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NCJ Number: 81854 Find in a Library
Title: Evolving a 'Science of Violence' - A Propaedeutic Comment
Journal: American Behavioral Scientist  Volume:23  Issue:5  Dated:(May/June 1980)  Pages:653-665
Author(s): H Toch
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses some of the problems researchers face in studying violence. It suggests that they focus on process as well as on product and employ a multifaceted approach to the study of violence in which normative and illicit violence is studied along a continuum.
Abstract: Definitions that are favored by students of violence often focus on the 'inflicting of physical harm.' These definitions are 'product centered' and are advantageous because they highlight behavior that fits the researcher's criteria and circumscribe a specific universe to study. However, unless researchers presuppose homogeneity of process, a product-centered science of violence could encroach on diverse domains involving widely disparate expertise. Unless product and process exploration are combined, researchers risk disjunctures of inquiry or pseudo-solutions. The methodology deployed in the study of family violence, in particular, must be multifaceted and must handle all sorts of data in varying combinations so that the phenomena observed can be meaningfully subdivided, explored in depth and breadth, and described and traced. Typologies that divide violence phenomena (products) into homogeneous syndromes with similar dynamics (processes) facilitate efforts at prevention and resocialization. Researchers' reluctance to explore the violence process directly is unfortunate as persons intimate with violence can tell the researcher about the 'how' and illuminate the 'why.' In the absence of this strategy, a science of violence seems fated to be strong on facts that are weakly buttressed by remote inferences. Five notes and seven references are included.
Index Term(s): Research methods; Violence
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