The Self-Report Methodology in Crime Research by Josine Junger-Tas, Ineke Haen Marshall

By Josine Junger-Tas, Ineke Haen Marshall

The self-report process in crime examine is tested with admire to its usefulness; difficulties relating to sampling and reaction premiums; the conceptualization, definition, and operationalization of delinquency; validity difficulties; the trying out of the reliability of self-report scales, and advised methods to development.

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Second, DWI arrests are more serious and salient events than public drunkenness ar- The Self-ReportMethodologyin CrimeResearch 325 rests, and therefore will be more correctly remembered and reported. However, questions relating to official contacts with the authorities for this behavior may be perceived by respondents as threatening and thus may not be reported. This example illustrates that interpretation of lack of consistency between self-reports and official records is treacherous. The conventional reasoning asserts that respondents prefer to deny, omit, or cover up undesirable facts about themselves.

More specifically, they suggest use of "bounding," a technique most suitable in panel studies: data from a preceding interview are used to make respondents remember behaviors they have reported before. However, the length of the reference period remains controversial and, given that all self-report questions are retrospective, it would seem that answers concerning a short time span, such as the past six months, would be more accurate than answers concerning longer time periods. But, of course, this is an empirical question that must be solved by experimental comparisons.

78). A number of scholars have urged efforts to increase validity by using ratings of informants who know the respondent well, such as parents and teachers (Loeber et al. 1989; Sampson and Laub 1993; Farrington et al. 1996). In the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, 411 London males were regularly interviewed between eight and thirtytwo years. Trying to improve concurrent validity, the study added parent interviews, teacher ratings, and peer ratings (Farrington and West 1981; Farrington 1989).

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