The space-time budget method in criminological research

Evelien M. Hoeben*, Wim Bernasco, Frank M. Weerman, Lieven Pauwels, Sjoerd van Halem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


This article reviews the Space-Time Budget method developed by Wikström and colleagues and particularly discusses its relevance for criminological research. The Space-Time Budget method is a data collection instrument aimed at recording, retrospectively, on an hour-by-hour basis, the whereabouts and activities of respondents during four days in the week before the interview. The method includes items about criminologically relevant events, such as offending and victimization. We demonstrate that the method can be very useful in criminology, because it enables the study of situational causes of crime and victimization, because it enables detailed measurement of theoretical concepts such as individual lifestyles and individual routine activities, and because it enables the study of adolescents' whereabouts, which extends the traditional focus on residential neighborhoods. The present article provides the historical background of the method, explains how the method can be applied, presents validation results based on data from 843 secondary school students in the Netherlands and describes the methods' strengths and weaknesses. Two case studies are summarized to illustrate the usefulness of the method in criminological research. The article concludes with some anticipated future developments and recommendations on further readings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalCrime Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was not funded by third parties. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher Copyright: © 2014 Hoeben et al.

Research programs

  • ESL – Diversen Oud


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