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ERIC Number: EJ848364
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1052-0147
Sipping Coffee with a Serial Killer: On Conducting Life History Interviews with a Criminal Genius
Oleson, J. C.
Qualitative Report, v9 n2 p192-215 Jun 2004
As part of my Ph.D. research on criminal genius, I conducted 44 semi-structured interviews. One of the 44 subjects, in particular, stood out. This noteworthy individual claimed that he had killed 15 people. His story was particularly interesting because--unlike most social research involving serial killers--he claimed that he had never been arrested or convicted for his homicides. Compelled by his account, I met with this subject on five additional occasions, and gradually compiled his criminal life history. Ethical and legal considerations limited inquiry into several dimensions of this subject's life history, but over time, an interesting and richly textured narrative emerged. This article first describes the life experiences of this offender and then describes the methodological choices that shaped the research. Because criminologists almost never establish research access with offenders of this kind, his story--articulated here in the form of a criminal life history--is a valuable contribution to social science literature.
Nova Southeastern University. 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317. Tel: 954-262-5389; Fax: 954-262-3970; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A