ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2010

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The use of Life Event Calendar methodology in intimate partner homicide research

Li Eriksson, Paul Mazerolle, Richard Wortley, Holly Johnson

Building: Holme Building
Room: Sutherland Room
Date: 2010-12-03 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2010-11-17


The Life Event Calendar methodology acts as an alternative to traditional questionnaires in collecting retrospective data on individuals. This methodology has been used across a variety of settings, including research on domestic violence, employment, depression, and criminal activity. The current paper describes the application of the Life Event Calendar methodology in measuring precursors to intimate partner homicide offending.


Reasons for choosing the Life Event Calendar methodology include improved memory recall and the recording and analyses of events across time. In terms of memory recall, research suggests that this is improved through the use of Life Event Calendar techniques, surpassing the extent of recall in traditional questionnaires (Belli, Shay, & Stafford, 2001). Furthermore, recording and analysing data across time is particularly relevant in research on intimate partner homicide, where data suggests that these incidents often occur in periods of for example relationship instability (Johnson & Hotton, 2003).


This paper describes the design and development of a Life Event Calendar based data collection instrument used in interview research with offenders of intimate partner homicide. The instrument measures the 12 months preceding the homicide incident and incorporates a number of aspects of the respondents’ lives, including relationships, employment, and criminal activity. This paper further presents preliminary data and discusses implications for research.