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NCJ Number: 209712 Find in a Library
Title: Studying Youth Gangs: Alternative Methods and Conclusions
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:21  Issue:2  Dated:May 2005  Pages:98-119
Author(s): Lorine A. Hughes
Date Published: May 2005
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the major methods that have been used to study youth gangs, specifically qualitative and quantitative research, and discusses the consequences of their use for what is known about youth gangs.
Abstract: How youth gangs are studied affects the understanding of the phenomenon and determines what remains to be learned. This article reviews the major methods that have been used to study youth gangs and discuss the consequences of their use for what is known about gangs. It is argued that qualitative and quantitative research should be utilized together because quantitative research tends to be more structured in the interest of sampling criteria and statistical analysis and qualitative research is typically more holistic, specializing in in-depth accounts over broad summation and generalization. Overall, the picture of gangs that emerges from studies in the qualitative tradition provides important contrasts to quantitative findings. Both quantitative and qualitative studies have yielded great descriptions of a variety of gangs and provided insight into the gang populations and issues. However, a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of gang phenomena continues to be elusive. Qualitative techniques clearly have been more effective in reaching so-called hidden gang populations, exposing the similarities and differences that exist between gangs and among their members. Future research must begin the task of integrating quantitative and qualitative techniques in order to complement each other to enable a fuller accounting of macro-, individual-, and micro-level properties of the gang phenomenon and the linkages between them. References
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Gangs; Juvenile crime patterns; Juvenile delinquency research; Juvenile justice research; Research methods; Testing and measurement
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