Picturing Probation: The utility of a comparative visual approach
- Publisher: SAGE Publications
A previous review of research on the practice of offender supervision identified the predominant use of interview-based methodologies and limited use of other research approaches (Robinson and Svensson, 2013). It also found that most research has tended to be locally focussed (i.e. limited to one jurisdiction) with very few comparative studies. This article reports on the application of a visual method in a small-scale comparative study. Practitioners in five European countries participated and took photographs of the places and spaces where offender supervision occurs. The aims of the study were two-fold: firstly, to explore the utility of a visual approach in a comparative context; and secondly, to provide an initial visual account of the environment in which offender supervision takes place. In this article, we address the first of these aims. We describe the application of the method in some depth before addressing its strengths and weaknesses. We conclude that visual methods provide a useful tool for capturing data about the environments in which offender supervision takes place and potentially provide a basis for more normative explorations about the practices of offender supervision in comparative contexts.
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