You are asked to write a critical review of this research which focuses particularly on the methodology of the study. “A security manager employed at a large store is concerned at the extent of shoplifting in the store and has undertaken a piece of research which examines the problem. The research project has been written up as ‘ Research About Shoplifting’. I will provided below, in description box
Study Books Used in Class:
This Study books MUST be referenced among other you may find relevant:
Bell, J. (2007) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science (5th Edition) Milton Keynes: Open University
Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first time researchers in education, health and social science (4th ed), London: Sage
Rumsey, S. (2004) How to find information: a guide for researchers, London: Sage
White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions: A Guide for Social Scientists Basingstoke: Palgrave
Noaks, L. (2004) Criminological Research: understanding qualitative methods, London: Sage
Silverman, D. (2010) Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook (3rd edn) London: Sage
Jupp, V. (1989) Methods of Criminological Research, Routledge: London. pp34-47
Blastland, M. and Dilnot, A. (2007) The Tiger That Isn’t: Seeing Through a World of Numbers. London: Profile
Quantitative data and its analysis
BBC Radio 4 website
‘Research About Shoplifting’
Shoplifting is a big problem for all shops. Because of this, and the fact that I work at a shop that has a big shoplifting problem, this research will be about shoplifting. There has been some previous research on shoplifting, but none in my particular shop so this previous research is probably not that relevant. However, it is clear that most theft is committed by customers, and not much is committed by staff. For this reason this research will only be about shoplifting by customers.
Objectives of the Research
The purpose of this research will be to study shoplifting by customers. This research will focus on a number of aspects of this including the amount of shoplifting, the influence of new CCTV equipment on shoplifting and address why people shoplift.
Because of the number of things that were being studied, a number of methods were used in this study. These included the use of quantitative methods (e.g. official data and questionnaires) and qualitative data (e.g. interviews). This is strength of this research because it is always best to use both quantitative and qualitative methods in studying anything.
The Amount of Shoplifting
In order to determine how much shoplifting there was at the shop where I work I looked through some official data and interviewed my line manager.
The official data is a computerised record that records how much inventory is taken into the shop and compares this to the amount that is recorded as sold or otherwise accounted for. The results for four months are presented below.
Month Inventory In Inventory Accounted For Inventory Unaccounted For
May 132505 125162 7343
June 162402 152591 9811
July 178111 169654 8457
August 121821 112795 9026
The results show that there is a great deal of shoplifting, and also that this is increasing at an alarming rate.
The amount of shoplifting was also assessed by a semi-structured interview with my line manager. Jason Smith (my line manager) has worked at the shop for about seven months. This informal chat was conducted in the backroom at lunchtime and took about 10 minutes. I first showed Jason the results of the official data on shoplifting that I had already collected. I then asked him if he thought shoplifting was increasing. He said that he thought it was. He was pretty sure that both uniformed and plain clothes security officers were catching more people these days and that he had called the police twice in the past week to have shoplifters formally processed. He said ‘you see more and more dodgy looking people in the shops now. I think that they’re not just doing us, but doing all the shops in town. I’d say that it’s not just a problem for us, but for all of the retailers. Especially the ones that sell high quality good like us.’
From two different pieces of research it is clear that shoplifting is increasing and that something needs to be done to stop this serious offence.
Influence of New CCTV
Probably because of the very high rate of customer shoplifting the store owner decided to install CCTV cameras, and increase the number of uniformed security guards. In order to determine whether CCTV had an influence on reducing shoplifting I looked at the store data for the month before the cameras were installed and the month after. The CCTV was installed in January. The data is presented below
Month Inventory In Inventory Accounted For Inventory Unaccounted For
December (month before) 268142 254735 13407
February (month after) 139023 132072 6951
The results clearly show that the CCTV caused a really big decrease in shoplifting. I also conducted another semi-structured interview with my new line manger (Stella Johnson) and asked her if she thought CCTV was a good idea. This interview was conducted while we were working the tills. She said that she thought it was a good idea for our safety, but wasn’t convinced that it was that useful in stopping shoplifting. However, when I told her about the data she said it must be a good idea.
Stella: ‘When you see the numbers, it’s clear, isn’t it, that crime’s going up and up. The cameras and the tags are supposed to stop people from stealing things, and I think that they might do that. But the tags don’t make you feel safer, do they?’
Me: ‘No they don’t. The cameras make you feel safer.’
Stella: ‘That’s right. The cameras make me, and the rest of the women, feel safer when we’re standing out here and all you blokes are in the stock room!’
Why do People Shoplift?
Because of the extent of the shoplifting problem in our store and because this is clearly an increasing problem it is important to determine why people shoplift. In order to address this question it was thought better to undertake questionnaires. I designed a questionnaire which addressed why people shoplift and gave this to my friends and had my friends try and get their friends to fill it in. I gave out about 30 questionnaires and got 10 back. The 5 -item questionnaire can be seen below
Questionnaire About Shoplifting
Please complete this questionnaire on shoplifting and then scan it into your computer and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Why do you shoplift? (circle your answer)
Thrill Want Goods Want Money for Goods Don’t Know Other
2. How many times have you shoplifted? (circle your answer)
Once or Twice Many times All the time.
3. How old are you?_________
4. Are you male or female?_________
5. What would stop you from shoplifting? (circle your answer)
CCTV More Security Guards Nothing Something else
Results of Questionnaire
1. Only six people answered this question. Three people said that they shoplifted for the Thrill, one person wanted the good and the other reported that they didn’t know.
2. Only six people answered this question. Four people said that they shoplifted once or twice and two people reported that they shoplifted many times.
3. The ages of the people were 17, 23, 25, 24, 25, 24, 23, 26, 43, 56.
4. Six of the individuals reported being male and five reported being female.
5. Only four people answered this question. Two people reported that CCTV would stop them from shoplifting, one reported nothing and one reported something else.
Interpreting the Results of the Questionnaire
The results clearly suggest that people shoplift for the thrill. Also, most people shoplift only once or twice and CCTV appears to be the best bet to combat this as half of the people report that this would stop them from shoplifting.
When results were compared an interesting result was found.
Gender Shoplifted Once or Twice Shoplifted Many Times
Males 3 0
Female 1 2
The results show that females are more likely to be serious shoplifters. This means that CCTV would be more useful in areas within the shop that have more females (e.g. make-up section).
The question of why people shoplift was also addressed through an observational study. I spent an afternoon walking around the store watching for people shoplifting. I saw one young person take an item off the shelf and place it in their coat. I followed the person to the door and had security grab her just outside the door. She was taken into the backroom where I asked her why she had shoplifted. She said that she didn’t want to answer my questions, but I pushed her by saying that she was in big trouble but if she talked to me I would try and help her out. She said that shoplifting wasn’t a big deal and that she only did it a couple of times. She wanted the item she tried to shoplift, and while she had the money to buy it, if she bought it then she wouldn’t have enough money to go to the cinema with her friends later in the week.
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