Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach

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Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology is a core text for criminology and criminal justice research methods courses. It has been designed to be user-friendly, even when dealing with some fairly complex statistical and theoretical concepts. The most critical points are clearly stated and illustrated with examples chosen to be interesting in their own right.

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Editorial Reviews

Chris Gibson
Using an excellent blend of methods, statistics, and theory, the Ellis, Hartley, and Walsh research methods book is a remarkable text that will definitely be valuable to beginning and advanced researchers. I applaud them for their ability to successfully apply research methods to real-world problems, while at the same time use research examples from a vast array of academic disciplines and topics worldwide. Their book should certainly be one that research methods instructors should consider adopting so that students have an all-encompassing methods experience!
Kevin M. Beaver
Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology takes a subject matter that most students find inherently boring and makes it engaging, interesting, and inspiring. Their use of interdisciplinary examples puts a fresh spin on the standard cookie-cutter examples typically used in the explanation of research methods. Ellis, Hartley, and Walsh have created a book that explains difficult and complex material in a way that is easy to comprehend. I recommend this book to all students learning about research methods and to all professors who are teaching this challenging topic.
Ling Ren
The authors offer an interdisciplinary approach of research that anchors on a broader spectrum of interests in methodology than most textbooks. Instead of solely focusing on criminal justice research, this book introduces the major social/behavioral science disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, and their relationship with criminal justice and criminology. I think it is a smart and thoughtful approach given the facts that majorities of research methods applied in CJ are borrowed from those closely related disciplines and I have no doubt that they will have continuing influence in CJ research.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742564411
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/16/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 810,313
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Ellis is professor of sociology at University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is also affiliated with Minot State University in the United States. Richard D. Hartley is assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Texas at San Antonio. Anthony Walsh is professor of criminal justice at Boise State.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures xiii

Preface xix

Part I Getting Started 1

1 The Scientific Method and Criminal Justice and Criminology Social Sciences 3

Learning to Become a Researcher 4

Circumscribing Criminal Justice and Criminology 5

Circumscribing the Other Social and Behavioral Sciences 6

The Near Social Sciences 14

Other Disciplines that Utilize Social Science Research Methods 15

Features of the Scientific Methods 15

The Scientific Spirit 20

Types of Questions Addressed by Social Scientists 22

Varied Adherence to the Scientific Method 23

Summary 25

2 Formulating Scientific Questions and Locating Background Research 27

The Nature of Scientific Variables 27

Conceptual Versus Operational Definitions of Variables 31

Levels of Measurement 33

Formulating and Refining Scientific Questions 36

Locating Information on Topics of Interest 37

How to Get Copies of Articles of Interest 41

Distinctiveness of Scientific Communication 43

How Scientific Research Gets Reviewed and Sometimes Published 44

Summary 44

Suggested Readings 46

Part II The Importance of Statistics 47

3 Univariate Statistics and the Concept of Statistical Significance 49

The Nature of Univariate Statistical Concepts 49

Averages 50

Dispersion 54

Illustrating the Concepts of Averages and Dispersions 58

Building the Concept of Statistical Significance 59

Hypothesis Testing and the Concept of the Null Hypothesis 63

Inferential Statistics 64

Closing Remarks about Statistical Significance and Inferential Statistics 69

Summary 70

Suggested Readings 71

4 Bivariate and Multivariate Statistics: The Concept of Correlation 72

Background 73

Constructing Scattergrams73

Curvilenear Versus Linear Correlations 79

Interpreting Statements about the Strength of Correlations 82

Variability and Correlations 83

The Statistical Significance of Correlation Coefficients 84

Interpreting Two Studies Based on Correlation 85

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation: Words of Caution 87

Reflections on the Importance of Statistics in the Research Process 90

Multivariate Statistics: When Bivariate Statistics Are Not Enough 91

Closing Comments on Multivariate Statistics 95

Summary 96

Suggested Readings 96

Part III Documentation and Measurement 99

5 Research Report Structure and Styles for Citing and Referencing 101

The Basic Format for a Research Report 101

Identifying the Parts of a Research Report 104

Citation and Referencing Styles 104

Summary 110

Suggested Readings 111

6 Reliability, Validity, and Precision in Measurement 113

Handedness as an Example of Problems in Measurement 114

Three Aspects of Accurate Measurement 116

Reliability 117

Validity 124

Precision 129

Factors Analysis for Refining Measurement Accuracy 131

Some Closing Remarks about Reliability, Validity, and Precision 133

Summary 135

Suggested Readings 136

Part IV Selecting and Retaining Those to Be Studied 137

7 Surveying and Sampling 139

The Nature of Scientific Surveys 139

Basic Terminology 140

Representative Versus Nonrepresentative Samples 141

Probability Versus Non-Probability Sampling Methods 142

Sample Size 150

Surveying Over Time 152

Summary 153

Suggested Readings 154

8 The Human Side of Sampling and the Reliability of Self-Reports 155

People's Willingness to Serve as Research Subjects 156

Assessing the Extent and Causes of Sample Attrition 156

New Computer-Assisted "Interviewing" 159

Limiting Sample Attrition 159

Inaccuracies in Self-Reports 166

Techniques for Minimizing and Detecting Subject Dishonesty 170

Interviews as Social Activity 178

Summary 180

Suggested Readings 181

Part V Types of Social Science Data 183

9 Data Based on Self-Reports: Guidelines for Constructing Questionnaires 185

Basic Terminology 186

Advantages and Disadvantages of Data Based on Self-Reports 186

Response Options for Questions 187

Deciding Which Response Option to Use 192

Types of Self-Reported Items 195

Guidelines for Item Construction 197

Clustering Items with Similar Formats 198

Types of Questions to Avoid 199

Examples of Poorly Phrased Questions 202

Combining Two or More Items to Improve Reliability 204

Time Diaries: A Special Type of Questionnaire 206

Computerized Questionnaires and Use of the Internet 207

Final Comments on Questionnaire Data 208

Summary 209

Suggested Readings 210

10 Direct Observations: Qualitative and Quantitative Data 212

Qualitative Direct Observations 212

Participant Observations 213

Ethnographic Observations 214

Case Studies 220

Focus Group Research 221

Archaeological Data 223

Procedures in Ethnographic and Participant Observation Data Collection 225

Quantitative Direct Observations 227

Laboratory and Clinical Observations 228

Field Research 231

Direct Observations among Nonhuman Animals 234

Content Analysis 236

Closing Comments on Direct Observations 240

Summary 241

Suggested Readings 244

11 Archival Data Analysis and Meta-Analysis 246

Units of Analysis 246

Archival Data 248

Analyzing Cross-Cultural Atlases 253

Review Articles and Meta-Analyses 255

Summary 262

Suggested Readings 263

12 Measuring Crime and Criminality 265

Categorizing and Measuring Crime 265

The Uniform Crime Reports: Counting Crime Officially 266

Crime Victimization Survey Data 275

Self-Reported Crime Surveys 281

What Can We Conclude about the Three Main Measures of Crime in America? 285

Summary 291

Suggested Readings 292

Part VI Probing for Causal Explanations 293

13 Theories, Models, Hypotheses, and Empirical Reality 295

The Concept of Causation 295

The Nature of Scientific Theorizing 296

Criteria for Assessing the Elegance of a Scientific Theory 298

How Theories Fit into the Research Process 301

Scientific Models 302

Scientific Laws 310

Scientific Paradigms 311

Hypothesis Testing and Attempts to Generalize 311

Closing Remarks Regarding Scientific Theorizing 314

Summary 315

Suggested Readings 316

14 Controlled Experimentation 318

Basic Experimental Terminology 319

Main Types of Experimental Designs 321

Pitfalls with Human Experimentation 332

Shortcomings of Experimental Research 333

Summary 335

Suggested Readings 336

15 Quasi-Experimentation 338

Quasi-Experiments Compared with Controlled Experiments 338

Quasi-Experimental Designs in the Narrower Sense 340

Quasi-Experimental Designs in the Broader Sense 348

Quasi-Experimental Designs for Addressing Nature-Nurture Issues 351

Summary 354

Suggested Readings 356

Part VII Avoiding Harm and Doing Good 357

16 Ethical Issues in Social and Behavioral Science Research 359

Responsibilities to Research Subjects 359

Responsibilities to Fellow Social and Behavioral Scientists 367

Responsibilities to Humanity 374

Summary 375

Suggested Readings 376

17 Evaluation and Other Applied Research 378

Conceptualizing Evaluation Research 380

Terminology Surrounding Evaluation Research 380

History of Evaluation Research 383

Types of Programs Evaluated 386

Locating Reports of Evaluation Research 392

Program Evaluation: Doing It Right 392

Program Evaluation: A Source of Tension 394

Closing Thoughts about Evaluation Research 394

Summary 395

Suggested Readings 397

18 Epilogue 399

Appendix A The American Psychological Association Referencing Style 401

APA Referencing Format for Articles 402

APA Referencing Format for Books 403

APA Referencing Format for Chapters in Edited Books 403

Appendix B Guidelines and Recommendations for Preparing Research Reports 405

Overall Format and Style of a Research Manuscript 405

The Basic Format for the Initial Pages 406

The Body of the Manuscript 406

What Follows the Body of a Research Manuscript? 409

Tailoring a Research Manuscript for a Specific Journal 409

Suggested Readings 410

Appendix C Guidelines for Professional Writing in the Social and Behavioral Sciences 411

Special Comments on Citing and Typing 414

Suggested Readings 415

Notes 417

References 419

Index 489

About the Authors 497

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