PhD and Masters Theses

The Internet Journal of Criminology presents PhD and Masters theses considered by the Editorial Board to be worthy of publication. The IJC will only publish theses that meet this criteria.
To download any of these criminology PhD or theses, please click on the links below.

Exploring Drug Smuggling: Police Officers’ interpretations of Motivations, Networks, Desistance and the 21st Century
By Lorna Oliver
Submitted in partial fulfilment for the MA Criminology degree at Nottingham Trent University, UK.

The motivations of smugglers can vary considerably, but the strongest appear to be financial, through deprivation or pure gluttony (Decker and Townsend Chapman 2008, Baily 2013). These smugglers do not often engage in this risky behaviour alone, they are commonly found as a part of a wider Organised Crime Group (OCG). Yesilyurt (2014) investigated into these networks, and suggested that they can be more efficient when they are hierarchical and organised. This research aimed to investigate how police officers interpret Drug smuggling. Is there a strong consensus or very different opinions between the officers, when considering the seriousness of drug smuggling? Furthermore, has smuggling developed over the past decade? Additionally, what is needed in order to combat drug smuggling? This study attempts to answer these questions through primary research. It found four main themes with the Police Officer participants. The first being, the perceptions of drug smuggling, which includes techniques and motivations. Following on is the opinion of the participants upon the smugglers themselves, which delves into frustration and enjoyment. Next is the perception concerning the punishment for smuggling, comprising of discussions upon recidivism. The final theme relates to the influence of the 21st century and how smuggling has developed in recent years. There is a significant consensus between the officers, albeit with a few diverse opinions with relation to networks and desistance. From the analysis, certain theoretical concepts were drawn upon, the most resilient being Rational Choice Theory and Strain Theory. Finally, recommendations for policy are created, including concepts on punishment and funding. Future research is also proposed, the exploration into desistance and using more experienced officers should aid to the drug smuggling literature.

Impacts of Homicide and Death Penalty Experiences: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach
By Markus Smith
A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma, USA. November 2011

There exists a culture of surviving victims who possess a body of knowledge stemming from their experiences of dealing with homicide. In reviewing the literature on surviving victims, whether they are survivors of the victim or the accused, it is evident that their diverse views are often unrealized or ignored by the very citizens and policymakers responsible for initiating and evaluating criminal justice policies. Ignoring this group, perhaps those who could contribute most to the dialogue surrounding criminal justice policy, limits the body of cultural knowledge which can be transmitted and used to educate the citizenry, thereby resulting in producing flawed public policy that, ultimately, negatively impacts citizens and the entire nation.

The significance of the study calls for future research to enrich the understanding of how surviving victims have been affected by tragedy and then to use that cultural knowledge to educate others, whether it be other surviving victims, research scholars, policymakers, media, uninformed citizens, etc. To be informed is essential for the success of a democratic state, being that the majority’s views prevail, which influences the direction of government and public policy.

Combatting Hate? A Socio-legal Discussion on the Criminalization of Hate in Canada
By Senaka K. Suriya
This doctoral thesis was submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts at Carleton University, Ottowa, Canada, May 1998

Decades of political dealings as well as judicial exchanges on lawmaking pertaining to hate in Canada have resulted in the creation of hate crime legislation. The contemporary debates on hate usually focus on the legalities of this hate crime legislation. This research, however, using a liberal consensus approach as well as a conflict approach, critically explores whether the criminalization of hate effectively combats hate in Canada.

Synergies of Syntheses: A Comparison of Systematic Review and Scientific Realist Evaluation Methods for Crime Prevention
By Louise Grove.
This doctoral thesis was submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University, July 2010

This thesis makes two significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge within crime prevention. The first of these is to evaluate the success of repeat victimisation prevention interventions. Interventions across four crime types are assessed herein, and the context-mechanisms-outcome configurations examined. The second contribution of this thesis is to assess two techniques of meta-evaluation: systematic reviews and realist syntheses. Each of these techniques is used in turn to assess the repeat victimisation prevention interventions. The contribution of each technique to the knowledge pool is then discussed, and the question of whether they are complementary or contradictory approaches answered.

The thesis is framed in the context of evolutionary epistemology, which is the philosophy underpinning both approaches to meta-evaluation addressed herein. The thesis starts, with an examination of: firstly, how the evaluation methods in question have evolved, and the background to their scientific worth; and secondly, how situational crime prevention measures have evolved over time. The thesis then examines the two competing approaches for their contribution to the evaluation ecosystem by using both to assess repeat victimisation prevention interventions. Finally, the last section poses the question of whether it is survival of the fittest, or whether co-existence or adaptation could be the key to survival for these two meta-evaluative methodologies.

Repeat victimisation prevention is revealed as an effective way of reducing crime, with a need for further research to apply the principle across further crime types. A requirement is identified for a greater breadth and depth of information to be included in future crime prevention evaluations. The systematic review is shown to be a useful way of assessing the overall effectiveness of the interventions, whilst the realist synthesis fills in the detail of why some interventions work and others fail. It is concluded that both approaches to meta-evaluation have useful contributions to make, and that a ‘third way’ incorporating the best elements from each method should be developed.

Understanding and Contextualising Racial Hatred on the Internet: A Study of Newsgroups and Websites
By Edward Thomas Pollock; this doctoral thesis was submitted in 2006, to Nottingham Trent University. Dr Pollock is currently a lecturer in criminology at Sheffield Hallam University.

This thesis builds upon the growing body of criminological literature in the field of racially motivated offending by embracing two key aims. Firstly, it aims to investigate the way in which Internet newsgroups create an enabling environment for the expression and development of on-line racial hatred and therefore endeavours to understand how newsgroups may be used to facilitate criminal and other harmful activity. Secondly, the study examines three newsgroups in depth and a number of Websites with an aim to understand their structure, organisation and dynamics as well as aspects of recruitment, dissemination of hate literature and the command and control of members. This thesis also places online bias, prejudice and hate speech within a social and historical context by arguing that the foundations for online hate speech did not merely arise with the development of the Internet in the 1970s but is bound up within an historical and social context that began some three and a half centuries ago during the Atlantic slave trade and hardly curtailing in the US and the UK until the 1960s.

Challenging privacy: Using the National DNA Database to support victims of sexed violence
By Sarah Lipscombe; submitted in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the degree of MA (by Research) at the University of Central Lancashire, June 2009

The National DNA Database raises controversial issues over privacy, consent, human rights, crime prevention and control. Taking these themes as guides, I will develop a critical discussion on the issue of sexed violence to exemplify how the law has failed to provide sanction for victims of this crime due to hegemonic masculinity. Campaigning groups for Violence Against Women call for more robust case-building in cases of sexed violence where DNA forensic evidence is crucial. The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s recent report ‘Without Consent’ highlights the low conviction rate for rape suggesting that this section of the criminal justice system is in a state of crisis. I will argue that it is necessary to utilise and develop the database as a tool for improved conviction rates and a possible reduction in incidence, through the power of detection and deterrence. However various human rights groups object to the existence and development of the database on grounds of privacy. I will challenge this notion of privacy and suggest that civil rights are founded through perceived threats and fear. Furthermore I will problematise whether there is a modern concept of privacy as masculinist that is employed by some human rights discourse. This concept of privacy operates a patriarchal hegemonic discourse to oppose women’s justice by keeping active criminals protected from investigation, therefore objections to the database on this basis should be contested in order to allow and accept DNA databasing as a crime control method against sexed violence. A compromise is necessary between operation and regulation. I will ask whether the database is only a small infringement on the rights of citizens for the assurance of improved detection, crime reduction and justice within today’s society.


Following a successful trial of the new approach, the IJC is moving to an open peer review process. The process involves publishing the reviewers names, affiliations and comments at the bottom of the reviewed article. There are several reasons for adopting this approach and the pros and cons of open versus anonymous/blind peer review can be found in many papers and discussions on the Internet.

To read more about the open peer review process Click here


The IJC is pleased to announce the publication of an updated Referencing Guide for students.
Compiled by Natasha Chubbuck, Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, this referencing guide provides an invaluable resource for all students. Chubbuck details the intricacies and complexities of referencing in a straightforward and concise format, providing the only referencing guide students will need.

To download Download

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Last updated 18/11/2015.