Ground Rules

Categories Guideline

Dear all,

Welcome to the first stage of this focus group! 

My name is Alex, I am a PhD Law & Criminology candidate at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. I have designed this research project, and I will be your moderator for as long as you decide to join us. My academic background has revolved around inquiries in crimes of the powerful, and both of my undergraduate Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Masters in Research theses are in the area of state crimes against democracy. You can find both of these on my Research Gate profile at:  should you have an account on the website. Alternatively, I am happy to provide you with copies of these.

The focus group you are about to participate in will develop in thematic stages, where each stage will run for four to five weeks. During this period, I will introduce a new conversation topic or question every week. You will be asked to log into the online forum, which you can find at , using the log-in details you have been provided with at least once a week, and contribute to the discussion in ways which encourage constructive dialogue and debate. When interacting with others in the focus group, please make sure that you adhere to the following:

  1. You are free to challenge, criticize and/or disagree with others’ opinions – but please do so in a respectable manner. While I encourage honest, open conversation and debate, offensive behaviour will not be tolerated, and individuals who draw upon such practices will be immediately removed from the focus group.
  2. You are asked to refrain from directly or indirectly disclosing your identities – please use an alias when introducing yourself to the group. You may reveal characteristics such as gender, age, sexual orientation, country of provenience/residence, ethnicity, religion etc. should you feel comfortable with the practice, and/or think these are relevant to the discussion. 
  3. Remember that participation in the focus group is voluntary – you may skip the questions you do not want to answer, and you are in no way obliged to respond to other’s requests for opinion.
  4. You are free to question me for clarity. I am happy to discuss any aspect of the study which may be of concern to you, at any point of the focus group, via e-mail at or on the telephone at +44(0) 7841351622.

Our first theme will be centered around conceptualising democracy. Our first aim will be that of defining what we commonly refer to as “the state”. Before we start delineating the functions (and limits) of the state, I will like to ask you to introduce yourself to the group, and give some details about the focus of your work <here>. {link to Topic 1: Meet & Greet}

I look forward to hearing from you!