Interpreting performance in offender supervision : the use of observation as a data collection method
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
European journal of probation. - London, 2009, currens
, p. 218-240
University of Antwerp
Empirical research on practicing offender supervision seems to be rather scarce in many European jurisdictions. Existing studies tend to be mostly descriptive and use interviews and surveys as methods of data collection. Moreover, comparative research on the practice of offender supervision is almost non-existent (Bauwens, 2011; Robinson and Svensson, 2013). This article describes and reflects on the exploratory work that has been done by researchers from different European jurisdictions in their effort to pilot observations as an innovative research method to study probation practice within a comparative framework. The authors briefly discuss observations as a method for collecting data in general. A description of the (ongoing) project of piloting observations as a method in comparative research and the methodological issues that arose, led to the development of a structured observation schedule that has been tested in Catalonia, Spain. We describe the first results of this study and discuss them in relation to our ongoing effort to assess the added value of observations in comparative research on probation practice.