This article gives an exposition of the most important methodological aspects as they pertain to the research project, namely the opinions of a group of third-year criminological students and the attitudes of criminology lecturers and researchers on certain aspects of the subject of Criminology.
Thomas Kuhn is probably the leading scientist as far as emphasising the concept of paradigm and the study of the sciences are concerned. With the publication of his work The structure of scientific revolutions in 1962 Kuhn initiated a scientific debate the full implications of which have not really been grasped.
Since Criminology was taught for the first time on tertiary level in 1949 at the University of Pretoria, it has strongly adhered to the principles of the positivistic paradigm. An important contributory factor was the inaugural address The deterministic viewpoint in Sociology by the late Professor G. Cronje, who studied Criminology under the guidance of W.A. Bonger.
This review of the empirical data obtained in this research project should not be viewed in isolation. It should rather be seen as an integrated unit together with the two prevenient articles in which certain sociological perspectives and schools of thought were discussed.
Before 1960 Criminology was taught at only three universities in South Africa. Contact between the criminology departments was limited. As a result the contents of what was taught in the various criminology courses was decided upon in relative isolation from one another and was determined by the preferences and approaches of those heading the departments.
This article is closely related to the articles which deal with broad philosophical perspectives and schools of thought in Criminology. It must therefore be viewed against this philosophical background.
The role at the lecturer or researcher at a university regarding community service, is determined by the functions and goals of a university, as well as by the contents of a science and the main stream of thought in that particular discipline.
The past few years have been characterised by a growing awareness and unprecedented discussions of aspects relevant to capital punishment in South Africa. The death penalty has not only become a central theme in academic discourse but also a subject of popular public debate.
During 1991/1992 a research project entitled 'Crime in the Sunnyside Police Area' was conducted. During this period, the contents of 4 621 (57,6 per cent) police dockets for the period 1 July 1989 to 30 June 1990, were analysed according to the principles of random, stratified and interval sampling techniques (Stoker 1989:99-115).