Abstract and Keywords
One of the primary decisions of any research endeavor is to identify where the information necessary for successfully completing the study is going to come from. In traditional criminological research this is a relatively easy question to answer. When we want to know about victims, we study victims. When we want to know about agents of the criminal justice system, we speak to them directly. However, the study of environmental criminology, or crime at places, does not have such a straightforward gatekeeper to this information. This chapter addresses the following question: What is the appropriate unit of analysis for research? It starts by considering the importance of the decision, followed by a series of concerns often associated with this decision-making process. It highlights how changing units of analysis can suggest different ecological patterns. It concludes with a discussion of how these considerations may impact our findings.
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