College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Perpetrator-motive Research Design: A strategy for understanding motivations, values, and tactics of criminal offenders

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2013

Keywords

perpetrator, interviewing, methodology, research design, captive, hostage

Publication Title

Agression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal

ISSN

1359-1789

Volume

18

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

For decades, applied research in the field of behavioral criminology has been successfully utilized to develop theories and training modalities for the purpose of informing practice. One method for conducting this type of research is in-depth interviews of perpetrators. The Perpetrator-Motive Research Design (PMRD) is a 12-step methodological design, which focuses on gaining a thorough understanding of the motivations, values, needs, and tactics of those who commit offenses against others. PMRD has been employed in a pilot study conducted with captive-takers in the FBI's Global Hostage-Taking Research and Analysis Project (GHosT-RAP). Even though global captive-taking is a major domestic and international security problem that affects the interests of the United States, and poses serious challenges abroad, only a modicum of investigative attention has been directed to this problem. This void is addressed through the tripartite mission of GHosT-RAP: (1) to elicit and describe captive-taker values and paradigms, (2) to determine motivations and methods for captive-taking, and (3) to utilize resultant data to improve strategies for mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery activities. In addition, GHosT-RAP will serve to formalize and operationalize the PMRD approach into a well-defined, systematic, and replicable process that can be used to better understand a myriad of offenders and their nominal enterprises.

DOI

10.1016/j.avb.2012.06.001

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