5. Methods and Counting Crime

Dr. Wendelin Hume, Department of Criminal Justice, University of North Dakota

Positionality Statement 

Since the way we ask questions and the way we interpret the answers are often influenced by our own unique social lenses, we would like to share our social perspectives with the reader before delving into the discussion of research methods.

I—Wendelin Hume—was born in northwestern Minnesota but grew up in northwestern Ontario on land that is part of the Whitefish Bay Reserve/Naotkamegwanning Nation where I and my dad are enrolled. We have no idea of my mother’s ancestry as she was adopted as an infant and no records have been located. I experienced both the horrors of repeated violence and victimisation in my youth as well as wonderful traditional teachings under Baptiste, a respected spiritual elder who has since journeyed on.

I experienced the Father Moss boarding school briefly, and then from grade 6 onwards I completed my schooling at home on my own with lessons provided by the provincial government. Later, my family moved back to the United States, and eventually I attended high school for a year and a half before I graduated. I got married and had children while very young. Later, to better support my family, I completed a college degree at Black Hills State College in Spearfish, South Dakota. To try to correct some of the inequities in our justice system and put my woundedness into service for others, I earned my master’s and doctorate degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminology with an emphasis in victimology and statistics at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

I accepted a faculty position in North Dakota to be back up north and closer to family. I missed the trees and the snow. I missed the people and the land I am familiar with. Being Anishinaabe, I relate with the cultural background of Turtle Mountain tribal people more than the other tribes in my state, though I have worked with and developed friendships with members of all the North Dakota tribes. Part of my research interest is to study problems and successes in remote rural areas I can still access with some ‘windshield time’ from the University of North Dakota (UND). It should be noted that, today, UND rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate—presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognise that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeates this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the state of North Dakota—the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation; Spirit Lake Nation; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Personally, as a member of the Bear Clan, protecting others and trying to improve justice are important to me. In my research, I try to follow the 3Rs: Respect, Responsibility and Reciprocity. I demonstrate Respect as I am committed to the wisdom of the elders and others, and I try to be a good listener. I attempt to show Responsibility as an experienced and passionate researcher who is looking to improve the world of the next seven generations through research. I also believe in Reciprocity, and I think both the researcher and the participants involved in research should benefit from the research enterprise and any resulting improvements should benefit future generations.


Ashly Hanna, B.A., Department of Criminal Justice, University of North Dakota

Positionality Statement

I -Ashly Hanna – am Hunkpapa Lakota from Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Lithuanian and French Canadian. However, I grew up in Longmont, Colorado, between the custody of my two parents. In August of 2017, I moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota (ND), to attend the University of North Dakota (UND), on the lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate. Here, my Indigenous friends came from various reservations and cities. Sure, growing up, I knew I was Indigenous. Still, I also had the privilege of appearing white with very few “Indigenous” features such as high cheekbones and occasionally, I attended Wacipis or PowWows and did book reports on Sitting Bull. At age 18 at UND, I began my search for my Indigenous identity by learning my Lakota language and culture. In 2021, I graduated with my Bachelor’s in American Indian Studies and Criminal Justice. My research focuses on the recidivism rate of Indigenous peoples and policies at the community level that effect the reservation to prison pipeline. Even though I am Indigenous, and my family comes from and lives on the reserves of Standing Rock, conducting research was more complex than I imagined. I had to be conscious of the various tribal nations in America and Canada and how different we all are. I also respected that I could not just conduct any research I wanted on my affiliated reservation. Our ancestors may share similar complex histories, but our upbringing was indeed different. I had to respect that as an urban Native, I am unaware of their hardships, and research methods are best when conducted by a team with many Indigenous perspectives.



The main purpose of this chapter is to expose the reader to basic social science research methods. Most modern research methods have been developed following typical Western practices. This chapter will provides an overview of those practices as well as offer some additional methods and frameworks that draw from Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

The chapter begins by providing an overview of the nine main steps in the research process. Two examples are used for illustrative purposes as the reader is walked through the nine steps in more detail. We review the process of moving from the formulation of a research question through to the collection of data, how researchers address the time dimension in research, and how they assess the quality of research. The chapter also explores the definition of methodology and provides a brief overview of the various research methods used in the social sciences, with a discussion of the inductive versus deductive models and quantitative versus qualitative research methods.

Interwoven within this discussion of research methods is an outline of some fundamental differences between Western and Indigenous worldviews and the impact of these worldviews on how we conduct research. The chapter provides a brief overview of the various ways we measure crime in Canada, including the Uniform Crime Report, the General Social Survey and self-report data. Throughout the chapter, ethical considerations are discussed. The chapter concludes with how researchers can move forward with culturally sensitive, evidence-informed practice.


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Introduction to Criminology Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Shereen Hassan and Dan Lett, MA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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