Gender Differences in Fear of Crime Anxiety

06 Apr 2018

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Qualitative Data Analysis Using Open Coding

Gender difference, anxiety and fear of crime 1995

  1. Introduction

This is a Qualitative Data Analysis done on the data set of “Gender difference, anxiety and fear of crime 1995”. Qualitative Research is development of concepts which help us to understand social phenomena in natural (rather than experimental) settings, giving due emphasis to the meanings, experiences and views of the participants (Pope and Mays, 1995, 311:42-45). Qualitative Data Analysis is used in market research to congregate a thorough insight of human behaviour and the rationale behind such behaviour. It tries to clarify the why and how of decision making rather than focusing only on what, where and when (Hamersley, 2013). In this report efforts have been made to understand the behaviour of two people (one male and other female) – both white & unemployed below the age of 18 and belonging to high crime area. The report will try to analyse the data collected with respect to Gender Difference, Anxiety and Fear of Crime.

  1. Methodology and Research Design

The objective of using qualitative research method for this project is to:

  • To describe individual experience.
  • To describe group norms.
  • To describe variations.
  • To describe and explain relationships.

According to Merriam (2009), some of the commonly used qualitative research methods include the following methods:

  1. Generic Qualititative Research involving a free approach as per the research project in hand.
  2. Ethnographic Research also called methodology of the people.
  3. Grounded Theory, an inductive type of research, is developed on the data obtained from sources like interviews, surveys, observation, review of records and quantitative data.
  4. Phenomology is the study of live experiences encountered by the participants.
  5. Philosophical Research, conducted by professional experts is used to ascertain ethics, clarify definitions or to make an important finding related to their specific field of study.
  6. Critical Social Research is used to understand the communication between people and the development of symbolic meanings.
  7. Ethical Inquiry studies the ethics related to rights, duties, choices, etc.
  8. Foundational Research studies the basis for science, analyzes beliefs and comes up with ways to identify how the existing knowledge can be changed with regard to new information.
  9. Historical Research studies the past and present in respect to the present scenario and helps to solve current issues.
  10. Framework Method wherein data is collected by transcribing interview or creating field notes while conducting participant observation or observing objects or social situations. It can be said to be a combination of Grounded Theory and Phenomology methods.

In this project I have employed Framework Method because it has the following features:

  • Simultaneous collection and analysis of data.
  • Creation of analytic codes and categories developed from data and not by pre-consisting conceptualisations.
  • Discovery of basic social processes in the data.
  • Inductive construction of abstract theories.
  • Theoretical sampling to refine categories.
  • Integration of categories into a theoretical framework.

Qualitative researchers typically employ the following methods for gathering information:Participant Observation, Non-participant Observation, Field Notes, Reflexive Journals, Structured Interview, Semi-structured Interview, Unstructured Interview, and Analysis of documents and materials.

In this project unstructured in-depth interviews using open-ended questions (without any preset questions) were conducted. The interview started with broad questions (related to the topic) and continued based on the participant’s response.

An appropriate sample size for a qualitative study is one that adequately answers the research questions. For simple questions or very detailed studies, this might be

in single figures; for complex questions large samples and a variety of sampling techniques might be necessary. There are three broad approaches to selecting a sample for a qualitative study (Marshal 1996):

  1. Convenience Sample: This involves the selection of most accessible selection.
  2. Judgement Sample: The most productive sample is selected to answer the research question. This can involved developing a framework of the variables that might influence and individual’s contribution and will be based on the researcher’s knowledge of the research area, the available literature and evidence from the study itself.
  3. Theoretical Sample: Theoretical sampling necessitates building interpretative theories from the emerging data and selecting a new sample to examine and elaborate on this theory.

In practice, qualitative sampling requires a flexible, pragmatic approach.

I have taken a sample data that includes a female and a male- both white, unemployed, belonging to high crime area and in the age group of 16-17. The participants belonging to different sex can give a true picture related to the influence of gender on the study being conducted. The female will be referred to as Participant 1 and the male will be referred to as Participant 2 in the coding table. Comparisons are made between the experiences of both the participants.

Secondarydata is data collected by someone other than the user. Common sources of secondary data forsocial scienceincludecensuses, organisational records and data collected through qualitative methodologies orqualitative research.Primary data, by contrast, are collected by the investigator conducting the research.

As is the case inprimary research, secondary data can be obtained from two different research strands:

  • Quantitative: Census, housing, social security as well as electoral statistics and other related databases.
  • Qualitative:Semi-structuredandstructured interviewsfocus group’stranscripts,field notes,observationrecords and other personal, research-related documents.

I have used the interviews (qualitative research) conducted as my secondary source for data analysis.

  1. Procedure of Framework Method Analysis:

According to the Framework Method procedures (Adams. et. al 2007; Gale, 2013), the following steps were followed:

Stage 1: Transcription

According to Adams. et. al (2007), A transcript of the interview must be made. Context is of primary importance. A word to word transcription for both the interviews has been made. Adequate spacing has been provided in the transcripts for coding and making notes. Both the transcripts are in comparable formatting. I checked all transcripts for errors by listening back to the audio-recording and reading the transcripts simultaneously.

Stage 2: Familiarisation with the interview

According to Gale (2013), getting acclimatized with the transcript is an important part of this method. For best interpretation I have tried to understand the interview thoroughly by going through the interview transcripts repeatedly. Familiarisation through reading and making notes in this way also enabled me to find my way easily around the pages of transcript later in the analysis.

Stage 3: Coding

While reading the transcript line by line, the researcher should apply a label or code that portrays what they have inferred as important. In more inductive studies, at this stage ‘open coding’ takes place, i.e. coding anything that might be relevant from as many different perspectives as possible (Adams. et. al 2007). Concepts should be named appropriately; because “people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them; and these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation.” Open Coding includes labelling concepts, defining and developing categories based on their properties and dimensions. (Bulmer, 1969).

Codes could refer to substantive things (e.g. particular behaviours, incidents or structures), values (e.g. those that inform or underpin certain statements, such as a belief in evidence-based medicine or in patient choice), emotions (e.g. sorrow, frustration, love) and more impressionistic/methodological elements (e.g. interviewee found something difficult to explain, interviewee became emotional, interviewer felt uncomfortable). Coding aims to classify all of the data so that it can be compared systematically with other parts of the data set. I have used open coding for this research project. I have used “in vivo codes” i.e. words that participants have used in the interview for coding (Glaser & Strauss, 1967).

Stage 4: Developing a working analytical framework

According to Adams et. al (2007), a set of codes to be applied to all subsequent transcripts should be finalized. Codes can be grouped together into categories (using a tree diagram if helpful), which are then clearly defined to form a working analytical framework. It is always worth having an ‘other’ code under each category to avoid ignoring data that does not fit; the analytical framework is never ‘final’ until the last transcript has been coded.The framework consists of twenty-three codes clustered into four categories each with brief description of their meanings and examples of what ideas and or elements might be summarized under that code.

The codes used in this data analysis and their descriptions are mentioned below:



  1. Effects of crime
  1. Feeling worried and nervy

House catching fire was a source of worry and nervousness.

  1. Feeling insecure, scared and anxious

These were because of threats, crimes taking place and sometimes being part of a crime.

  1. Sleep disorders including shouting and nightmares

This was caused because of personal tragedies(like father's death)

  1. Being Physically hurt

Participants were physically hurt during fighting.

  1. Leaving school

Participants left school with no fixed future plans of pursuing education.

  1. Moving from one place to another

This was seen as an escape route.

  1. Places in which crimes might take place
  1. Cars

Car related offences took place.

  1. Streets

Fights used to take place frequently on streets.

  1. Schools

School was considered as a waste of time.

  1. Shops

Shoplifting was a common feature.

  1. Houses

Houses were burgled regularly.

  1. Clubs

Clubs where younsters got together and had fights for no strong reason.

  1. Forms of Crime
  1. Fighting

Some people were into fighting on the streets, in schools.

  1. Burgling

People were used to burgling things. Even people known to participants used to burgle.

  1. Shoplifting

Scraping was its most popular form.

  1. Killing

This was reasons like rash driving, during burglery,etc.

  1. Threatening

Participant was threatened when they complained to cops.

  1. Vandalizing

Breaking into shops in the area was a common phenomenon.

  1. Tools used in crime
  1. Knife

Knives were used for stabbing during fights.

  1. Bricks

Bricks were thrown into houses.

  1. Fire

People and houses were burned.

  1. Spade

Spades were used during fights between groups.

  1. Stick

Sticks were also used during fights.

In the above table, four categories have been made by grouping codes having similarities based on their common properties.

Stage 5: Applying the analytical framework

The working analytical framework is then applied by indexing subsequent transcripts using the existing categories and codes. Each code is usually assigned a number or abbreviation for easy identification (and so the full names of the codes do not have to be written out each time) and written directly onto the transcripts (Gale, 2013).

Stage 6: Charting data into the framework matrix

According to Adams et. al (2007) and Gale (2013), qualitative data are voluminous and being able to manage and summarize data is a vital aspect of the analysis process. A spreadsheet is used to generate a matrix and the data are ‘charted’ into the matrix. Charting involves summarizing the data by category from each transcript. Good charting requires an ability to strike a balance between reducing the data on the one hand and retaining the original meanings and ‘feel’ of the interviewees’ words on the other. The chart should include references to interesting or illustrative quotations.

The data has been summarized using the attached Microsoft Excel for each category. As shown below, the matrix for this project comprises of one code in each row per participant. Data has been abstracted from transcripts for each participant and code, summarised it using verbatim words and placed it into correct cells of the matrix. A separate sheet has been used for each category (Please refer to the attached Microsoft Excel file for the details).

Stage 7: Interpreting the data

Characteristics of and differences between the data are identified, perhaps generating typologies, interrogating theoretical concepts (either prior concepts or ones emerging from the data) or mapping connections between categories to explore relationships and/or causality (Adams. et. al 2007).

Themes were generated from the data set by reviewing the matrix and making connections within and between participant and categories. Analysis and conclusion has been done keeping the codes active using the constant comparative method asking (Glaser & Strauss, 1978)

  • What is actually happening here?
  • Under what conditions does this happen?
  • What is this data a study of?
  • What category does this incident indicate?

The creation of theory is based on a core category. Without zeroing on a core category the framework method will become irrelevant and unworkable. The core category accounts for most of the variation of data and therefore most other categories relate to it in some way. The core category is a more highly abstracted category but still must remain grounded in the data. The major categories are related to the core category and these categories show how the core category works in the lives of participants.

From the matrix table (in the attached excel file) we can conclude that the core category is “Affects of crime” as it gives an overview into the data set with respect to gender difference and the consequence of crime mainly anxiety and fear of crime. The different codes of “Affects of crime” are presented in the matrix table(attached excel sheet) with relevant quotes from the interview. All the other categories – places of crime, forms of crime and tools used in crime are related to this core category.

The following conclusions can be made from the matrix of the data with respect to the project objective of “Gender difference, anxiety and fear of crime 1995”.

1. Gender Difference:

Usually females are not involved in fighting or killing activities in the area. It was only on rare occasions that they were involved in fighting: “And they were wi' us, and they knew that Donna hadn't said nowt 'cos like we'd been knocking about with them for a bit, and they knew that Donna wouldn't have said owt like that. But they never like went to stop Sarah from 'itting 'er, and I were only person who stopped Sarah from 'itting 'er, 'cos like she 'adn't done nowt wrong.”(Participant 1, p.11) Usually the males are involved in illegal activities like scraping, shoplifting, fighting on the streets, burgling and vandalizing because they do not have any other good means of earning: “Well I know I started like getting into crime, you know, from coming up onto estate. I think it's all things that 'appen on estate - you know crime. So that's only thing that I can really do on estate. Can't get a job where £29.50. In't worth it, end of day. So just go scrapping and things like that.”(Participant 2, p.1) Both the genders do not show much keenness in studies and have dropped out of school without any fixed future plans of pursuing further education: “Don't know. 'cos like na - I don't know - I don't want to miss - I like going out and doing different things every day. Not same thing every day. 'cos school, used to get up, get dressed, go to school, come 'ome from school, 'ave me tea, go out, go to bed. Get up, get dressed, go to school, come back, 'ave me tea, go to bed. So it were same all time.”(Participant 1,p.22). “ I used to get since I moved from Area 45 I went to school. I used to feel that teachers were getting at me all time. I walked into class, it'd be one of them. Don't start messing.”( Participant 2, p.4)

2. Anxiety and fear of crime:

Activities like threatening, burgling, brick throwing and fighting on the streets have led to a feeling of fear and anxiety especially amongst the female population: “"I was scared. I weren't old. I were about 9 or 10.'[Participant1, p.7] They experience insecurity, are scared and nervous because of these activities. They have sleep disorders like nightmares. :” "Sometimes I still 'ave dreams. You know dreams about 'im, and I wake up screaming. "[Participant1, p.16]

The males get physically hurt due to being involved in these activities. Males also feel highly insecure due to the violent and dangerous environment in the area as well as the activities they are involved in: “"I said "'e's messing wi' bird, so I've 'it 'im." and this kid stood at side, whacked me in face. And all me face were puffed up down 'ere. And I 'ad concussion for like a week. "[Participant2, p.14]


4. Conclusion

Framework methodology was used in the research. In-depth unstructured questions were used for the interview. The interview continued with the flow of response from the participants. The participants were probed to know about their experience of living in the area, the forms of crime they faced or were indulged in, their security concerns, the fear and anxiety resulting from the crimes, etc. They were encouraged to share their experience in detail with the interviewer.

Both the genders (male and female) are feeling scared, insecure and anxious because of their surroundings especially because of the crime scenario in the area. Crime in the form of burgling, killing, fighting, etc. could take place anywhere without any substantial reason and in any place like houses, cars, streets, etc.

People were not safe in their own houses also. However, the situation seems to have improved over a period of time.

5. Suggestions for future research

Would the scenario have been different if the youngsters would have completed their schooling and had they been given better employment opportunities? Would the area become a better and safer place to stay in with crime rate reducing drastically.



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