N = 1: Criminology and the person

  • Maruna S
  • Matravers A
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This is a rather special Special Issue of Theoretical Criminology, perhaps even the first of its kind. Unusually, all of the articles in this issuewhich emerged out of a two-part panel at the British Society of Criminology Annual Meeting organized by Tony Jefferson and Mechthild Bereswill involve re-analyses of data from a single criminological study. More unusu- ally still, the study being re-analyzed involves a sample size of one: Stanley from Clifford Shaws The Jack-Roller (1930/1966). To some, this detailed scrutiny of a single case surely must seem like overkill. After all, if it is true that size doesnt matter in some aspects of life, this is hardly the case in social science research where bigger sample sizes are routinely accorded a privileged place in methodological circles. Comments like, Have you seen the size of their sample? Its massive! are commonplace at academic meetings. Even in qualitative work, journal reviewers and PhD supervisors typically favor sample sizes around N = 40 or 50 over smaller samples.

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  • Shadd Maruna

  • Amanda Matravers

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