Laboratory: Organized Crime and Research Methodology.

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with specific notions and skills to carry out research activities concerning criminal organizations. Having discussed the preliminary definitions of methodology of 'social research' and 'organized crime' (about 'organized crime' there is a wide disciplinary and methodological debate, both nationally and internationally), the course offers a discussion about the main techniques and sources for doing research focused on organized crime, intertwining theory with literature. Another central theme is represented by the methodological difficulties of research on these issues: access to the field, orientation between sources, the divergence between judicial truth and historical truth, the partial representation provided by statistical indicators. In the second part of the course, the focus will be on the main elements of the qualitative research: the interview, observation, documentary analysis.
Expected learning outcomes
- Knowledge of the main definitions of 'organized crime'
- Ability to 'manage' the different techniques and sources of social research (interview, documentary analysis, interpretation of quantitative elements, elements of network analysis) related to a research work specifically oriented to the object of organized crime
- Critical analysis of the sources, both qualitative both quantitative
- Knowledge of the differences between the phases of the criminal procedure
- Useful elements for the elaboration of research reports, papers, degree theses
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
The course is held via videoconference using MS Teams. The teacher is available via email and possibly by videoconference for reception or clarification. A mailing list will be created, with the consent of the participants, for quick updates on materials or variations of lessons.
Course syllabus
Lesson 1: "Introduction to the course. What is the methodology, what is organized crime"
Lesson 2: "The limits of social research in the field of organized crime"
Lesson 3: "Organized crime and local society: contextualizing a research"
Lesson 4: "Quantitative research: resources and limits"
Lesson 5: "Qualitative research, techniques and sources / 1. The interview: resources and limits"
Lesson 6: "Qualitative research, techniques and sources / 2. Judicial documents: resources and limits"
Lesson 7: "Qualitative-qualitative research, techniques and sources / 3. Other sources: resources and limits"
Lesson 8: "Community research: context observation"
Lesson 9: "A synthesis proposal: ideas for a reflected ethnography"
Lesson 10: "Summary and clarifications at the end of the course"
Prerequisites for admission
The suggested prerequisite is the knowledge of the main notions of the social research methodology.
Teaching methods
- Frontal lesson (in videoconference)
- Group discussion
- Review of literature
- Recommended reading
Teaching Resources
Papers will be provided to supplement what was discussed in class.
Assessment methods and Criteria
At the end of the course, students will have to write a short paper (in Italian) based on what they have learned during the lessons: the paper will be discussed during the oral exam. The student will be encouraged to identify a possible case study, suggesting research sources and methods.
Laboratories: 20 hours
Professor: Bonzanni Luca
To be agreed by email by writing to