Survey Research

CJUS 601 DB1

Topic: Survey Research

Read the article “The Street-level Information Economics Activities: Estimating the Yield of Begging in Brussels” (This article can be found at the website link in the Reading & Study folder). Based on the principles of survey research noted in Chapter 1 of The Mismeasure of Crime textbook, describe your thoughts on trusting the research used in the article. Describe the limitations of the research and article. Would you base public policy with respect to beggars off of this article?

Set 1

Discussion Board Forum 1

Article “The Street-level Information Economics Activities: Estimating the Yield of Begging in Brussels”

            The research undertaken by the article is impressive and worth undertaking. I am impressed by how the researchers were able to use all the means possible at their disposal to ensure that the results obtained had as minimal errors as possible and therefore be reliable. More so, the hypotheses formulated to guide the research were very convincing and meaningful. It is through this that they were abler to come up with comprehensive data making me very convinced by the results obtained.

            However, in the introductory bit, I tend to differ by far with some of the facts laid down. To begin with, the aspect of mainly lack of employment being the reason behind begging is null. There are people who opt to go for begging because it has better returns than the jobs they are currently onto.  There is the concern of also not accounting for the gifts beggars use as their meals over their begging encounters (Aldridge, 2001).

            Public policy cannot be a used as a base of slashing off beggars off the radar. In as much as the act is not that acceptable in other aspects of the society, there is not concrete evidence that it is a crime, which is a key element of the policy (Parsons, 1995). The research conducted as indicated in the article read clearly has some limitations that make it hard to come up with a concrete backing that beggars are not good individuals. More so, begging is another source of informal income just like the others. This creates a thin line between legalizing and making begging illegal.

            As it relates to the Christian perspective, God entrust us to aid one another, in essence to be our brother’s keeper. Furthermore, God tells us in Matthew 5:42, “Give to the one who begs from you and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (ESV).  If a person feels uncomfortable giving cash to a beggar, there are other ways to provide them aid.  As an example, in the past this learner has purchased gift certificates from restaurants (such as McDonald’s), attached a bible verse to them and handed them out instead of cash.


Aldridge, A. (2001). Surveying the social world: Principles and practice in survey research. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Parsons, W. (1995). Public policy. Cheltenham, Northampton.


Set 2

     The assigned reading for this week was an interesting piece.  It addressed the stigma and mindset attached to beggars by the general public.  Worth noting is that begging is defined as “informal work in a public space, consisting of a receiver asking for a non-reciprocated gift” (Adriaenssens & Hendrickx, 2011).  The assigned article highlights recent acts of legislation in North America and Europe that criminalize public begging.  According to Adriaenssens and Hendrickx, these acts of legislation are “built upon a number of heroic assumptions about the nature and motivations behind begging, linking up almost perfectly with the older myths about beggars and fraud” (2011).

     Adriaenssens and Hendrickx propose that “if the estimates of their [extremely low] earnings prove anything, it is that people who beg are primarily in need of social support instead of criminal disciplining (Adriaenssens & Hendrickx, 2011).  This is a perspective that I whole heartedly agree with.  I acknowledge the fact that some truly corrupt individuals may utilize public begging as a façade for criminal activity.  However, I contend that the majority of beggars are those who have run out of options and are in need of substantial societal and monetary support.  Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair is remembered for his “’Zero Tolerance’ policies in London’s Kings Cross area… [focused on the prohibition] of women prostitutes and those homeless begging for loose change to feed themselves with.” (Mukta, 1997).

     While I believe there were some valid points to Blair’s approach, it ignored the fact that the majority of these beggars “lack not only the skills to enter into the labor- market and also do not have the social and personal networks to support their survival” (Mukta, 1997).  I believe that much of the public’s sentiment is aligned with my perspective.  Worth noting is that a recent study found that “respondents rarely spoke of altering their routes in the city or changing their routines in order to avoid encountering beggars or homeless people…Furthermore, while respondents reported having some common-sense safety concerns, they generally did not present such concerns as just cause for denying help to strangers (Dromi, 2012). 

     Thus, to conclude, the prevalence of public begging, especially in cities such as New York and Philadelphia, is a societal issue that must be handled with a rehabilitative approach.  Indeed there is little empirical research that exists in the realm of public begging.  Even Adriaenssens and Hendrickx mentioned that there were data limitations in their study which created problems when it came to generalization.  However, Adriaenssens’ and Hendrickx’s study provides a starting point for research in this genre.  I feel that before an effective piece of public policy were to be developed and enacted regarding this issue, more empirical research would need to be conducted.


Adriaenssens, S., & Hendrickx, J. (2011). Street-level informal economic activities: estimating the yield of begging in Brussels. Urban Studies, 48(1), 23-40.

Dromi, S. M. (2012). Penny for your thoughts: beggars and the exercise of morality in daily life. Sociological Forum, 27(4), 847-871.

Mukta, P. (1997). On Beggars, the Homeless and the Poor. Economic and Political Weekly, 32(24), 1387-1388.

Set 3

The research presented in this article is aimed at estimating the revenues that beggars in Brussels earn. The mode of research that is used is of significance value as it helps to determine how accurate the findings will be.  Furthermore, statistics and numerical measure of social phenomena has become a way of life (Mosher, Miethe, & Hart, 2011), hence taking into consideration the mode of research undertaken is of importance.  In this article, the authors used three distinct yet complimentary modes of research. In my view, the researchers considered the shortcomings of each individual method and sort to eliminate any weaknesses present in each of the methods used.  Accordingly, this makes me trust research employed in this article.  The researchers aimed at limiting any discrepancies in their research and thus creating valid and useful results (Adriaenssens & Jef Hendrickx, 2011).  These results are thus consistent with the social-scientific theories as a combination of date from different sources in a design done carefully allows for more insight. Self-reports lack reliability and are susceptible to sampling errors and memory effect causing socially desirable answers and non-response.  Observation another method employed causes the scope of data collected to be extremely limited.  This is because a researcher is not able to interact with the test subject, however this method overcomes the weaknesses presented by the earlier method. The final method was quasi-experimental observation that proves to be a cumbersome method of data collection.

In conclusion, I would choose not to base public policy with respect to beggars off this article as the data collected from the research indicate that popular belief and legislation based on public opinion is not supported.  Accordingly, the data supports social-science literature and legislation tends to tackle problems that don’t exist as there is inconsistency when it comes to the problem being tackled and the legislation in place. 


Adriaenssens, S. & Jef Hendrickx, J. (2011). Street-level Informal Economic Activities: Estimating the Yield of Begging in Brussels. Urban Studies, 48(23).

Mosher, C., Miethe, T., & Hart, T. (2011). The Mismeasure of crime (2nd ed.). LosAngeles: SAGE Publications.

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