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A review of the life-events calendar method for criminological research


  • Sutton, James E.


This review presents an overview of the life-events calendar method for criminologists. In recent years researchers in the health and social sciences have increasingly adopted the life-events calendar method to examine a range of topics. Most of these applications have occurred across disparate disciplines outside of criminology. Criminologists may therefore be unaware of the life-events calendar method's advantages for studying offending. Compared to traditional surveys the life-events calendar method facilitates recall more effectively and measures temporal ordering, co-occurring events, and other complicated data more accurately. Respondents with unstable lives and cognitive difficulties respond favorably to the life-events calendar method's interactive mode of administration and use of visual and mental cues, and using the life-events calendar method to gather retrospective longitudinal data from offenders is cheaper and potentially more practical than implementing traditional panel designs. For these reasons the life-events calendar method should be regarded as a viable option for criminologists.

Suggested Citation

  • Sutton, James E., 2010. "A review of the life-events calendar method for criminological research," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1038-1044, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:38:y::i:5:p:1038-1044

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tina Glasner & Wander Vaart, 2009. "Applications of calendar instruments in social surveys: a review," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 333-349, May.
    2. M. Douglas Anglin & Yih-Ing Hser & Chih-Ping Chou, 1993. "Reliability and Validity of Retrospective Behavioral Self-Report By Narcotics Addicts," Evaluation Review, , vol. 17(1), pages 91-108, February.
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