Criminology and Criminal Justice undergraduate Ian Marder worked on the research project “Criminological Research” as part of the Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme in 2010. His supervisor for the project was Dr Anthea Hucklesby.
Here, he talks about his experience of the scheme and the project.
I undertook a variety of activities during my five-week scholarship. For example, I visited several criminal justice institutions, such as Wolds Prison, and I gained experience working in a criminal justice research setting. I cannot express enough how interesting and stimulating it was to work as a researcher, and I hope that I have helped to build relations between my university and the local institutions I visited.
The main attraction of this project was the opportunity for placements, which I would not have been able to arrange by myself. What I appreciated most about these visits, set up by Dr Anthea Hucklesby, was that they allowed me to question practitioners about whatever I wanted, essentially practicing my interviewing skills.
I found that practitioners are subject to pressures from both ‘above’ and ‘below’: for example, the Strategic Department of the West Yorkshire Police are accountable to the Association of Chief Police Officers, as well as to the communities they serve. The salary was also an incentive, as many opportunities like this are unpaid. Overall, this project has given me valuable experience, which will be vital for standing out from the crowd when it comes to choosing a postgraduate institution.
Prioritise future research interests
Conveniently, for my modules this year, I learned a lot about the police and the prison system. I also gained experience using SPSS, Google Scholar and other electronic research materials.
Without the scholarship, I would have never had the opportunity to speak to practitioners on such a close basis, nor do I think I would have been as motivated academically in my final year. Thanks to the scholarship, I am confident about talking to practitioners and people from all walks of life. Most importantly, it helped me to focus my ideas and prioritise my future research interests.