Citizen Social Science in the Classroom: Criminology Students’ Perceptions of Prisoner Records

Taylor and Francis Group
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 2023, pp. 1-17
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Inspired by the longer established citizen science, citizen social science projects in the classroom can have positive effects on student engagement and learning outcomes. This article reports on the incorporation of a citizen social science assessment task requiring students to undertake the transcription of digitised historical prisoner records in Criminology and History courses at two Australian universities in 2020. Analysis of student responses (Criminology n = 42 and History n = 6) found that students were highly engaged by the exercise and gained new insights into change in criminal justice systems, the impact of social inequality on criminalisation and understandings of offender motivation. We conclude that the incorporation of citizen social science into the criminology classroom can lead to significant benefits in terms of student engagement, deep learning and enhancing the teaching-research nexus.
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