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NCJ Number: 50957 Find in a Library
Title: SOME COMMENTS ON COMPARATIVE METHODOLOGIES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(AUGUST 1978)  Pages:233-245
Author(s): D L BLAZICEK; G M JANEKSELA
Corporate Author: Academic Press Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press Ltd
London Nw1,, England
Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE DIFFICULTY IN DEVELOPING A COMPARATIVE APPROACH TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS ILLUSTRATED TO EMPHASIZE UNIVERSAL PROBLEMS IN CONDUCTING RESEARCH TRANSNATIONALLY AND TO INDICATE ITS IMPORTANCE FOR THEORY DEVELOPMENT.
Abstract: THERE IS NO DISTINCTIVE COMPARATIVE METHOD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH; RATHER, THERE IS AMBIGUITY, CONFUSION, AND MISUSE OF THE TERM 'COMPARATIVE.' THE EXISTING BODY OF KNOWLEDGE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS SCATTERED AND NOT WELL DEFINED, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE STUDIES CAN BE CONSIDERED COMPARATIVE ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY EMPLOY ILLUSTRATIVE MATERIALS FROM A VARIETY OF COUNTRIES. COMPARATIVE EFFORTS ARE DIFFICULT BECAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS IN DOING CROSS-CULTURAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH, SUCH AS LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES AND TRANSLATION, DEFINING RESEARCH UNITS, DATA COLLECTION, CODING AND PROCESSING, AND SAMPLING PROCEDURES. BECAUSE THE KEY TO THEORY CONSTRUCTION LIES IN THE QUEST FOR UNIVERSAL STANDARDS, KNOWLEDGE OBTAINED IN COMPARATIVE STUDIES SHOULD PERFORM THE FOLLOWING FUNCTIONS: (1) ORGANIZE AND CATEGORIZE ITEMS IN A TYPOLOGY, (2) PREDICT FUTURE EVENTS, (3) EXPLAIN PAST EVENTS, (4) PROVIDE UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT CAUSES EVENTS, AND (5) PROVIDE A POTENTIAL FOR CONTROLLING EVENTS. COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH SHOULD SEEK TO DEVELOP THEORIES CHARACTERIZED BY ABSTRACTNESS, INTERSUBJECTIVITY, AND EMPIRICAL RELEVANCE. HOWEVER, THE QUESTION AS TO HOW SUCH A FORMIDABLE TASK CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED STILL REMAINS. EXISTING STRATEGIES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BODY OF KNOWLEDGE IN COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE UNDERSCORE THE QUESTION WHETHER RESEARCHERS SHOULD BEGIN WITH RESEARCH THAT LEADS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT, OR WITH THEORIES TO BE TESTED BY EMPIRICAL EFFORTS. THE STATE OF EXISTING COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH RULES OUT THE FORMER, WHILE SUPPORTING THE LATTER STRATEGY (THEORY-THEN-RESEARCH), WHICH HAS AS ITS MAJOR FOCUS THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN EXPLICIT THEORY THROUGH WHICH A CONTINUOUS INTERACTION BETWEEN THEORY CONSTRUCTION AND EMPIRICAL RESEARCH RESULTS. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Criminal justice system analysis; Research methods; Theory
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50957

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