Natur- og samfunnsvitenskapelige metoder som anses etisk forsvarlig og mest hensiktsmessig i den videre utforming av kriminalomsorgsfaget
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This text is the result of an ongoing process in which the organizational level of the education of prison officers at the Correctional Service of Norway Staff Academy (KRUS) is to change from a college to a university college. It is characteristic of such a process that one wishes to establish clear definitions of what the subject matter of correction and care within prison and probation entails, and what one wants it to be in a scientific and academic context. The purpose of the text is to generate a discussion about subjects and problems relevant to this issue. We present several of them. Each of them is so complex that we have chosen just to give a brief introduction. In this way, the reader is provided with a fundamental understanding of their complexity. In the first two chapters, we present a general overview over different ways of understanding and defining the concept of method, and we present similarities and differences between qualitative and quantitative methods. Further, we present a theoretical position from which the separation between social and natural science, and between empirical data and theory is scrutinized and discussed. Then we introduce a comparative analysis as a first attempt to define what the central subject matter of correction and care within prison and probation could be. In the next two chapters, on ‘evidence-based practice’ and ‘the concept of quality in practice’, the relationship between the concepts of ‘method’ and ‘quality’ is discussed. The purpose here is to illustrate that learning to use particular methods can contribute to a better quality of the practice. These first four chapters constitute the fundament for our effort to describe what the subject of correction and care within prison and probation ‘is’ or ‘should be’. We also try to find out where and in what way the subject can be observed, and what it is that might be seen as the essence of a subject of correction and care within prison and probation, characterised by high quality. In the final chapters, a system-theoretical approach to the subject of correction and care within prison and probation is presented. We believe that such an approach can be helpful in trying to understand the subject’s complexity. We then sketch a way of thinking that offers the opportunity to analyse the Correctional Service in a flexible and practical manner. These principles will be helpful in the development of the subject of correction and care within prison and probation. We finish with a reflection within the realm of the philosophy of science, emphasizing the importance of a systematic and critical approach when discussing quality in a particular practice.