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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1 - Criminal Justice and Scientific Theory Introduction Home Detention What is this book about? Two realities 1. experiential reality- the things we know from direct EXPERIENCE 2 .agreement reality- the things we consider real because we have been told they are real, and everyone else seems to agree they are real. • agreement reality can sometimes be misleading- simply increasing the number of police officers on patrol does not reduce crime because po- lice patrol often lacks direction • Traditional beliefs about patrol effectiveness, response time, and detect- ive work are examples are agreement reality. In contrast, the research projects that produced alternative views about each law enforcement prac- tice represent experiential reality. • empirical research- knowledge based on experience or observation, it is a way of learning about about and criminal justice. The role of science • an assertion must have both logical and empirical support; it mst make sense, and it must agree with actual observations. • epistemology- is the science of knowing; methodology (subfield of epi- stemology) might be called the science of finding out. Personal Human Inquiry (causal and probabilistic reasoning) Tradition • everybody knows Authority • power (judge vs. parents) • We do well to trust the judgments of individuals who have special train- ing, expertise, and credentials in a matter. Both tradition and authority provide us with a starting point for our own inquiry, but they may lead us to start at the wrong point or push in the wrong direction. Errors in Personal Human Inquiry Inaccurate observation use measurement devices help to guard against inaccuracies overgeneralization • avoid by: use large sample size and replication (repeating a study, check- ing whether similar results are obtained each time) • overgeneralization leads to misrepresentation and simplification of the problems on your beat. selective observation • avoid by: specifying in advance the number and kinds of observations • if there is already a pattern in place we tend to apply that to future studies • base our conclusion on an analysis of all the observations illogical reasoning • avoid by: using systems of logic consciously and explicitly • gambler’s fallacy (good luck eventually will lead to bad and visa versa) ideology and politics • avoid by: guard against its influence • do not be influence by strong opinions of others To err is human we are more wary of making mistakes and take special precautions to avoid doing so Foundations of social science Two pillars of science 1. logic or rationality 2. observation Three aspects of scientific enterprise: 1. theory 2. data collection 3. analysis Theory, not philosophy or belief • Theory have to do with what IS and not what SHOULD BE • Theory- a systematic explanation for the observed facts and laws that re- late to a particular aspect of life....
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2011 for the course CRIMINOLOG 202 taught by Professor Meade during the Summer '10 term at South Carolina.
- Summer '10