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Victorian Crime and Punishment
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KS4 Historical Enquiry

How useful is a local database for an historian studying crime and punishment?

You have had the opportunity to search for individuals, pose hypotheses and graph results using this database. Now you need to be analytical about how useful the database was. Could it answer all your questions?

Here are a couple of questions and hypotheses for you to test – jot down any problems you have trying to find the answer in the table below.

  1. Who was the youngest female criminal on the database?

  2. How many people who were convicted of embezzlement could read and write?

  3. What were the most common crimes between 1840 and 1850?

  4. Most female offenders were either single or widows.

  5. How many criminals were tried in the quarter sessions and how many in the assizes?

    Now ask yourself 3 more questions that you would like to answer using the database. Again jot down any problems you have with the database.

  6. Have a look at the problems you have identified; can you suggest any ways to solve this problem? (Perhaps you would like a ‘sort’ facility on the database, or more adaptable graphing facilities)

    ProblemSuggested change or extension to the database to solve this problem
    Have to enter various ages on the database to find the youngest criminalSort mechanism – identify type of crime and then sort youngest to oldest

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