Professor Nigel Fielding

Emeritus Professor

Qualifications: BA (Sussex), MA (Kent), PhD (LSE), AcSS.

Phone: Work: 01483 68 6967
Room no: 31 AD 03

Further information

Research Interests

My research interests are in criminology, socio-legal studies, social research methodology, and new technologies for social research. In criminology I have particular expertise in policing, having conducted studies of police training, police occupational culture, community and neighbourhood policing, equal opportunities in the police service, police corruption, and comparative research on international police systems. In socio-legal studies I have particular interests in the criminal courts and the experiences of lay people during the criminal trial process. My study of lay participants' experience of trials of cases of physical violence won the Socio-Legal Studies Association Hart Prize 2007 for the Best Socio-Legal Book.

In social research methodology my primary expertise is in qualitative methods, particularly the practice and ethics of participant observation, the status of interview data, and software for the analysis of qualitative data, in which latter I co-direct the UK national centre for qualitative software. I also have substantial expertise in multiple-method research and methodological 'triangulation', secondary analysis of archival qualitative data, online research methods, and the application of grid and high performance computing to social research, where I have a particular interest in the use of Access Grid technology for 'virtual fieldwork'. My paper on the latter was shortlisted for the Sage Prize for Innovation and Excellence 2007.

My research has been sponsored by, inter alia, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Fulbright Commission, the US Department of Defense, the Home Office, the UK Police Foundation, the US Police Foundation, Surrey Police Authority, Surrey Police, the Metropolitan Police, the Swiss Information and Documentation Service, the Deutsche Zentral Archiv, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Thales plc, Electricite de France, Volkswagen Stiftung, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Research Collaborations

Current and Recently Completed Research Projects

Further information on these projects is available on our Research pages by following the links available below:
* Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS)
* Virtual Collaboration: affordances and engagement
* Access Grid Node
* Signal Crimes National Roll Out Phase One


Journal articles

  • Fielding N, Bullock K, Fielding J, Hieke G. (2017) 'Patterns of Injury on Duty and Perceptions of Support amongst Serving Police Personnel in England and Wales'. Policing and Society,


    This article reports the findings of a large scale survey (N=10,897) which sought to reveal patterns of injury on duty (IoD) and perceptions of organisational and other support amongst serving police personnel in England and Wales. We found that IoD is a multi-faceted issue incorporating wide-ranging physical and psychological injuries and illnesses. We also found that, by their own testimony, IoD is not experienced equally amongst police personnel. Reported experiences of IoD together with satisfaction with, and priorities for, support in the aftermath of injury were shaped by injury type, the role played in the police organisation and the individual characteristics of police personnel, notably, gender. Conceptual and practical implications are discussed.

  • Fielding NG. (2014) 'Qualitative Research and Our Digital Futures'. Qualitative Inquiry, 20 (9), pp. 1064-1073.


    Those who lived through the 1960s recall a time of rapid social change and political turmoil. Commentators discern parallels with present times, citing the Arab Spring, the West’s fiscal crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Social science saw its own upheavals in the 1960s—the emergence of Grounded Theory, postmodernism, and perspectives based on the counter-culture, feminism, and minorities. This article sees contemporary equivalents in the growth of “citizen research” and indigenous methods, and consequent struggles over what research is for. We should not see these developments as a crisis in the hegemony of social science but as its coming of age, and qualitative research as its principal arena.

  • Fielding J, Fielding N, Hughes G. (2013) 'Opening up open-ended survey data using qualitative software'. Quality & Quantity, 47 (6), pp. 3261-3276.


    This article considers the contribution that qualitative software can make to ‘opening up’ Open-Ended Question (‘OEQ’) data from surveys. While integrating OEQ data with the analysis of fixed response items is a challenge, it is also an endeavour for which qualitative software offers considerable support. For survey researchers who wish to derive more analytic value from OEQ data, qualitative software can be a useful resource. We profile the systematic use of qualitative software for such purposes, and the procedures and practical considerations involved. The discussion is illustrated by examples derived from a survey dataset relating to environmental risk in the UK.

  • Fielding NG. (2013) 'Lay people in court: the experience of defendants, eyewitnesses and victims'. British Journal of Sociology, 64 (2), pp. 287-307.


    The article considers the effect of criminal trial procedures on the experience at court of victims, witnesses and defendants. Trials for offences involving physical violence were observed, and interviews conducted with those involved. The article highlights communication problems lay people encountered relating to courtroom conventions, discusses alternative procedures granting more room for narrative testimony, and draws parallels between such an approach and principles of research methods directed to securing valid, reliable data.

  • Fielding JL, Fielding N. (2013) 'Integrating information from multiple methods in the analysis of perceived risk of crime: The role of geo-referenced field data and mobile methods.'. Journal of Criminology,


    This paper demonstrates the use of mixed methods discovery techniques to explore public perceptions of community safety and risk, using computational techniques that combine and integrate layers of information to reveal connections between community and place. Perceived vulnerability to crime is conceptualised using an etic/emic framework. The etic “outsider” viewpoint imposes its categorisation of vulnerability not only on areas (“crime hot spots” or “deprived neighbourhoods”) but also on socially constructed groupings of individuals (the “sick” or the “poor”) based on particular qualities considered relevant by the analyst. The range of qualities is often both narrow and shallow.Thealternative, emic, “insider” perspective explores vulnerability based on the meanings held by the individuals informed by their lived experience. Using recorded crime data and Census-derived area classifications, we categorise an area in Southern England from an etic viewpoint. Mobile interviews with local residents and police community support officers and researcher-led environmental audits provide qualitative emic data. GIS software provides spatial context to analytically link both quantitative and qualitative data. We demonstrate how this approach reveals hidden sources of community resilience and produces findings that explicate low level social disorder and vandalism as turns in a “dialogue” of resistance against urbanisation and property development.

  • Fielding NG. (2012) 'The Diverse Worlds and Research Practices of Qualitative Software'. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13 (2) Article number 12


    The article considers the way that digital research technologies and online environments increasingly support new forms of qualitative research that have emerged as a result of new user groups taking up the practice of social research. New practitioners of qualitative research have entered the field from societies where qualitative research is a newly-established practice, and new cadres of "citizen researchers" have turned to qualitative methods for non-academic purposes. These groups challenge accepted understandings of qualitative methods. The article uses the example of qualitative software as a case study of how qualitative research is enabled by new digital tools that help new user groups extend the application of qualitative research methods.

  • Fielding NG. (2012) 'Triangulation and Mixed Methods Designs: Data Integration With New Research Technologies'. Journal of Mixed Methods Research,


    Data integration is a crucial element in mixed methods analysis and conceptualization. It has three principal purposes: illustration, convergent validation (triangulation), and the development of analytic density or ‘‘richness.’’ This article discusses such applications in relation to new technologies for social research, looking at three innovative forms of data integration that rely on computational support: (a) the integration of geo-referencing technologies with qualitative software, (b) the integration of multistream visual data in mixed methods research, and (c) the integration of data from qualitative and quantitative methods.

  • Fielding JL, Fielding NG. (2011) 'User satisfaction and user experiences with Access Grid as a medium for social science research: a research note'. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14 (TBC), pp. 1-13.


    Access Grid (AG) is a state-of-the-art video conferencing system that operates over computer networks such as the Internet. In the research sphere it has principally been used to conduct meetings of natural scientists in large international collaborations, such as physicists collaborating over the Large Hadron Collider. Social scientists have recently begun exploring the use of AG to conduct ‘virtual fieldwork’ where researchers carry out interviews or moderate group discussions involving participants at remote sites. There have also been experiments in using AG to deliver social research methods training and to facilitate meetings between social researchers and government researchers who are collaborating on research projects. This article provides a quantitative analysis of the experiences of a sample of participants in such AG sessions. It finds a high degree of satisfaction with the technical affordances of the medium, and identifies differences in perspective according to whether a session is research-oriented or has a ‘real world’ purpose.

  • Fielding NG. (2011) 'Judges and their work'. Social and Legal Studies, 20 (1), pp. 97-115.


    The article discusses judicial activism in the light of research into the attitudes of English judges, and a comparator group of US judges, towards judicial selection, judicial training and sentencing practice. Noting commonalities and shared perspectives, it is argued that the findings indicate enduring features of occupational culture that originate in relations within the legal workgroup and the practical craft of judging. Against the context of highly conventional attitudes, a conservative form of judicial activism is found in respect of resistance to legislative and policy innovation.

  • Fielding NG. (2010) 'Virtual Fieldwork Using Access Grid'. Field Methods, 22 (3), pp. 195-216.


    This article discusses the use of Access Grid (AG)-a form of video teleconferencing delivered over computer networks-to perform fieldwork. Interviews and group discussions were conducted with students and criminal court judges at sites remote from the fieldworker. A concept of "engagement'' was used to identify distinctive interactional features and provide a first insight into the AG as a fieldwork medium.

  • Fielding NG. (2010) 'Elephants, gold standards and applied qualitative research'. Qualitative Research, 10 (1), pp. 123-127.


    In a recent article in Qualitative Research, Norman Denzin discussed a variety of threats to qualitative research posed by institutional and professional organizational actors who would elevate Randomized Control Trials and associated practices as the gold standard indexing the quality of all social research. Informed by his long established contributions to the constantly changing field of research methodology, Denzin brought passion, and a rich variety of arguments, to the debate. I argue that this also brought some lapses of rigour that require attention if qualitative methodologists are to put their best case against the narrow and intolerant vision offered by the proponents of gold standards.

  • Fielding N. (2010) 'Mixed methods research in the real world'. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13 (2), pp. 127-138.


    The article discusses the increasing use of mixed methods designs in applied research, particularly work commissioned by government. The roots of this trend are discussed in the UK and US context, drawing out particularly the implications for qualitative methods, the role of benchmarks and quality standards, and the implications for critical research. Examples from socio‐legal research and research on social aspects of health and illness illustrate the argument.

  • Fielding NG, Cisneros-Puebla CA. (2009) 'CAQDAS-GIS Convergence Toward a New Integrated Mixed Method Research Practice?'. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 3 (4), pp. 349-370.


    The article explores qualitative geography and qualitative social science as sites of mixed methods research practice. The authors argue that there is an emergent convergence of methodologies and analytical purposes between qualitative geography and qualitative social science. The authors show how methodological and analytical convergence has been enabled by technological convergence between geographical information systems (GIS) and qualitative software (CAQDAS). The argument is illustrated by examples of convergent geo-referenced mixed methods studies, including a main example from research on reproductive health in Paraguay.

  • Fielding NG. (2009) 'Of Bridges and Limbs A Response to Pascale and Healy'. Current Sociology, 57 (3), pp. 462-465.
  • Fielding NG. (2009) 'Going out on a Limb Postmodernism and Multiple Method Research'. Current Sociology, 57 (3), pp. 427-447.


    The article argues that `moderate postmodernism' can in certain respects be reconciled with a methodological practice, triangulation, that is based on mainstream methodological foundations. A connection is made between moderate postmodernism and triangulation's orientation to multiple methods. The evolution of social science approaches to triangulation towards a position less concerned with convergent validation and more concerned with using multiple methods to create greater analytic density and conceptual richness facilitates a conciliation between postmodernism and triangulation. The argument is illustrated by contemporary empirical examples.

  • Fielding NG. (2008) 'Grid computing and qualitative social science'. Social Science Computer Review, 26 (3), pp. 301-316.


    Qualitative research is increasingly important in policy-related and applied work, as well as in academic work. Grid and high-performance computing (HPC) technologies promise significant potential returns for qualitative researchers. Tagged cyber-research in the United States and e-social science in the United Kingdom (and e-research in general), the application of HPC technologies can enhance the scope, depth, and rigor of qualitative inquiry by enabling new data-handling capacities and analytic procedures; new support for work with colleagues based elsewhere; and new facilities to archive, curate, and exploit the many kinds of data that qualitative researchers use. From these resources flow new challenges to conventions of privacy and research ethics, data integrity and data protection, and the relations between scientific communities and society. Based on a survey, individual interviews, and group discussions, involving qualitative researchers and computer scientists, this article scans existing applications of grid and HPC technologies to qualitative research; indicates potential applications; and identifies associated ethical, practical, and technological challenges.

  • Fielding NG, Fielding JL. (2008) 'Resistance and Adaptation to Criminal Identity: Using Secondary Analysis to Evaluate Classic Studies of Crime and Deviance'. Historical Social Research, 33 (3), pp. 75-93.


    Qualitative data offer rich insights into the social world, whether alone or in tandem with statistical analysis. However, qualitative data are costly to collect and analyse. Moreover, it is a commonplace that only a portion of the data so labouriously collected is the subject of final analysis and publication. Secondary analysis is a well-established method in quantitative research and is raising its profile in application to qualitative data. It has a particular part to play when research is on sensitive topics and/or hard-to-reach populations, as in the example considered here. This article contributes to discussion of the potential and constraints of secondary analysis of qualitative data by reporting the outcome of the secondary analysis of a key study in the sociology of prison life, Cohen and Taylor's research on the long-term imprisonment of men in maximum security. The article re-visits Cohen and Taylor's original analysis and demonstrates support for an alternative, if complementary, conceptualisation, using archived data from the original study. Among the methodological issues discussed are the recovery of the context of the original fieldwork and the role of secondary analysis in an incremental approach to knowledge production.

  • Fielding N, Macintyre M. (2006) 'Access grid nodes in field research'. SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ONLINE, 11 (2)
  • Fielding NG, Innes M. (2006) 'Reassurance Policing, Community Policing and Measuring Police Performance'. Policing and Society, 16 (2), pp. 127-145.
  • Fielding NG. (2006) 'Identity and intellectual work: biography, theory and research on law enforcement'. Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, 7, pp. 159-181.
  • Fielding NG. (2005) 'Concepts and theory in community policing'. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 44 (5), pp. 460-472.
  • Fielding NG. (2004) 'Getting the most from archived qualitative data: epistemological, practical and professional obstacles’, in special issue on Celebrating Classic Sociology: Pioneers of Contemporary British Qualitative Research'. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 7 (1), pp. 97-108.
  • Fielding NG, Innes M, Cope N. (2004) 'The appliance of science: the theory and practice of crime intelligence analysis'. British Journal of Criminology, 45 (1), pp. 39-57.
  • Fielding NG, Mangabeira W, Lee R. (2004) 'Computers and Qualitative Research: adoption, use and representation'. Social Science Computer Review (USA), 22 (2), pp. 167-178.
  • Fielding NG. (2002) 'Theorizing community policing'. British Journal of Criminology, 42 (1), pp. 147-163.
  • Fielding NG, Lee RM. (2002) 'New patterns in the adoption and use of qualitative software'. Field Methods, 14 (2), pp. 197-216.
  • Fielding NG, Mangabeira W, Lee R. (2001) 'Padroes de Adocao, Modos de Uso e Representacoes sobre Tecnologia Usuarios do CAQDAS no Reino Unido, em Meados da Decada de 90'. Sociologias, 5, pp. 20-52.
  • Fielding NG. (2001) 'Community policing: fighting crime or fighting colleagues'. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 3 (4), pp. 289-302.
  • Fielding JL. (2000) 'Resistance and adaptation to criminal identity: using secondary analysis to evaluate classic studies of crime and deviance'. Sociology, 34 (4), pp. 1-19.
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1999) 'Crime and Economic Activity: A Panel Data Approach'. British Journal of Criminology, 39 (3), pp. 391-400.
  • Fielding NG. (1999) 'The norm and the text: Denzin and Lincoln’s handbooks of qualitative method'. British Journal of Sociology, 50 (3), pp. 523-532.
  • Fielding NG. (1999) 'Research and practice in policing: a view from Europe'. Police Practice and Research (USA), 1 (1), pp. 1-29.
  • Fielding NG. (1999) 'Policing’s dark secret: the career paths of ethnic minority officers'. Sociological Research Online, 4 (1)
  • Fielding NG, Clarke A, Witt R. (1999) 'Crime and economic activity: a panel data approach'. British Journal of Criminology, 39 (3), pp. 391-400.
  • Fielding NG, Witt R, Clarke A. (1998) 'Crime, earnings inequality and unemployment in England and Wales'. Applied Economics Letters, 5, pp. 265-267.
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1998) 'Crime, Earnings, Inequality and Unemployment in England and Wales'. Applied Economics Letters, 5 (4), pp. 265-267.
  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1998) 'Common Trends and Common Cycles in Regional Crime'. Applied Economics, 30 (1), pp. 1407-1412.
  • Fielding NG. (1998) 'Comments on "The moral economics of homeless heroin addicts: confronting ethnography, HIV risk, and everyday violence in San Francisco shooting encampments'. Substance Use and Misuse, 33 (11), pp. 2361-2363.
  • Fielding NG, Witt R, Clarke A. (1998) 'Common trends and common cycles in regional crime'. Applied Economics, 30, pp. 1407-1412.
  • Fielding NG, Lee RM. (1997) 'Applications of computer software in the sociological analysis of qualitative data'. Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique, 57, pp. 3-24.
  • Fielding NG. (1996) 'Bias in criminological research'. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry: a multidisciplinary journal, 7 (1), pp. 5-14.
  • Fielding NG. (1996) 'Qualitative data analysis: representation of a technology: a comment on Coffey, Holbrook and Atkinson'. Sociological Research Online, 1 (4)
  • Fielding NG. (1996) 'Diffusion of a methodological innovation: Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis in the UK'. Current Sociology, 44 (3), pp. 242-258.
  • Moran-Ellis J, Fielding NG. (1996) 'A national survey of the investigation of child sexual abuse'. British Journal of Social Work, 26, pp. 337-356.
  • Fielding NG. (1994) 'Varieties of research interviews'. Nurse Researcher, 1 (3), pp. 4-12.
  • Fielding NG. (1994) 'The organisational and occupational troubles of community police'. Policing and Society, 4 (4), pp. 305-322.
  • Fielding NG, Conroy S. (1992) 'Interviewing child victims: police and social work investigations of child sexual abuse'. Sociology, 26 (1), pp. 103-124.
  • Fielding NG, Fielding JL. (1992) 'A comparative minority: female recruits to a British constabulary force'. Policing and Society, 2 (4), pp. 205-218.
  • Fielding NG, Norris C, Kemp C, Fielding JL. (1992) 'Black and blue: an analysis of the influence of race on being stopped by the police'. British Journal of Sociology, 43 (2), pp. 207-224.
  • Fielding NG, Fielding JL. (1991) 'Police attitudes to crime and punishment: certainties and dilemmas'. British Journal of Criminology, 31 (1), pp. 39-53.
  • Fielding NG. (1990) 'Training the boss: higher police education in Britain'. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 29 (3), pp. 199-205.
  • Fielding NG. (1990) 'Mediating the message: the co-production of field research'. American Behavioral Scientist, 33 (5), pp. 608-620.
  • Fielding NG. (1990) 'Qualitative knowledge and computing'. Qualitative Sociology, (Summer)
  • Fielding NG. (1988) 'Competence and culture in the police'. Sociology, 22 (1), pp. 45-64.
  • Fielding NG. (1987) 'Being used by the police'. British Journal of Criminology, 27 (1), pp. 64-69.
  • Fielding NG, Fielding JL. (1987) 'A study of resignation during British police training'. Journal of Police Science and, 15 (1), pp. 24-36.
  • Fielding NG. (1986) 'Social control and the community'. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 25 (3), pp. 172-189.
  • Fielding NG. (1986) 'Evaluating the role of training in police socialization: a UK example'. Journal of Community Psychology, 14 (3), pp. 319-330.
  • Fielding NG. (1986) 'The politics of the police: a review symposium'. British Journal of Criminology, 26 (1), pp. 94-105.
  • Fielding NG, Godsland JH. (1985) 'Children convicted of grave crimes: Section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act and childrens' rights'. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 24 (4), pp. 282-297.
  • Fielding NG. (1984) 'Police socialisation and police competence'. British Journal of Sociology, 35 (4), pp. 568-590.
  • Fielding NG, Fielding JL. (1983) 'Teaching the sociology of law: an empirical study'. Journal of Law and Society,, 10 (2), pp. 181-200.
  • Fielding NG. (1983) 'Ideology and social psychology'. Reviewing sociology, 3 (1), pp. 13-15.
  • Fielding NG. (1982) 'Legal education for social workers'. Journal of Social Work Education,
  • Fielding NG. (1982) 'Fielding and "Fascism": a reply to Miles'. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 5 (2)
  • Fielding NG. (1981) 'The credibility of police accountability'. Polytechnic Law Review, 6 (2), pp. 89-93.
  • Fielding NG. (1981) 'Ideology, democracy and the National Front'. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 4 (1), pp. 56-74.


  • Fielding NG. (2009) Interviewing II.. Sage Publications Ltd Four-Volume Set


    Interviewing has a strong claim to be the most widely-practiced social science research methods. The ubiquity of this basic activity means that this field has one of the most developed bodies of methodological literature having ramifications throughout the social sciences. Nigel Fielding, the acknowledged expert in the field, has again collected a set of contemporary classic readings. Interviewing has been established as the authoritative and balanced research resource in this subject. It is comprehensive and generic; however, its coverage does not entirely reflect the apportionment of intellectual effort and interest in the field. Interviewing II delves further into the subject and concentrates on articles representing topics that have proven controversial and thus attracted many contributions.

  • Fielding NG, Lee RM, Blank G. (2008) The Sage handbook of online research methods. London and Beverly Hills CA : Sage


    This handbook is the first to provide comprehensive, up-to-the-minute coverage of contemporary and developing Internet and online social research methods, spanning both quantitative and qualitative research applications. The editors have brought together leading names in the field of online research to give a thoroughly up to date, practical coverage, richly illustrated with examples. The chapters cover both methodological and procedural themes, offering readers a sophisticated treatment of the practice and uses of Internet and online research that is grounded in the principles of research methodology. Beginning with an examination of the significance of the Internet as a research medium, the book goes on to cover research design, data capture, online surveys, virtual ethnography, and the internet as an archival resource, and concludes by looking at potential directions for the future of Internet and online research. The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods will be welcomed by anyone interested in the contemporary practice of computer-mediated research and scholarship. Postgraduates, researchers and methodologists from disciplines across the social sciences will find this an invaluable source of reference.

  • Fielding NG. (2006) Courting violence: Offence against the Person cases in court. Oxford : Oxford University Press
  • Fielding NG. (2005) The police and social conflict. 2nd edition. London : Routledge
  • Fielding NG. (2002) Interviewing. London and Thousand Oaks CA : Sage Publications Ltd 4 vols
  • Fielding NG, Clarke A, Witt R. (2000) The Economic Dimensions of Crime. Palgrave Macmillan
  • Fielding NG, Clarke A, Witt R. (2000) The economic dimensions of crime. Basingstoke : Macmillan
  • Fielding NG, Lee R. (1998) Computer analysis and qualitative research. London : Sage
  • Fielding NG. (1995) Community policing. Oxford : Oxford University Press


    Community policing seems always in vogue, yet its essential qualities remain elusive. There has been a rush to evaluate community policing before commentators have got to grips with what community police officers do which is distinctive. This book demonstrates, in detail, how community police officers go about such matters as gathering crime-relevant information from people in the local community, how they apply informal social control to public disorder situations, and how they 'play' the police organization itself in order to obtain resources they need and to secure their own advancement. However, such a brief is not sufficient in itself. The point is to use such a discussion of working practices to assess the conceptual apparatus which has been developed to understand community policing, and to evaluate the potential of community policing to achieve the objectives which policy-makers have set for it. That is the agenda of this book.

  • Fielding NG, Norris C. (1992) Negotiating nothing: police decision-making in disputes. Farnborough : Avebury
  • Fielding N. (1991) The police and social conflict. London : Athlone Pr
  • Fielding N, Lee RM. (1991) Using computers in qualitative research. Sage Publications Ltd


    This work brings the communication scholar up-to-date on where qualitative methods are in current sociological and educational discourse.

  • Fielding NG, Conroy S. (1990) Investigating child sexual abuse. London : Police Foundation/Policy
  • Fielding N. (1988) Joining forces: police training, socialisation and occupational competence. London : Routledge
  • Fielding NG. (1988) Actions and structure. Beverley Hills & London : Sage
  • Fielding NG, Fielding JL. (1986) Linking data: the articulation of qualitative and quantitative methods in social research. Beverley Hills & London :
  • Fielding NG. (1984) Probation practice: client support under social control. Farnborough: : Gower


    The 50 officers interviewed included trainees and main and senior grade probation officers (PO's) working in 3 probation and aftercare areas. The study also involved 6 months' observation in a number of probation offices, several prisons, a remand center, a detention center, a probation hostel, several intermediate treatment groups, a day treatment center, and a community service unit. Analytic themes were developed from the empirical data. The study concluded that the inherent aspects of probation work as it is formally defined and operated within the occupational culture account for the PO's general commitment to varying measures of social control. However, probation is viewed by the officers as a career in social work in its training, its selection, and the motivation of those who enter it. Control is seen as a necessary part of the work but unlikely to yield much job satisfaction in isolation from the caring and rehabilitative function. An obvious solution to the dichotomy of care and control is commitment to the belief that the control of behavior is an aspect of positive client development, but the study found that officers' approaches to their work are affected by the coexistence of two different approaches to deviants, one emphasizing free will and the other determinism. Officers working under a free will model aim at maximizing reform opportunities for the client, while officers embracing a determinist conception of deviance and social problems find the exercise of control more amenable. Officers express the view that recent developments in criminal justice under the 'justice model' have fostered an emphasis on the control aspects of probation. Chapter notes and a subject index are provided.

  • Fielding N. (1981) The National Front. London : Routledge & Kegan Paul

Book chapters

  • Fielding NG. (2010) 'Making, Untangling, and Forecasting the Future of Symbolic Interactionism'. in Downes D, Hobbs D, Newburn T (eds.) The Eternal Recurrence of Crime and Control: Essays in Honour of Paul Rock Oxford : Oxford University Press


    This chapter discusses Paul Rock's contribution to the theoretical development of symbolic interactionism and to the methods associated with empirical investigations informed by symbolic interactionism's analytic framework. It revolves around Rock's landmark book The Making of Symbolic Interactionism. Drawing on this text, the chapter considers Rock's account of the formative period in the original statements of symbolic interactionism and of subsequent debates informed by the critics and critical friends of symbolic interactionism. It focuses on the problematic intersection between symbolic interactionism and the social phenomenologies. It also identifies Rock's contribution to our understanding of fieldwork and, especially, to what he called the ‘pivotal strategy’ of participant observation. It also includes a discussion of the trajectory of symbolic interactionism's later and future development.

  • Fielding NG. (2008) 'The Role of Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis: Impact on Emergent Methods in Qualitative Research'. in Hesse-Biber S, Leavy P (eds.) The Handbook of Emergent Methods Guilford MA : Guilford Press Article number 32 , pp. 675-696.


    It can be somewhat of a shock for those who have been involved with an innovation when the innovation does not just become mainstream but begins to evolve. We might think with some sympathy about the feelings of the developers of the biplane when the monoplane came along, or those of the engineers busily refining the propellor engine when jets suddenly appeared over European skies in the late stages of World War II. For many researchers and methodologists, computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (‘CAQDAS’) is not yet even mainstream, but those involved in its development can now look back on twenty or so years’ experience, and change is fast in the computing world. Standard typologies already list several distinct generations of qualitative software, and there are new possibilities emerging that arise from the capacities of what is now a mature field of social science computing, while others arise from new computational resources that are just beginning to be applied to qualitative research. To see where we are going we have to know where we have been. The task of this chapter is therefore to provide an account of qualitative software and what it can currently do as a basis from which to then profile the new, incoming, and over-the-horizon possibilities being opened up. We will begin with a discussion of the emergence of qualitative software, and then review the different types of qualitative software and the kinds of work that researchers can do with them. We will then look at an emergent technique that has lately arisen from capacities that have been associated with CAQDAS for some time but have been under-exploited, namely methodological integration, the interrelation of qualitative and quantitative dimensions of social phenomena in the pursuit of fuller and more valid analyses. Finally, we will profile some new emergent techniques that can be glimpsed at their formative stage. These techniques relate to new developments in Grid computing and High Performance Computing (HPC).

  • Silver C, Fielding NG. (2008) 'Using Computer Packages in Qualitative Research'. in Willig C, Stainton-Rogers W (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology London : Sage


    The support that information technology offers for social and behavioural science research does not simply depend on the development of computer science but on the methodological requirements and analytic practices of given disciplines. Increasing interest in computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) in psychology relates in part to changes in the professional standing of qualitative research methods. Regardless of debates over the status of qualitative methods in psychology, there are sufficient generic features in the analysis of qualitative data in the human sciences that the IT tools currently available will offer psychologists useful support for their work. While the disciplinary context in which CAQDAS originally developed was skewed somewhat to sociology, psychologists contributed to the development of these tools. This software field is somewhat distinctive in that, from the outset, development has generally been driven by academic social scientists, aided by programmers.

  • Fielding NG, Lee RM, Blank G. (2008) 'The Internet as a Research Medium: An Editorial Introduction to The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods'. in Fielding NG, Lee RM, Blank G (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods London; Beverly Hills, CA : Sage


    It is hardly an exaggeration to observe that the Internet has had, is having, and will have a major impact on research methods at every stage of the research process, and beyond. As is by now well known, much of the technical foundation for the Internet was laid during the 1960s by research on computer networking carried out under the auspices of the Advanced Research Program Agency of the United States Department of Defense, and at the National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom (an engaging historical account can be found in Naughton, 1999). A period of slow and steady growth followed, with the Internet increasingly taking on an international, and heavily academic, character. The introduction of the World Wide Web fostered a period of substantial expansion in use of the Internet, opening the way for a period of commercial and institutional exploitation and utilization that still continues today.

  • Fielding NG, Warnes R. (2008) 'Computer Based Qualitative Methods in Case Study Research'. in Byrne D, Ragin C (eds.) Handbook of Case-Based Methods London : Sage Article number 15


    In recent years the practice of qualitative data analysis has been substantially influenced by the emergence of CAQDAS computer-assisted qualitative data analysis. Qualitative software has enabled more formal and systematic approaches to qualitative data analysis, facilitated closer integration of findings from qualitative and quantitative research and stimulated engagement with multimedia data sources. However, both the methodological literature and developers of qualitative software have largely confined their attention to code-based rather than casebased approaches to qualitative data analysis, and software developed to support the analysis of case study data in the pursuit of causal analysis has been neglected outside that field. The case study field may benefit from a closer engagement with qualitative software, and users of qualitative software may benefit from widening their horizons to include software developed with case study analysis in mind.

  • Fielding JL, Fielding NG. (2008) 'Synergy and synthesis: integrating qualitative and quantitative data'. in Alasuutari P, Brannen J, Bickman L (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Social Research Methods London : Sage Article number 33 , pp. 555-571.
  • Fielding N. (2008) 'Ethnography'. in G.N. Gilbert (ed.) Researching Social Life 3rd Edition. London : Sage , pp. 145-163.


    This chapter concerns ethnography, a form of qualitative research combining several methods, including interviewing and observation. I examine the emergence of ethnography before discussing the practicalities of conducting ethnographic research, including the maintenance of relations in the field, fieldwork roles, and methods for recording field data. Considerable attention is paid to matters of analysis, since the eclecticism of ethnographic methods means that ethnographers often confront problems in converting reams of data into a coherent analysis. The intimacy of field relations prompts a discussion of fieldwork ethics.

  • Fielding NG, Thomas H. (2008) 'Qualitative interviewing'. in G.N. Gilbert (ed.) Researching Social Life 3rd Edition. London : Sage Article number 8 , pp. 123-144.


    Sociologists have always been interested in the attitudes and beliefs of social groups, and much methodological refinement has come about by engaging with the problems posed by trying to get at other people’s feelings. A key method of attitude research is the interview, and, as we will see, it has a central role in a diversity of research designs.

  • Fielding NG. (2008) 'Analytic density, postmodernism, and applied multiple method research'. in Bergman M (ed.) Advances in mixed method research: theories and applications Bern; London : SAGE Publications Ltd Article number 3 , pp. 37-52.


    The developmental trajectory of multiple method research is a somewhat curious one. Combining methods is at least as old as Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian wars, in which the speeches constituting a quarter of the History offer insight into the Greek political mind, the motives of contemporaries, and the arguments they used, so that, blended with the descriptive chronicle, the work balances detailed documentation of events with insights into what they meant to those involved. However, the modern origin of methodological combination is commonly dated to Campbell's ‘multi-trait, multi-method matrix’ in psychology (Campbell and Fiske, 1959), which rendered the concept in highly formal terms. Methodological combination was to be systematic and carefully orchestrated. Approaches following Campbell's inspiration were based on ‘triangulation’, an objective aiming to test and prove relationships. The goal was causal explanation with predictive adequacy and the mechanism was ‘convergent validation’.

  • Clarke A, Fielding N, Witt R. (2000) 'Crime, Unemployment and Deprivation'. in Fielding N, Clarke A, Witt R (eds.) The Economics Dimensions of Crime London and New York : Macmillan Press and St. Martin's Press , pp. 210-222.

Internet publications

  • Fielding NG. (2009) Getting the best out of community policing. Police Foundation


    Neighbourhood or community policing is like democracy – everyone agrees it is a good thing but the consensus extends little further. Its scope and objectives are contested, and its role in policing is as uncertain as the methods by which it should be achieved. Yet the world’s taxpayers have invested billions in it. This Ideas paper assesses the evidence on community policing, examines different versions of it – Problem-Oriented Policing, Reassurance Policing, Neighbourhood Policing – and highlights the lessons for successful community policing.

  • Fielding NG, Innes M. (2002) From Community to Communicative Policing: “Signal Crimes” and the Problem of Public Reassurance. Sociological Research Online
  • Fielding NG. (2001) On the compatibility between qualitative and quantitative research methods. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung
  • Fielding NG. (2000) The shared fate of two innovations in qualitative methodology: the relationship of qualitative software and secondary analysis of archived qualitative data. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research

Working Papers

  • Witt R, Clarke A, Fielding N. (1996) Are Higher Long-Term Unemployment Rates Associated with Higher Crime?. University of Surrey School of Economics Discussion Paper DP 7/96,


My teaching interests are in criminology, qualitative research methods, and computational support for qualitative data analysis. I teach postgraduate modules in criminal justice, a postgraduate module in Field Methods, and a postgraduate module in Managing the Research and Publication Process. I also contribute to the day course programme of the Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis ('CAQDAS') Networking Project, of which I am co-director, and chair its seminar series for advanced users and software developers. Much of my teaching currently takes the form of the supervision of Masters' dissertations and doctoral theses, having supervised to successful completion 48 MSc dissertations and 22 PhD theses.

Professional Activities

I have served as external examiner for doctoral theses at the universities of Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, East Anglia, Exeter, LSE, Middlesex, Nottingham Trent, Queen's University Belfast, Royal Holloway University of London, Southampton, and for doctoral theses abroad at Bharathidasan University (Tamil Nadu), Cornell University, La Trobe University Melbourne, Universiti Sains Malasia, and the University of Alabama.

I was Editor of the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice from 1985 to 1998; the journal is one of the two generic criminology journals in UK and the longest established. Since 1995 I have been co-editor of the New Technologies for Social Research series published by Sage Publications. I was a founding editorial board member of the journal Qualitative Inquiry. I currently serve on the editorial boards of the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice; the International Journal of Social Research Methodology; Policing and Society; Qualitative Research; and Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/ Forum Qualitative Social Research.

In addition to membership of the College of Assessors, I have been a member of a number of Economic and Social Research Council commissioning panels, including that of the Data Archiving and Documentation Service (UK Economic and Social Data Service); the e-Social Science Pilot Demonstrator Project Initiative; the National Centre for e-Social Science; and the Qualitative Demonstrator Programme. I also served on the JISC e-Social Science Training and Awareness Commissioning Panel, and on the ESRC Postgraduate Training Board for Statistics, Research Methods and Computing. I am a member of the ESDS Core Advisory Committee; the ESDS Qualidata Advisory Committee; and the Advisory Committee of the ESRC Qualitative Demonstrator Programme. I am an Expert Reviewer for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and a peer reviewer for the Leverhulme Trust, Commission for Racial Equality, the Nuffield Foundation, the Lord Chancellor's Department, and the Home Office. I have served as an advisor to the German National Competence Centre for Qualitative Research, the Swiss Information and Documentation Service, and the Home Office National Reassurance Policing Project.

I am a member of the British Society of Criminology, the Socio-Legal Studies Association, and the Howard League for Penal Reform. I was elected into membership as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2002.

I have served as a consultant to Surrey Probation and After Care Service, Inner London Probation and After Care Servicer, Hampshire Probation Service, Metropolitan Police, Surrey Police, Centre for Advanced Research in Education, Police Training Council, CENTREX Bramshill National Police Staff College, Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Economic and Social Research Council, the Inquiry into the Role and Responsibilities of the Police ('The Sheehy Inquiry', Cassels Inquiry into the Future of the Police Service, the Northern Ireland Post Qualifying Education and Training Partnership and a number of UK, US and European publishers of social science.

At the University of Surrey I chaired the Research Award Programme of the University Research Committee from 1990 to 1993. I was Faculty representative on University Research Committee from 1990 to 1996. Following reorganisation I was School representative from 1997 to 2001 and again from 2006 to 2007. Following further reorganisation I was Faculty representative from 2007. I was Deputy Dean of Human Studies from 1993 to 1997 with particular responsibility for research development, chairing the Faculty Research Committee and directing its research award programme. I was also involved in staff appointments, course validations and external consultations. I have served as an elected member of Senate, and as Chair of the Student Progress and Assessment Board (Research). From 1992 to 1997 I was a member of the Research Committee of Roehampton Institute of Higher Education. I served as Acting Dean for various periods between 1993 and 1996. I am the Senate nominee for tribunals in respect of the dismissal of academic staff, a Senate nominee on Special Admissions Committee, a Senate nominee on Student Disciplinary Panels, and served from 1995 to 1998 as Senate member of the Reader/Professor Promotions Committee. I chaired the Research Committee of the Faculty of Arts & Human Sciences from 1997 to 2001 and from 2006 to 2007, taking up the Chair of Faculty Research Committee following the creation of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences. I served as a member of the School Management Group of the School of Human Sciences from 1997 to 2001, and from 2006 to 2007, taking up membership of the Faculty Management Committee in 2007 as Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise).

I directed the Department of Sociology's doctoral research programme from 1985 to 2000, and chaired its Departmental Research Committee from 2000 to 2007. I have served as Acting Head of Department for various periods from 1993. From its formation in 1997 I have served as co-Director of the Institute of Social Research. I have responsibility for the Institute's principal activity, the Visiting International Fellowship programme, which brings from one to three international social research methodology experts to the Department to facilitate research and publishing collaborations with departmental staff.

Related Links
Institute of Social Research
CAQDAS, Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software Networking Project
Surrey Access Grid Node

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