Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 July 2009
the current chapter examines the various data sources and different analytic approaches for studying homicide situations. We review previously used data sources for studying homicide and describe the data for our analysis of homicide situations. The examination of methodological approaches for studying homicide begins with the “main effect” statistical model and is followed by a discussion of the “interactive effect” model specification. Techniques of spatial analysis for developing homicide typologies and traditional qualitative methods are also discussed.
After highlighting the conceptual and analytical problems with these traditional approaches, we present Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an alternative approach for studying homicide situations. The discussion of QCA includes an overview of the logic of this approach, its previous applications, and the methodological issues underlying its extension to the study of homicide situations in large samples. The chapter concludes with a brief application of QCA to the study of gender differences in Chicago homicides to illustrate the construction of truth tables, the use of probabilistic rules for defining unique and common profiles, and the interpretation of QCA results.
Data Sources for Studying Homicide
Various data sources have been used in previous studies of homicide to describe crime trends and their situational elements. These sources include newspaper accounts, court documents, mortality statistics, and police reports. While court records and newspaper accounts are the major source of information on homicide patterns in early Western history, police reports and national mortality statistics are the most typical choices for studying homicide trends in the twentieth century.