Unformatted text preview: • Chapter 1: Science, Society, and
Criminological • Reasoning about the Social World
o Columbine High School shootings Relevant questions: How would you describe Eric Harris?
Why do you think Eric Harris wanted to kill other students?
Was Eric Harris typical of other murderers under the age of 18?
In general, why do people become murderers? Are these questions enough to help us explain why Eric went
on a shooting rampage in his school?
on o Reasoning
o Questions & Answers
o Everyday Errors in Reasoning Overgeneralization
• Selective or Inaccurate Observation
• What is it? Illogical Reasoning
• What is it? What is it? Resistance to Change
• What is it?
• Ego-based commitments o There ARE weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq! “Stay the
• Excessive devotion to tradition
o It’s always been that way! • Uncritical agreement with authority
o My professor said so!! • The Social Science Approach
o The scientific method addresses possible sources of everyday error by relying on
logical and systematic methods (i.e., science) to answer research questions.
o Principles of Scientific Research Empiricism o Motives for Criminological Research Policy motivations Academic motivations Personal motivations o We conduct criminal justice research to serve different purposes:
o Application Evaluation
Evaluation • Policy Analysis
Policy o Example – school shootings Exploration (what?; how many?) Description (who?; how?) Explanation (why?) Application (what works?)
Strengths & Limitations
o Research always has some limitations and flaws.
o The quest for new and more sophisticated research has value. New studies are needed that address the weak points in prior
studies so they can build upon or contribute to our knowledge
in a particular area.
in • MOST important: the accumulation of evidence from different
studies of related issues.
studies Helps resolve some of the disagreements in the prior
literature. Types of Research Methods Experimental research Surveys or questionnaires Participant observation Intensive interviewing Secondary data analysis Content analysis Crime mapping
o Quantitative & Qualitative Methods o Multiple methods or triangulation
• Social Science Research Philosophies
o Valid Knowledge: The Goal of Scientific Research ...
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- Spring '08
- Criminal Justice Research, Eric Harris, Criminological Research, High School Shootings, Science Research Philosophies