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Crime, technology and society by Angus Bancroft
Writing the further work bit

Writing the further work bit

You know that bit at the end of your dissertation or research paper where you suggest what could be done next, and which is always the last thing everyone writes and which you give less thought to than a status update on Insta? You are doing it wrong. Typically these sections are either written in Fantasy Project style, imagining some other study that is not going to happen, or Fill in the Blanks, suggesting some tweaks to sampling or doing more of what you had done. Stop doing that. Nobody cares. Do not waste space imagining some new project. You will never do it. Stop pretending you will ever go back and fix the project that is now in the rear view mirror.

Instead, make some plans that are achievable. Identify other datasets that yours can be linked to. This gives you opportunities for further writing, looking at how your data correlates to another context. The aim is to show how your findings could work with others and how they feed into a macro context which meshes with data, theory and findings from other projects. Ask how your data works with other data types. How would your hypothesis play out in other contexts. How consistent would it be in other cases. How should it be tested against new data.

As an example, we have sorted cybercrime groupings on two dimensions, closed/open in terms of how porous their external boundaries are, and status driven/pecuniary in terms of their motive and business model. A Russian cybercrime grouping is closed and pecuniary within limits. It acts in the interests of the Russian state at times, seeking political legitimacy and in group status. Where might cybercrime groups yet to be brought into being sit and why? Would identity or language based groupings cluster at one end or another? Could it be applied to cases in the UNODC Sherloc database? What new hypotheses could be generated? What might we expect of Islamist or right wing terrorism, or the relationship between cyberwar and state conflict? One advantage is that you can take risks within the bounds of plausibility. The further work should be a genuine map ahead for you which takes you to new places, so think in terms of the possibilities it offers for new thinking and collaboration.



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