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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74047 Find in a Library
Title: Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Author(s): E S Johnson
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 429
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice Hall
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Sale Source: Prentice Hall
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Written for both professionals and students of criminology and criminal justice, this book discusses the research framework in criminology from topic selection to data analysis. The design, data, and objectives of survey research are detailed.
Abstract: The text is designed to ease the novice into a 'research frame of mind' through a discussion of science and research as they relate to criminology and criminal justice. Requirements of both formal and informal research are discussed in sections on current topics and the selection of topic material. Noting that as propositions and hypotheses are developed, variables begin to be defined, a discussion of testable research statements and hypotheses leads to an examination of validity, triangulation, and the use of testing methods other than survey research. Errors in internal and external validity may be controlled by using these other methods (such as case study, participant observation, simulation, literature and records search, and examination of physical evidence) alone or in conjunction with survey research methods. Sampling, construction of an instrument, and data gathering procedures for research projects are outlined. These design requirements lead to questionnaire format, interviewing techniques, and sampling techniques. The text also examines research errors resulting from the interviewer's effect on the response as well as the client's effect (the role and response set). Collection of data involves scoring, coding, and preparation for the statistical analysis of the data. To clarify these procedures, the final sections discuss sampling theory and the use of multiple samples and multiple variables as well as the computer use to control variables. In addition, the section on computer use in research discusses research logic, programs and languages, and limits of the computer. A section on using terminals online gives guidelines for the novice. Numerous fallacies related to the points of control in survey research projects are also examined. These include the fallacy of a false hypothesis statement, the Hawthorne and halo effects, contamination, manipulation, and computer fallacy. Research ethics are presented as obligations to improve the quality of life and protect human subjects and to challenge other research and expect to be challenged in return. Specific guidelines for the protection of human subjects include a guarantee of anonymity, disclosure of the full nature and intent of the inquiry to the client, and an obligation to remain impartial and objective. A statistical reference table, research methods, additional tables, and a casino gambling survey are appended. An index, diagrams, footnotes, chapter exercises, suggested reading lists, and numerous references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Computers; Crime surveys; Criminology; Data analysis; Data collections; Data integrity; Human research subject protection; Research design; Research methods; Statistical analysis; Statistical bias
Note: Prentice-Hall Series in Criminal Justice.
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