Researching Police Behavior and Perceptions Using Online Survey Methodology: On Suspects of Crimes


Survey methodology is a cost-effective and scientifically valid way of collecting data in the social sciences, and is widely accessible through online platforms. Creating and conducting an online survey may appear straightforward; however, there are areas within constructing a survey that warrant attention. For example, for a more engaging use of surveys and to obtain accurate responses, online surveys need to adapt to the capacity of the human mind (e.g., attention and memory). The general focus of the present case study will be on how to design, construct, and carry out online surveys with a sound methodology, ensuring a high quality of research findings and publications in peer-reviewied journals. Every methodological tool contains pros and cons and online survey is no exception. This case study will take an in-depth focus on important choices in survey studies concerning research philosophy and methodological approach, cognitive aspects of survey methodology, questionnaire items, response formats, software programs, recruitment of participants, and data collection. Specific examples will be drawn from a recent online police study in the field of legal psychology. Therefore, the purpose of this case study is to equip postgraduate students and junior researchers with the right tools to be able to conduct their own online surveys in the field of social science.

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