GERN (Groupement Européen de Recherches sur les Normativités) is a large consortium of scientific researchers in the domain of deviance and social control, more precisely studying delinquency, penal institutions, public policies of security and the importance of penal questions in society. The consortium is multidisciplinary. Today GERN is a scientific network present in ten European countries and abroad, uniting researchers of different disciplines. Each year the GERN organizes a doctoral summer school, giving PhD students from the consortium the opportunity to present and discuss their ongoing projects and research results as well as meet young and senior researchers. This is the third volume stemming from the annual doctoral conferences organized by the GERN. Last edition of the Summer School was held in September 2014 in Porto (Portugal). The selected theme for this Summer School was ‘Criminology, Security and Justice: methodological and epistemological issues’, searching for a fruitful debate about the methodological and epistemological aspects relevant for the development of PhD thesis. Scientific research is, in its essence, critical thinking. What is critical thinking? It is a kind of thinking that differs from magic reasoning, common sense, and speculation. Scientific evidence contrasts with belief, immediate and apparent knowledge, illusion and opinion. This is valid for every knowledge domain that claims to be scientific. It is thus true for the science of crime, criminology. With the inauguration of this Research Paper Series, GERN intends to monitor and disseminate cutting-edge studies into European security issues, reflecting the result of doctoral research in the framework of the GERN. The series provides an excellent platform from which to survey key emergent topics in the field. With this series the editors and authors are contributing to a better understanding of contemporary questions, presenting recent research results and scientific reflection, by devising new approaches and by re-evaluating the heritage of social sciences in this domain. It implies a new openness with regard to other disciplines and to the normative questions arising from the commission of crime and the formal reaction to it by actors in the criminal justice system and beyond.