n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Conservation crime research : taking a step back in order to move forward - : editorial

Volume 29 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Criminological research, like most other research, is predicated on and characterised by a focus on specific concepts/phenomena - phenomena that are clearly identifiable and, for the most part, universally recognised. With few exceptions these phenomena are similarly defined and understood, facilitating research endeavours and serving to broaden the horizons and precincts of a particular line of enquiry. Even those with, as yet, unresolved definitions, such as terrorism and white-collar crime, inherently base their research thrust on analogous issues which only deviate subtly from other semantical renditions. If research is directed at ambiguous and amorphous criminal issues/concepts it would, for all intents and purposes, defeat the objective of such scientific enquiry. Think of research directed at crimes such as murder, arson, domestic violence, child abuse, drug abuse, to name but a few. All these concepts are clear-cut and appreciated in the same way. Research into such areas of interest is well demarcated and results collectively add to the body of knowledge being generated within that criminological remit. What would happen if researchers understood or contextualised similar (identical) crime types in different ways - if murder meant arson to one, while drug abuse meant domestic violence to another? Without research focus parity, efforts to study criminological phenomena would, at most, be tangential and peripheral at best and results vexatious, to say the least. In essence researchers ostensibly studying similar phenomena would be bypassing and stymieing each other, and, ergo, be pursuing their own agendas.

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