Basics of Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology / Edition 3

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781111346911
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 6/22/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 169,193
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael G. Maxfield is Professor of Criminal Justice at John Jay College, City University of New York. He is the author of numerous articles and books on a variety of topics, including victimization, policing, homicide, community corrections, and long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Working with students and colleagues at the John Jay College Research and Evaluation Center, Professor Maxfield developed the evidence generation approach to applied justice research. He is editor of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xiii
An Introduction to Criminal Justice Inquiry     1
Criminal Justice and Scientific Inquiry     2
Introduction     3
Home Detention     4
What Is This Book About?     4
Two Realities     4
The Role of Science     6
Personal Human Inquiry     6
Tradition     7
Authority     7
Arrest and Domestic Violence     8
Errors in Personal Human Inquiry     8
Inaccurate Observation     8
Overgeneralization     8
Selective Observation     9
Illogical Reasoning     10
Ideology and Politics     10
To Err Is Human     10
Foundations of Social Science     11
Theory, Not Philosophy or Belief     11
Regularities     13
What about Exceptions?     13
Aggregates, Not Individuals     13
A Variable Language     14
Variables and Attributes     15
Variables and Relationships     18
Purposes of Research     18
Exploration     18
Description     19
Explanation     19
Application     20
Differing Avenues for Inquiry     20
Idiographic and Nomothetic Explanations     21
Inductive and Deductive Reasoning     22
Quantitative and Qualitative Data     23
Knowing through Experience: Summing Up and Looking Ahead     24
Main Points     24
Ethics and Criminal Justice Research     26
Introduction     27
Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Research     27
No Harm to Participants     27
Ethics and Extreme Field Research     28
Voluntary Participation     31
Anonymity and Confidentiality     32
Deceiving Subjects     33
Analysis and Reporting     33
Legal Liability     34
Special Problems     35
Promoting Compliance with Ethical Principles     37
Codes of Professional Ethics     37
Institutional Review Boards     38
Institutional Review Board Requirements and Researcher Rights     41
Ethics and Juvenile Gang Members     42
Ethical Controversies     42
The Stanford Prison Experiment     42
Discussion Examples     45
Main Points      46
Structuring Criminal Justice Inquiry     49
General Issues in Research Design     50
Introduction     51
Causation in the Social Sciences     51
Criteria for Causality     52
Necessary and Sufficient Causes     53
Validity and Causal Inference     53
Statistical Conclusion Validity     53
Internal Validity     55
External Validity     55
Construct Validity     55
Validity and Causal Inference Summarized     57
Does Drug Use Cause Crime?     57
Causation and Declining Crime in New York City     58
Introducing Scientific Realism     60
Units of Analysis     61
Individuals     61
Groups     61
Organizations     62
Social Artifacts     62
The Ecological Fallacy     63
Units of Analysis in Review     63
Units of Analysis in the National Youth Gang Survey     64
The Time Dimension     65
Cross-Sectional Studies     66
Longitudinal Studies     66
Approximating Longitudinal Studies     67
The Time Dimension Summarized      70
How to Design a Research Project     70
The Research Process     71
Getting Started     73
Conceptualization     73
Choice of Research Method     74
Operationalization     74
Population and Sampling     74
Observations     75
Analysis     75
Application     75
Research Design in Review     75
The Research Proposal     76
Elements of a Research Proposal     76
Answers to the Units-of-Analysis Exercise     78
Main Points     78
Concepts, Operationalization, and Measurement     80
Introduction     81
Conceptions and Concepts     81
Conceptualization     83
Indicators and Dimensions     83
What Is Recidivism?     84
Creating Conceptual Order     84
Operationalization Choices     86
Measurement as Scoring     87
Jail Stay     88
Exhaustive and Exclusive Measurement     88
Levels of Measurement     89
Implications of Levels of Measurement     91
Criteria for Measurement Quality     92
Reliability      93
Validity     94
Measuring Crime     97
General Issues in Measuring Crime     97
Units of Analysis and Measuring Crime     98
Measures Based on Crimes Known to Police     98
Victim Surveys     102
Surveys of Offending     103
Measuring Crime Summary     104
Composite Measures     105
Typologies     106
An Index of Disorder     107
Measurement Summary     109
Main Points     109
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs     112
Introduction     113
The Classical Experiment     113
Independent and Dependent Variables     114
Pretesting and Posttesting     114
Experimental and Control Groups     115
Double-Blind Experiments     116
Selecting Subjects     116
Randomization     117
Experiments and Causal Inference     117
Experiments and Threats to Validity     118
Threats to Internal Validity     118
Ruling Out Threats to Internal Validity     120
Generalizability and Threats to Validity     121
Variations in the Classical Experimental Design     123
Quasi-Experimental Designs     124
Nonequivalent-Groups Designs     125
Cohort Designs     128
Time-Series Designs     128
Variations in Time-Series Designs     132
Variable-Oriented Research and Scientific Realism     133
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs Summarized     135
Main Points     136
Modes of Observation     139
Sampling     140
Introduction     141
The Logic of Probability Sampling     141
Conscious and Unconscious Sampling Bias     143
Representativeness and Probability of Selection     144
Probability Theory and Sampling Distribution     145
The Sampling Distribution of 10 Cases     145
From Sampling Distribution to Parameter Estimate     149
Estimating Sampling Error     150
Confidence Levels and Confidence Intervals     151
Probability Theory and Sampling Distribution Summed Up     152
Populations and Sampling Frames     153
Types of Sampling Designs     154
Simple Random Sampling     154
Systematic Sampling     154
Stratified Sampling      155
Disproportionate Stratified Sampling     156
Multistage Cluster Sampling     157
Multistage Cluster Sampling with Stratification     158
Illustration: Two National Crime Surveys     160
The National Crime Victimization Survey     160
The British Crime Survey     161
Probability Sampling in Review     162
Nonprobability Sampling     162
Purposive Sampling     162
Quota Sampling     163
Reliance on Available Subjects     164
Snowball Sampling     165
Nonprobability Sampling in Review     166
Main Points     166
Survey Research and Other Ways of Asking Questions     169
Introduction     170
Topics Appropriate to Survey Research     171
Counting Crime     171
Self-Reports     171
Perception and Attitudes     172
Targeted Victim Surveys     172
Other Evaluation Uses     172
Guidelines for Asking Questions     173
Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions     173
Questions and Statements     174
Make Items Clear     174
Short Items Are Best     174
Avoid Negative Items     174
Biased Items and Terms     175
Designing Self-Report Items     175
Questionnaire Construction     177
General Questionnaire Format     177
Contingency Questions     177
Matrix Questions     178
Ordering Items in a Questionnaire     180
Don't Start from Scratch!     181
Self-Administered Questionnaires     181
Mail Distribution and Return     182
Warning Mailings and Cover Letters     182
Follow-Up Mailings     183
Acceptable Response Rates     183
Computer-Based Self-Administration     184
In-Person Interview Surveys     185
The Role of the Interviewer     185
Coordination and Control     186
Computer-Assisted In-Person Interviews     187
Telephone Surveys     189
Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing     190
Comparison of the Three Methods     191
Strengths and Weaknesses of Survey Research     192
Other Ways of Asking Questions     194
Specialized Interviewing     194
Focus Groups     195
Should You Do It Yourself?     196
Main Points     198
Field Research     200
Introduction     201
Topics Appropriate to Field Research     202
The Various Roles of the Observer     203
Asking Questions     205
Gaining Access to Subjects     207
Gaining Access to Formal Organizations     207
Gaining Access to Subcultures     210
Selecting Cases for Observation     210
Purposive Sampling in Field Research     212
Recording Observations     214
Cameras and Voice Recorders     214
Field Notes     215
Structured Observations     216
Linking Field Observations and Other Data     217
Illustrations of Field Research     219
Field Research on Speeding and Traffic Enforcement     219
Conducting a Safety Audit     220
Bars and Violence     222
Strengths and Weaknesses of Field Research     224
Validity     224
Reliability     225
Generalizability     226
Main Points     227
Agency Records, Content Analysis, and Secondary Data     229
Introduction     230
Topics Appropriate for Agency Records and Content Analysis     230
Types of Agency Records     232
Published Statistics     232
Nonpublic Agency Records     234
New Data Collected by Agency Staff     236
Improving Police Records of Domestic Violence     238
Reliability and Validity     239
Sources of Reliability and Validity Problems     240
How Many Parole Violators Were There Last Month?     242
Content Analysis     244
Coding in Content Analysis     244
Illustrations of Content Analysis     246
Secondary Analysis     247
Sources of Secondary Data     248
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Data     249
Main Points     250
Application and Analysis     253
Evaluation Research and Problem Analysis     254
Introduction     255
Topics Appropriate for Evaluation Research and Problem Analysis     255
The Policy Process     256
Linking the Process to Evaluation     257
Getting Started     260
Evaluability Assessment     260
Problem Formulation     261
Measurement     263
Designs for Program Evaluation      266
Randomized Evaluation Designs     266
Home Detention: Two Randomized Studies     269
Quasi-Experimental Designs     271
Other Types of Evaluation Studies     273
Problem Analysis and Scientific Realism     273
Problem-Oriented Policing     274
Auto Theft in Chula Vista     275
Other Applications of Problem Analysis     276
Space- and Time-Based Analysis     276
Scientific Realism and Applied Research     280
The Political Context of Applied Research     282
Evaluation and Stakeholders     282
When Politics Accommodates Facts     283
Politics and Objectivity     284
Main Points     285
Interpreting Data     287
Introduction     288
Univariate Description     288
Distributions     288
Measures of Central Tendency     289
Measures of Dispersion     291
Comparing Measures of Dispersion and Central Tendency     293
Computing Rates     295
Describing Two or More Variables     296
Bivariate Analysis     296
Murder on the Job     298
Multivariate Analysis      301
Inferential Statistics     303
Univariate Inferences     304
Tests of Statistical Significance     305
Visualizing Statistical Significance     306
Chi Square     307
Cautions in Interpreting Statistical Significance     309
Main Points     311
Glossary     313
References     321
Name Index     332
Subject Index     334
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