Spins, Stalls, and Shutdowns: Pitfalls of Qualitative Policing and Security Research

Randy K. Lippert, Kevin Walby, Blair Wilkinson

Abstract


This article explores key elements of qualitative research on policing and security agencies, including barriers encountered and strategies to prevent them. While it is oft-assumed that policing/security agencies are difficult to access due to their clandestine or bureaucratic nature, this article demonstrates this is not necessarily the case, as access was gained for three distinct qualitative research projects. Yet, access and subsequent research were not without pitfalls, which we term security spins, security stalls, and security shutdowns. We illustrate how each was encountered and argue these pitfalls are akin to researchers falling into risk categories, not unlike those used by policing/security agents in their work. Before concluding we discuss methodological strategies for scholars to avoid these pitfalls and to advance research that critically interrogates the immense policing/security realm.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1601108


Keywords


qualitative methods; research pitfalls; policing; security; risk; reflexivity; interviews; observations

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.1.2411

Copyright (c) 2015 Randy K. Lippert, Kevin Walby, Blair Wilkinson

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