I have now finished the abstract, introduction, method, results, 90% of my discussion and references. I still feel that my discussion needs a lot of work but the gist is complete (I hope!).
A project and dissertation are both 6000 words for psychology students but the project is due in January and is done by those doing combined courses and the dissertation is due in May and done by single-subject courses. However, the data collection for a project is done by three of us together, which makes it a bit easier than a dissertation, which is done by a single-subject person on their own.
For this project, myself and two other girls were looking at how people explained domestic violence and assault, and whether people’s believed reasons for a person committing either changed depending on the gender of the offender. We also asked participants to suggest punishments.
Our results showed that people were more likely to believe that a lack of education was important when looking at why someone has committed domestic violence, more so than for why someone has committed assault. We also found that people saw female offenders of domestic violence as being more mentally unstable than male offenders of domestic violence, or either sex committing assault. Prison was the most suggested punishment for both crimes, followed by prison with rehabilitation. A few alternative suggestions included fines and community service. When participants’ gender was looked at, some surprising results were found. Males were more inclined to suggest prison with rehabilitation, whereas females preferred just prison. It also seemed that people were more sympathetic in their punishments if offenders were the same sex as them.
It has been a really interesting piece of research to conduct, with results suggesting that there is still this idea in society that females are naturally non-violent but that men committing violent crime is fairly normal. Also, from the punishments people suggested, it may be that females place more emphasis on public safety by completely removing offenders from society, whereas men may be more willing to think that people can change and look into ways of reducing re-offences, through therapy and rehabilitation.
Still, these results are only based on quite a small sample, who are all students, so they can’t be understood as being completely valid in understanding all of society but there may be an element in truth in them as to how people perceive offenders who commit particular types of crime.
Hope this has given some of you more of an insight into the types of experiments or questionnaire studies that you could be doing in your final year. Have a sociology exam in January so am off to revise for that now!
Hope you all have a happy new year 🙂