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Basics of Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology



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Wadsworth Publishing
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This brief introduction to research methods combines accessibility and a conversational writing style with Michael G. Maxfield's expertise in criminology and criminal justice. In fewer than 400 pages, the text introduces you to the basics of criminal justice research utilizing real data and featuring coverage of such key issues as ethics, causation, validity, field research, and research design.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xiii
An Introduction to Criminal Justice Inquiryp. 1
Criminal Justice and Scientific Inquiryp. 2
Introductionp. 3
Home Detentionp. 4
What Is This Book About?p. 4
Two Realitiesp. 4
The Role of Sciencep. 6
Personal Human Inquiryp. 6
Traditionp. 7
Authorityp. 7
Arrest and Domestic Violencep. 8
Errors in Personal Human Inquiryp. 8
Inaccurate Observationp. 8
Overgeneralizationp. 8
Selective Observationp. 9
Illogical Reasoningp. 10
Ideology and Politicsp. 10
To Err Is Humanp. 10
Foundations of Social Sciencep. 11
Theory, Not Philosophy or Beliefp. 11
Regularitiesp. 13
What about Exceptions?p. 13
Aggregates, Not Individualsp. 13
A Variable Languagep. 14
Variables and Attributesp. 15
Variables and Relationshipsp. 18
Purposes of Researchp. 18
Explorationp. 18
Descriptionp. 19
Explanationp. 19
Applicationp. 20
Differing Avenues for Inquiryp. 20
Idiographic and Nomothetic Explanationsp. 21
Inductive and Deductive Reasoningp. 22
Quantitative and Qualitative Datap. 23
Knowing through Experience: Summing Up and Looking Aheadp. 24
Main Pointsp. 24
Ethics and Criminal Justice Researchp. 26
Introductionp. 27
Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Researchp. 27
No Harm to Participantsp. 27
Ethics and Extreme Field Researchp. 28
Voluntary Participationp. 31
Anonymity and Confidentialityp. 32
Deceiving Subjectsp. 33
Analysis and Reportingp. 33
Legal Liabilityp. 34
Special Problemsp. 35
Promoting Compliance with Ethical Principlesp. 37
Codes of Professional Ethicsp. 37
Institutional Review Boardsp. 38
Institutional Review Board Requirements and Researcher Rightsp. 41
Ethics and Juvenile Gang Membersp. 42
Ethical Controversiesp. 42
The Stanford Prison Experimentp. 42
Discussion Examplesp. 45
Main Pointsp. 46
Structuring Criminal Justice Inquiryp. 49
General Issues in Research Designp. 50
Introductionp. 51
Causation in the Social Sciencesp. 51
Criteria for Causalityp. 52
Necessary and Sufficient Causesp. 53
Validity and Causal Inferencep. 53
Statistical Conclusion Validityp. 53
Internal Validityp. 55
External Validityp. 55
Construct Validityp. 55
Validity and Causal Inference Summarizedp. 57
Does Drug Use Cause Crime?p. 57
Causation and Declining Crime in New York Cityp. 58
Introducing Scientific Realismp. 60
Units of Analysisp. 61
Individualsp. 61
Groupsp. 61
Organizationsp. 62
Social Artifactsp. 62
The Ecological Fallacyp. 63
Units of Analysis in Reviewp. 63
Units of Analysis in the National Youth Gang Surveyp. 64
The Time Dimensionp. 65
Cross-Sectional Studiesp. 66
Longitudinal Studiesp. 66
Approximating Longitudinal Studiesp. 67
The Time Dimension Summarizedp. 70
How to Design a Research Projectp. 70
The Research Processp. 71
Getting Startedp. 73
Conceptualizationp. 73
Choice of Research Methodp. 74
Operationalizationp. 74
Population and Samplingp. 74
Observationsp. 75
Analysisp. 75
Applicationp. 75
Research Design in Reviewp. 75
The Research Proposalp. 76
Elements of a Research Proposalp. 76
Answers to the Units-of-Analysis Exercisep. 78
Main Pointsp. 78
Concepts, Operationalization, and Measurementp. 80
Introductionp. 81
Conceptions and Conceptsp. 81
Conceptualizationp. 83
Indicators and Dimensionsp. 83
What Is Recidivism?p. 84
Creating Conceptual Orderp. 84
Operationalization Choicesp. 86
Measurement as Scoringp. 87
Jail Stayp. 88
Exhaustive and Exclusive Measurementp. 88
Levels of Measurementp. 89
Implications of Levels of Measurementp. 91
Criteria for Measurement Qualityp. 92
Reliabilityp. 93
Validityp. 94
Measuring Crimep. 97
General Issues in Measuring Crimep. 97
Units of Analysis and Measuring Crimep. 98
Measures Based on Crimes Known to Policep. 98
Victim Surveysp. 102
Surveys of Offendingp. 103
Measuring Crime Summaryp. 104
Composite Measuresp. 105
Typologiesp. 106
An Index of Disorderp. 107
Measurement Summaryp. 109
Main Pointsp. 109
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designsp. 112
Introductionp. 113
The Classical Experimentp. 113
Independent and Dependent Variablesp. 114
Pretesting and Posttestingp. 114
Experimental and Control Groupsp. 115
Double-Blind Experimentsp. 116
Selecting Subjectsp. 116
Randomizationp. 117
Experiments and Causal Inferencep. 117
Experiments and Threats to Validityp. 118
Threats to Internal Validityp. 118
Ruling Out Threats to Internal Validityp. 120
Generalizability and Threats to Validityp. 121
Variations in the Classical Experimental Designp. 123
Quasi-Experimental Designsp. 124
Nonequivalent-Groups Designsp. 125
Cohort Designsp. 128
Time-Series Designsp. 128
Variations in Time-Series Designsp. 132
Variable-Oriented Research and Scientific Realismp. 133
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs Summarizedp. 135
Main Pointsp. 136
Modes of Observationp. 139
Samplingp. 140
Introductionp. 141
The Logic of Probability Samplingp. 141
Conscious and Unconscious Sampling Biasp. 143
Representativeness and Probability of Selectionp. 144
Probability Theory and Sampling Distributionp. 145
The Sampling Distribution of 10 Casesp. 145
From Sampling Distribution to Parameter Estimatep. 149
Estimating Sampling Errorp. 150
Confidence Levels and Confidence Intervalsp. 151
Probability Theory and Sampling Distribution Summed Upp. 152
Populations and Sampling Framesp. 153
Types of Sampling Designsp. 154
Simple Random Samplingp. 154
Systematic Samplingp. 154
Stratified Samplingp. 155
Disproportionate Stratified Samplingp. 156
Multistage Cluster Samplingp. 157
Multistage Cluster Sampling with Stratificationp. 158
Illustration: Two National Crime Surveysp. 160
The National Crime Victimization Surveyp. 160
The British Crime Surveyp. 161
Probability Sampling in Reviewp. 162
Nonprobability Samplingp. 162
Purposive Samplingp. 162
Quota Samplingp. 163
Reliance on Available Subjectsp. 164
Snowball Samplingp. 165
Nonprobability Sampling in Reviewp. 166
Main Pointsp. 166
Survey Research and Other Ways of Asking Questionsp. 169
Introductionp. 170
Topics Appropriate to Survey Researchp. 171
Counting Crimep. 171
Self-Reportsp. 171
Perception and Attitudesp. 172
Targeted Victim Surveysp. 172
Other Evaluation Usesp. 172
Guidelines for Asking Questionsp. 173
Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questionsp. 173
Questions and Statementsp. 174
Make Items Clearp. 174
Short Items Are Bestp. 174
Avoid Negative Itemsp. 174
Biased Items and Termsp. 175
Designing Self-Report Itemsp. 175
Questionnaire Constructionp. 177
General Questionnaire Formatp. 177
Contingency Questionsp. 177
Matrix Questionsp. 178
Ordering Items in a Questionnairep. 180
Don't Start from Scratch!p. 181
Self-Administered Questionnairesp. 181
Mail Distribution and Returnp. 182
Warning Mailings and Cover Lettersp. 182
Follow-Up Mailingsp. 183
Acceptable Response Ratesp. 183
Computer-Based Self-Administrationp. 184
In-Person Interview Surveysp. 185
The Role of the Interviewerp. 185
Coordination and Controlp. 186
Computer-Assisted In-Person Interviewsp. 187
Telephone Surveysp. 189
Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewingp. 190
Comparison of the Three Methodsp. 191
Strengths and Weaknesses of Survey Researchp. 192
Other Ways of Asking Questionsp. 194
Specialized Interviewingp. 194
Focus Groupsp. 195
Should You Do It Yourself?p. 196
Main Pointsp. 198
Field Researchp. 200
Introductionp. 201
Topics Appropriate to Field Researchp. 202
The Various Roles of the Observerp. 203
Asking Questionsp. 205
Gaining Access to Subjectsp. 207
Gaining Access to Formal Organizationsp. 207
Gaining Access to Subculturesp. 210
Selecting Cases for Observationp. 210
Purposive Sampling in Field Researchp. 212
Recording Observationsp. 214
Cameras and Voice Recordersp. 214
Field Notesp. 215
Structured Observationsp. 216
Linking Field Observations and Other Datap. 217
Illustrations of Field Researchp. 219
Field Research on Speeding and Traffic Enforcementp. 219
Conducting a Safety Auditp. 220
Bars and Violencep. 222
Strengths and Weaknesses of Field Researchp. 224
Validityp. 224
Reliabilityp. 225
Generalizabilityp. 226
Main Pointsp. 227
Agency Records, Content Analysis, and Secondary Datap. 229
Introductionp. 230
Topics Appropriate for Agency Records and Content Analysisp. 230
Types of Agency Recordsp. 232
Published Statisticsp. 232
Nonpublic Agency Recordsp. 234
New Data Collected by Agency Staffp. 236
Improving Police Records of Domestic Violencep. 238
Reliability and Validityp. 239
Sources of Reliability and Validity Problemsp. 240
How Many Parole Violators Were There Last Month?p. 242
Content Analysisp. 244
Coding in Content Analysisp. 244
Illustrations of Content Analysisp. 246
Secondary Analysisp. 247
Sources of Secondary Datap. 248
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Datap. 249
Main Pointsp. 250
Application and Analysisp. 253
Evaluation Research and Problem Analysisp. 254
Introductionp. 255
Topics Appropriate for Evaluation Research and Problem Analysisp. 255
The Policy Processp. 256
Linking the Process to Evaluationp. 257
Getting Startedp. 260
Evaluability Assessmentp. 260
Problem Formulationp. 261
Measurementp. 263
Designs for Program Evaluationp. 266
Randomized Evaluation Designsp. 266
Home Detention: Two Randomized Studiesp. 269
Quasi-Experimental Designsp. 271
Other Types of Evaluation Studiesp. 273
Problem Analysis and Scientific Realismp. 273
Problem-Oriented Policingp. 274
Auto Theft in Chula Vistap. 275
Other Applications of Problem Analysisp. 276
Space- and Time-Based Analysisp. 276
Scientific Realism and Applied Researchp. 280
The Political Context of Applied Researchp. 282
Evaluation and Stakeholdersp. 282
When Politics Accommodates Factsp. 283
Politics and Objectivityp. 284
Main Pointsp. 285
Interpreting Datap. 287
Introductionp. 288
Univariate Descriptionp. 288
Distributionsp. 288
Measures of Central Tendencyp. 289
Measures of Dispersionp. 291
Comparing Measures of Dispersion and Central Tendencyp. 293
Computing Ratesp. 295
Describing Two or More Variablesp. 296
Bivariate Analysisp. 296
Murder on the Jobp. 298
Multivariate Analysisp. 301
Inferential Statisticsp. 303
Univariate Inferencesp. 304
Tests of Statistical Significancep. 305
Visualizing Statistical Significancep. 306
Chi Squarep. 307
Cautions in Interpreting Statistical Significancep. 309
Main Pointsp. 311
Glossaryp. 313
Referencesp. 321
Name Indexp. 332
Subject Indexp. 334
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