Essay on American Skinheads

4 pages
878 words
Vanderbilt University
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Dr. Mark S Hamm was the first ever person to do research based on any racial hate crime groups and terrorism in the world. Hamm's analysis was majorly on the American skinheads. These were violent and aggressive activists who attacked with intent to maim or kill- anyone who differed with their race, religion, and sexual beliefs. For objectivity, the doctor collected used both the qualitative-for development of hypothesis- and quantitative-for statistical derivations-techniques to analyze the data he got (Snap Surveys, 2010-2017). He used many ways to collect data, but the standard idea was through interviews. However, Dr. Mark did acquire data from multiple sources other than himself; he got information from ADL publishers, the FBI, the police, and the centers for democratic renewal and southern poverty law. Getting data from such sources is known to have its cons such as inaccuracies and the data having been tampered with, but this information is invaluable when correctly used in the hypothesis. Going back to the previously mentioned method of data collection-interview-, Dr. Hamm had great success with it.

The doctor's first thing was to try to make contact with the group leadership by writing letters requesting for an over-the-phone interview; since paranoia of getting captured made a personal meeting with the group leaders was out of the question. Of course, as a professional, Mr. Hamm had to put some rules on the ground such as anonymity and confidentiality; and maybe on an unprofessional note, he had to bribe them to reel them in for interviews finally (Hamm, M. S. 1993). Only a few accepted the interview request-which was expected-but Mark was persistent, he sent letters to those who did not come with a questionnaire attached and a promise of money if it was filled. He also personally went to prisons for more interviews and survey issuing and also used electronic materials to do few interviews. This nature of a research involving extremists would also make data collection risky; however science at times calls for one to put their physical body on the line (Ferrell, J., & Hamm, M. S. 1999).

Mainly the interviews and the questionnaires combination were the doctors in thing for data collection. Mark Hamm gained an unexpected favor from two of the leaders, whom he interviewed twice because of the trust and reliability of the information they gave Dr. Mark. Later on, as a result, two previously unknown leaders made a surprise call to Mark Hamm requesting for an interview.

Hamm tried even to get more data for his research using internet technology; the internet at that time was nowhere near as good as we have it today. Of course, by then the internet was only majorly used for scientific purposes, hence, by then it seemed a good idea. Dr. Mark, however, realized the internet was never near the fight,' which was almost always never online. There was also an issue of the fact that not many people were accustomed to the internet, especially the intellectually lacking thugs' calling themselves the American skinheads. Other common disadvantageous features included un-customizable options to fit a research and the unreliable speed. Were it today, Hamm's effort to further his data collection would have probably born fruits because of basically everyone being entirely familiar with the internet. Currently, there are also numerous software tools that can automatically collect data from specified target groups. Today information on the web travels fast, and it has become very reliable. Using the today-reliable internet will cut costs and also save a lot of time in data collection since the data will not need any transcription. One can now collect data from sources that are far away without having to move a muscle. The data collected will be inaccurate since the social desirability and inhibition experience while giving interviews and questionnaires will be eliminated.

The techniques Hamm used to collect data seemed to be ethical and objective enough not to be dismissed as otherwise. The part of promising your interviewee pay is in no doubt a great way to attract an interview opportunity, but at times it may not be as helpful as it seems. People without useful information or even without any knowledge may make up any story just to receive the money. Hann appears to have established credible and verifiable procedures for data collection. Hence, this makes sure he is non-partisan, unbiased, and fair in collecting the research data. Dr. Hann also maintained ethics in data collection. We see him asking for acquiescence from his sources to allow him/her to voluntarily let him carry out a data collection through interviewing them. Hann also kept his word on maintaining the anonymity of his respondents and also to keep their feedback confidential (Fitzpatrick, J. L. 1999). Hann even goes to great lengths by paying for information to get credible and quality information from a primary source.


Ferrell, J., & Hamm, M. S. (1999). Ethnography at the edge: Crime, deviance, and field research. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press

Fitzpatrick, J. L. (1999). Current and emerging ethical challenges in evaluation. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.

Hamm, M. S. (1993). American skinheads: The criminology and control of hate crime. Westport, Conn: Praeger.

SAGE Internet research methods. (2012). London: SAGE Publications

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