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Unformatted text preview: CRJU 3020: Research Methods in CRJU 3020: Research Methods in Criminal Justice Part I. Part I. An Introduction to Criminal Justice Inquiry
A. Science, Society, and Criminological Research A. Science, Society, and Criminological Research
Reasoning about the Social World: Personal Human Inquiry and Scientific Inquiry Everyday Errors in Reasoning How the Scientific Approach is Different Purposes of Research Strengths and Limitations of Social Research Types of Research Methods Social Research Philosophies Validity: The Goal of Social Research Reasoning about the Social Reasoning about the Social World: Personal Human Inquiry and Scientific Inquiry agreement reality experiential reality things we consider real because we have been told they are real and everyone seems to agree they are real the things we know are a function of direct experience or observation Everyday Errors in Reasoning Everyday Errors in Reasoning Inaccurate Observation Overgeneralization Selective Observation Ego Involvement in Understanding Ideology and Politics Premature Closure of Inquiry Inaccurate Observation Inaccurate Observation failure to observe things right in front of us and mistakenly observe things that aren’t so Overgeneralization Overgeneralization what we have observed or know to be true for a some cases is true for the all cases Selective Observation Selective Observation Choosing to look only at things that are in line with our preferences or beliefs Ego Involvement in Understanding Ego Involvement in Understanding we link our understandings of how things are to the image of ourselves that we present to others (“becoming personally involved in and committed to conclusions”) Ideology and Politics Ideology and Politics the difficulty of removing ideological or political views from the research process the result is faith or religious conviction over facts Premature Closure of Inquiry Premature Closure of Inquiry bringing to a halt attempts to understand things before that understanding is complete (the “single cause” syndrome) How the Scientific Approach is How the Scientific Approach is Different Designed to reduce these potential sources of error in everyday reasoning Science relies on logical, systematic, and documented methods to answer questions and allows others to inspect and evaluate its methods Science reduces: inaccurate observation by systematically measuring the phenomena or observing phenomena in a conscious, deliberate way overgeneralization by using systematic procedures for selecting individuals or groups to study that are representative of the individuals or groups that we wish to generate and/or by replicating studies to see if similar results are produced each time selective observation by using sufficiently large samples of observations and/or through peer reviews of the scientist’s work ego involvement in understanding through peer reviews of the scientist’s work and testing ideas against alternative explanations ideological bias by stressing the importance of objectivity and ethical neutrality premature closure of inquiry by pursuing an open ended enterprise in which conclusions are constantly modified Purposes of Research Purposes of Research
General Research Questions descriptive research research in which social phenomena are defined and described
Who are the abused? exploratory research research in which social phenomena are investigated without a priori expectations, in order to develop explanations of them and phenomena are explored to find out what meanings people give to their actions and what issues concern them What is it like to be abused? •explanatory research –research that seeks to identify causes and/or effects of social phenomena
•Why are people abused? •evaluation research –research that seeks to determine the effects of social programs or interventions
•What services help the abused? Strengths and Limitations of Strengths and Limitations of Social Research Strengths Limitations Observe more, leading to greater prediction and explanation Observe with fewer distortions Describe more clearly Differing opinions and values Can test facts, but not values Differing interpretations of the evidence Types of Research Methods Types of Research Methods Experiments: an approach in which the researcher assigns individuals to two or more groups in a way that equates the characteristics of individuals in the groups except for variation in the groups’ exposure to the independent variable Surveys: research in which information is obtained from a sample of individuals through their responses to questions about themselves or others Participant observation: a type of field research in which a researcher develops a sustained and intense relationship with people while they go about their normal activities Intensive interviewing: openended, relatively unstructured questioning in which the interviewer seeks indepth information on the interviewee’s feelings, experiences, and perceptions Secondary data analysis: analysis of data collected by someone other than the researcher or the researcher’s assistants Content analysis: a research method for systematically analyzing and making inferences from text Crime mapping: a method for mapping, visualizing, and analyzing crime incident patterns in relationship to other social indicators Triangulation: the use of multiple methods to study one research question Quantitative and Qualitative Data Quantitative and Qualitative Data Quantitative data Observations that take on numerical form Quantification makes our observations more explicit, makes it easier to aggregate and summarize data, and allows for the possibility of statistical analyses Qualitative data Observations that are represented in non numerical form Nonnumerical observations offer greater detail and convey a greater richness of meaning than quantified data Social Research Philosophies Social Research Philosophies
Shaping the Choice of Methodological Preferences Positivism: the philosophical view that an external, objective reality (i.e., universal laws) exists apart from human perceptions of it Postpositivism: a philosophical view that modifies the positivist premise of an external, objective reality by recognizing its complexity, the limitations of human observers, and therefore the impossibility of developing more than a partial understanding of reality Intersubjective agreement: agreement between scientists about the nature of reality; often upheld as a more reasonable goal for science than certainty about an objective reality Positivist Research Guidelines Positivist Research Guidelines
Research goal to advance scientific knowledge Test ideas against empirical reality without becoming too invested in a particular outcome Plan and carry out investigations systematically Document all procedures and disclose them publicly Clarify assumptions Specify the meaning of all terms Maintain a skeptical stance toward current knowledge Replicate research and build social theory Search for regularities or patterns Social Research Philosophies Social Research Philosophies
Shaping the Choice of Methodological Preferences Interpretivism: methodology based on the belief that the primary task of researchers is to present the interpretations of the people that they study Constructivist paradigm: methodology based on rejection of belief in an external reality; it emphasizes the importance of exploring the way in which different stakeholders in a social setting construct their beliefs Interpretivist/Constructivist Interpretivist/Constructivist Research Guidelines
Research goal to create change, resulting in a just society Identify stakeholders and solicit their claims, concerns, and issues Introduce the claims, concerns, and issues of each stakeholder group to the other stakeholder groups and ask for their reactions Focus further information collection on claims, concerns, and issues about which there is disagreement among stakeholder groups Negotiate with stakeholder groups about the information collected and attempt to reach consensus on the issues about which there is disagreement Validity: The Goal of Social Validity: The Goal of Social Research Seeks an accurate understanding of empirical reality (e.g., When is knowledge valid?) Three Aspects of Validity Three Aspects of Validity Measurement validity: the type of validity that is achieved when a measure measures what it is presumed to measure Generalizability: the type of validity that is achieved when a conclusion holds true for the population, group, or groups that we say it does, given the conditions that we specify Causal (or internal) validity: the type of validity that is achieved when a conclusion that one phenomenon leads to or results in another phenomenon is correct Hypothetical Example: Peers and Drug Hypothetical Example: Peers and Drug Use Sample: 400 high school seniors Survey Questions: “Do you have friends who have taken illegal drugs in the past six months” and “Have you taken illegal drugs in the past six months?” Validity Questions: PeerDrug Use Validity Questions: PeerDrug Use Association Measurement validity: Do our survey questions indeed tell us the frequency with which the students and their peers took illegal drugs? Generalizability: Do our results hold true of a larger adolescent population to which our conclusion referred? Causal (or internal) validity: Did the likelihood of students taking drugs actually increase if they had friends who also took drugs? ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2011 for the course CRJU 3020 taught by Professor Markreed during the Fall '10 term at Georgia State.
- Fall '10