Research and Methodology / Methods Lumsden Essay

Submitted By gizmo69
Words: 1997
Pages: 8

Critical Review This critical review will be overlooking “Do We Look Like Boy Racers?” The Role of the Folk Devil in Moral Panics by Karen Lumsden of the University of Aberdeen. This article was published in Sociological Research Online, Volume 14, Issue 1. The main purpose of Lumsden’s study was to understand the focus of the media on Aberdeen’s boy racer culture, and to study the reaction of young modifiers and enthusiasts to their negative labeling. This was done to address the lack of other studies taking into account the ‘folk devils’ point of view when researching moral panics.
Research Topic/ Theoretical Framework From the outset of this article Lumsden tries to set out her questioning, although this can be seen to be in a confusing manner. Her abstract states that the research is to look at the failure of previous moral panic studies to include the reaction and view of the group causing the panic, although her introduction states that the focus is on the media’s representation and labeling of Aberdeen’s boy racers. Lumsden’s main question is to figure out what role the sub-culture play in moral panics, and how they react to what is going on, and if this puts an effect on the panic. This question is not stated directly but is linked together with a few different questions. This can make it confusing to understand.

Research Methodology/ Methods Lumsden used a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. This was done to get as much information as possible on the subject matter. Lumsden also ‘employed ethnographic methods, which allowed an in-depth look at the everyday lives of its members, the reasons, feelings, and justifications for their actions, and for their participation in the subculture.’ This was done to get the full view of their lives, with this she went about with the group as an overt participant viewer. Lumsden mainly used observation in her investigation; observation is a strong method to use in this piece of research as she was trying to research a form of reaction, this also means that the research has to take place over a period of time. One hundred and fifty hours were spent in observation, whereas if she had only used the interviews she would of received a much smaller and only biased view from the sample. Lumsden found it easiest to collect opinion and viewpoints during informal chats she had during her observation, this was done so she was not receiving biased information based on her interviews, as some of the sample were biased against the media and would not let her record them. Semi-structured interviews were used; this was so they could include qualitative and quantitative research questions. Using semi-structured questions is good because the researcher gets the general facts from a pre-structured questionnaire, but leaves enough room for the subject to deviate and discuss other topics. This is like leaving an open question; more information can be gained. Lumsden used these interviews to “share control of the data-gathering exercise with the respondent, to allow the respondent to craft his or her own account of the matter in question, rather than to gather highly structured data”(Henn et al, 2006, p.188). Sampling/Representativeness Lumsden fully explains the sample she used for her research; they are identified as 8 people from the sub-culture, who are part of the same car enthusiast group recommended by the police, and one previous member of the sub-culture, and a few members from outside groups such as politicians and police officers. Lumsden explains that they are all male between the ages of 17 and 25, although she interviews one female who is in her early thirties. This sample is fully explained apart from race and ethnicity, although Lumsden does not explain whom the politicians, council members, or the journalists are. The Grampian police provided the sample group who were a group who were known car enthusiasts in the local area. The research