Novel technologies, such as GPS, the internet and virtual environments are not only rapidly becoming an increasingly influential part of our daily lives, they also have much potential for improving our understanding of where, when and why crime occurs. In addition, several innovative research methods, such as time-space budgets and neuropsychological measurements, have emerged in recent years. While often highly accessible and relevant, these technologies and methods are currently underutilized by crime researchers who still tend to rely on traditional data-collection methods, such as systematic observation and surveys. NSCR CRIME Lab therefore edited a special issue of Crime Science.
The goal of this special issue is to explore the potential of innovative research methods and novel technologies for crime research and to acquaint readers with these methods so that they can apply them in their own research. The issue contains articles that focus on the methods and technologies used in terms of rationale, possibilities for application, strengths and weaknesses. It is intended to serve as a standard reference for other researchers interested in using innovative methods and novel technologies in their own research agendas.
Each article deals with a specific technology or method and is set-up in such as way as to give readers an overview of the technology/method, i.e., what it is about and how to use it and a review of the relevant literature. The special issue targets a readership of both established researchers as well as students at the undergraduate and postgraduate level (the articles would be suitable for use in methodology courses). The issue is also unique in terms of format, which allows people not only to get acquainted with a method or technology but also to start using it themselves. In this sense, the technologies described regard software and hardware that is widely available on the consumer market (e.g. GPS use in cell phones) and that sometimes can even be used free of charge (e.g., Google Street View).