, and (2) sample size is maximized at the expense of theoretical relevance and socio-historical context. One response to these critiques is a longitudinal analysis of a smaller, theoretically meaningful sample that allows for comparisons both across time and countries. This paper discusses the methodological issues involved in analyzing such a sample, including compiling crime data from a variety of official records sources, operationalizing independent variables, integrating qualitative and quantitative data, adopting an interdisciplinary approach to account for socio-historical context, and choosing appropriate quantitative methods to analyze time-series-cross-sectional data for a relatively small sample. This paper illustrates the benfits and limitations of analyzing a small sample of countries selected purposively rather than conveniently. Examples are provided from a longitudinal study of social change and crime in Central Eastern Europe.











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Updated 05/20/2006