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Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending

6. Research Methods

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In this lecture, we think about the person-centred exploration of research methods, focusing in particular on: (i) the purpose of considering your own biases as a researcher, as well as the relevance of your research when compared to its final application; (ii) the four main biases which researchers should consider when constructing and conducting a study being who is invited and who agrees to participate, allocation of participants to conditions, assumptions by researchers about participants and/or results, and reporting biases; (iii) some examples of assumptions that a researcher might make about prisoners, which can mean that their research findings are not generalisable or potentially problematic for working with other individuals who have committed crimes.


In this course, Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman (Cardiff Metropolitan University) explores behavioural explanations for offending, contextualised in the experiences of a forensic psychologist working with people in prison and secure hospital environments. In the first lecture, we think about the concept of labelling and discuss the impacts it can have on an individuals’ self-perceptions and the way others perceive them. In the second lecture, we discuss interventions that are in place at these institutions to help ensure those in custody can lead better lives upon their release. In the third lecture, we attempt to answer the question ‘who commits which offences?’, as well as highlighting the issues with profiling in this way. Next, we delve into the role of attachment in offending behaviour. In the fifth lecture, we return to this in the context of case formulation, by using the psychodynamic model as a method of comprehensively understanding an individual’s criminal actions. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about research methods, specifically the person-centric considerations of performing research in the field of forensic psychology.


Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman is a chartered forensic psychologist, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Applied Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, as well as a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Buckinghamshire New University. Dr Akerman’s forensic psychology role involves working with adult males in a prison-based therapeutic community to help reduce the risk of reoffending. Some of Dr Akerman’s recent publications include 'The Development of a fantasy modification programme for a prison-based therapeutic community' (2008) and 'The Development of a Psychometric Measure of Current Sexual Interest' (Submitted).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Akerman, G. (2022, January 26). Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending - Research Methods [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Akerman, G. "Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending – Research Methods." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Jan 2022,

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