This study therefore aims to analyse the factors associated with knife crime by way of a Q factor analysis. This is due to the way in which it allows the researcher to identify the relationship between certain subjective factors in the construct of an individual’s perception (Staunton, 1995). Essentially, by drawing out six key factors in the perception of knife crime pertaining to a defined group of people, it is hoped that certain notions of, prejudices, concerns and rationales can be extracted and discussed.
The research is aimed towards helping the academic domain yield a clear understanding of what the current perceptions are amongst the group that we have used to give a generalised indication as to the perceptions of knife crime. The group age will range between 18 to 25 years old and is based upon an opportunity sample. The role that gender plays in the perception of knife crime by way of differences will also be acknowledged in the analysis.
This will be done by splitting the 50 participants into groups of 25 males and 25 females before a comparison between groups is made. However, race will not be taken into account on the basis of the findings of prior research that indicated that race was not a significant factor when compared to general in-group and out-group categories and so contextual in nature. By using the Q factor method rather than the R factor method, the research hopes to attain a diverse body of qualitative opinion of knife crime ‘culture’.
This will then be broken down into six themes before being quantitatively analysed. This will then be discussed in relation to the findings of prior research in order to assist the urgent national priority. Hopefully, links can then be made between the perception of knife crime and certain prejudicial factors, such as drug use, identity types, backgrounds and people pertaining to particular social groups. The participants will be presented with a set of various statements that will each illustrate the different causes of knife crime.
They will then be required to rank the statements in the order in which they acknowledge them as imperative and will eventually provide their own Q sort. All the data will then be inter-correlated and rotated and the outcomes will be analysed. The data are inter-correlated with a view to ascertaining a better understanding of how each participant’s Q sort is related to the others so as to distinguish the factors that the participants put more emphasis upon.
It is the belief that the responses will qualitatively differ from each according to specific factors (Stenner & Watts, 2005) Instead of a ‘by item’ approach; a ‘by person’ approach is crucial to Q analysis methodology. Questions about how participants ranked their statements will also be asked so as to provide comment on what they thought of the statements. This method is more adequate for the study as it allows the participants to give a more appropriate opinion rather than having their opinion imposed. Its aim is to investigate the manifold understanding of the perception of knife crime.
The participant can freely arrange the statement that he or she agrees with and subsequently deems is the most or least relevant, unlike more quantities scales, such as the Likert scale, in which the participant is compelled to give an answer to the question being asked. Moreover, the technique gives the participant more freedom in ranking the statements compared to interviewing and questionnaires wherein the participant is put on the ‘spot’ and needs to pick an answer within the limited range of choice though that might not be what he really thinks.
This means that there is no need for a hypothesis in our study as it is empirical in nature. Nevertheless, a broad outline of the potential differences between gender based answers can be hypothesised from the outset.
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