Student motivations for studying criminology: a narrative inquiry

Trebilcock, Julie ORCID logoORCID: and Griffiths, Clare (2022) Student motivations for studying criminology: a narrative inquiry. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 22 (3) . pp. 480-497. ISSN 1748-8958 [Article] (doi:10.1177/1748895821993843)

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The number of students studying criminology at university has significantly increased. Yet, criminology students have been all but ignored in research, despite being key stakeholders and ambassadors in the criminological enterprise. Drawing on the analysis of twelve in-depth interviews, we explore why students are motivated to study criminology and how these motivations are linked to their past experiences and future aspirations. Using a narrative inquiry, three types of stories emerged through our analysis: stories about (1) building on existing interests; (2) understanding the 'self'; and (3) securing 'justice' and ‘helping’ others. The stories students tell about their exposure to ‘crime’ help motivate their decision to study criminology, while their engagement with the discipline, enables them to make sense of these previous experiences and of themselves.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Biography, identities, narrative criminology, public criminology, study, university
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 31865
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
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Depositing User: Julie Trebilcock
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2021 09:20
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 15:04

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