About the research
Rozerin undertook her research as part of her BSc in Criminology with Quantitative Methods at City university, London.
Rozerin’s project explored the effect of social bonds on youth violence. She examined the ‘key agents’ of socialisation for young people, family and school attachments, and their impact on the likelihood of participating in violence. She also considered the impact of sociodemographic factors.
Her research questions were:
- What are the similarities and differences in family and school attachments in regards to youth involvement in violence?
- Which measures of family and school attachment are more profound in their effects on youth violence?
- Are negative relationships with siblings just as important as ‘dysfunctional’ relationships with parents in association with higher reports of fighting?
The data she used came from Understanding Society’s Youth Questionnaire, a special survey of household members aged 11-15 years old. This survey looks at various aspects of young people’s lives and covers topics such as family relationships, self-perception, emotional wellbeing and future plans.
“This data set was the best suited to the research aims as it was nationally representative, contemporary and focused on the ideal age group of 10 to 15 year olds. I sought data sets from the UK Data Service as it was the richest in its variety of data sources, whether they be longitudinal or contemporary, it was easy to access.”
Initially, descriptive statistics were used to explore the characteristics of the respondents. This was followed by bivariate analysis exploring which forms of family and school attachments were more strongly associated with one another. Finally, the more complex associations were examined with a multiple logistic regression analysis.
Rozerin found that there was a correlation between frequently quarrelling with your father and a higher participation in violence. Truancy from school was also correlated with higher participation in both one off and frequent involvement in violence. Results from the regressions analyses showed that children who frequently talked to their mother and whose parents attended school meetings had lower odds of being involved in violence, whereas those who experienced bullying or misbehaved in class had higher odds.
Rozerin’s top tips for students about to start a project or dissertation with secondary data are:
Think about your possible datasets early and make sure you’re aware of how the data fits into the literature. It’s always a good idea to consider them alongside each other as you start to plan your project.
“One of the main mistakes I did was starting with literature readings, which I ended up not using as I had to change my research a few times due to not finding the ideal data sets.”
Once you have selected your data source, examine what it’s been used for, by both other researchers and organisations such as governmental bodies. This will help guide you in your own research and encourage you to look at different aspects within your project which you may not have thought of initially.
Rozerin’s plan was to use the skills she gained in a postgraduate degree in social research, with the aim of pursing a career in government social research.
“This dissertation project and working with secondary data has developed my interest in statistics and social research. Thus, I want to pursue a career in social research and work in government institutions, where I can best use my analysis skills.”