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Preserving Researcher Safety While Investigating Recidivism in a Caribbean Context

By: Published: 2021 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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The urgent need to find evidence-based solutions to the crime challenges that plague developing countries such as Jamaica can at times dwarf the importance of researchers undertaking risk assessments of solution-focused projects at the design phase. The results of the risk assessment can be used to inform the development of a mitigation strategy that ensures that the aims of the study are balanced with the safety and well-being of all persons concerned. A good rule of thumb is researchers should ensure that persons involved in the study (including themselves) are not exposed to risks greater than, or supplementary to, those they encounter in their normal routines. But, at times framing risk is difficult especially within the context of exploratory studies. Thus, the emergent and mercurial nature of fieldwork can make predicting and eliminating all risk associated with the project challenging. On its own, criminological research poses unique risks. However, without the risks taken by Caribbean social scientists such as Ken Pryce, the emergence of Caribbean Criminology might have been endangered. The case study of the “Recidivism in the Caribbean” project considers the risks to researcher safety associated with undertaking criminological research in a developing country context. It also examines strategies which can be activated by researchers seeking to mitigate comparable risks associated with reaching hard-to-reach populations.

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