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Week 3 Notes Research Methods

by: Janaki Padmakumar

Week 3 Notes Research Methods CCJ3701

Marketplace > University of Florida > CRIMINOLOGY > CCJ3701 > Week 3 Notes Research Methods
Janaki Padmakumar

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About this Document

These notes cover material presented during week 3 such as methods in sampling, research questions and how to develop them.
Research Methods in Criminology
Chris Gibson
Class Notes
criminology, research methods
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Janaki Padmakumar on Saturday September 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CCJ3701 at University of Florida taught by Chris Gibson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Research Methods in Criminology in CRIMINOLOGY at University of Florida.


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Date Created: 09/10/16
Week 2 notes Research Methods Lecture 3 Using fb to predict violent instances amongst gang members  How retaliatory behavior can be predicted by hostile posts on fb Possible question- Why are social networking sites harmful?  Implication of harm stated within question  Makes assumption that social networking sites are harmful Revised question- how are online users experiencing privacy issues on such social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter and instagram?  Develop hypotheses or sub-questions based on this  Need to do background reading on the subject (journals, articles, legal constraints)  Examine relevance for future and scope of audience Examples of research questions  Are children who witness violence morel likely to engage in violent behavior than those who do not witness violence? o Primary (witnessed in person or experienced), secondary and tertiary violence (TV, watching violent crime like shootings/assault) o 4 things to examine RQ  Unit of analysis- children witnessing violence  Variables identification- witnessing violence and perpetration of violence  Independent variable- witnessing violence  Dependent variable- perpetrating violence  Are adolescents who report having lower self control more likely to report engaging in criminal behavior than those who report having more self control? o Those with low self control act less consequentially and are more impulsive o Unit of analysis- adolescents reporting low self control o Variables: self control and criminal behavior o IDV- reporting of low self control o DV- exhibition of criminal behavior  Are victims of crime more likely to be fearful of crime than non victims? o Unit of analysis- individuals (both victims and non victims) o Variables- victimization and fear of crime o IDV- victimization o DV- fear of crime Variable- a characteristic that varies Hypothesis- a statement to test the relationship between two variables (IDV and DV) Constants are bad for social sciences- need sample of subjects with variation in order to understand why behavior occurs Independent variable (IV)-  Proposed influence  Explanatory variable  Predictor or cause of behavior being measured Dependent variable  Outcome variable  Effect  Variation in this variable is a function of the independent variable Classification of research  Quantitative and qualitative strains of research  Will deal primarily with quantitative research  Quantitative methods record variations in social life in terms of categories that vary in amount o Numbers or categories that can be ordered o Use theory to guide and explain numbers obtained  Qualitative o Can capture social life as participants experience it o Most likely obtained through spoken or written data o Extensive interviewing, focus groups, life histories etc- enables theory development Types of data collection  Cross sectional design (snapshot) o Studying sample of subjects at one point in time o Collect data only once o E.g. does not make sense to survey change in gender over time in a fear of crime study, unless specifically examining gender fluidity  Longitudinal design (movie) o Studying same subjects over time o Repeated measures o Why is this important? o Shows change over time and change within people as well since same subjects are used, with repeated measures o Retrospective data accuracy issues- collection can be valid if prospective and retrospective recall matches up  Primary and secondary data o Data being collected from a sample group as part of experiment(primary) o Data from prior studies and samples- sometimes better data available Longitudinal design  Repeated cross sectional design- take different samples of the same population o Can observe changes or trends within a population  Fixed sample panel design- collection from same individual at two ore more points in time o Repeated measurements of the same individual  Cohort based designs- collection from same individuals at two ore more points in time; individuals have something in common o Typically a group selected because they share a common trait, unlike fixed sample panels which are selected randomly Unit of analysis- major entity that you are analyzing in your study  Unit of analysis is the level of social life on which the research question is focused  Individuals  Groups  Towns  Neighborhoods  Cities  Social interactions  Artifacts (books, photos, newspapers) Lecture 4 Measurement Accuracy of measurements affect other aspects of study, especially conclusion drawn Some things are easily measured, others like crime are difficult to measure like crime Primary methods- 1 self reports from national crime victimization survey (NCVS)- designed to measure crime through asking about victimization experience; those who take the study once tend to opt out or report falsely (respondent fatigue bias) in order to avoid extra time taken to report victimizations. a Broader response to crime- lowers crime estimates in the US; gives less accurate picture of crime 2 UCR- Uniform crime report- estimation of crime trends from public reports a Issues: crime goes unreported, and many PDs don't send in information to FBI to be compiled *what defines fear of crime? Need to see how studies being examined define fear of crime- self reports or different methods? Cognitive v. behavioral measure of crime? Ultimate goal of Research- Validity Measurement validity: is a measure measuring what we think it measures- i.e. are you measuring what you say you are measuring?  Have measures included that are as accurate as possible  Limitations exist in UCR and NCVS- consider both if examining national trends in crime influences research question Generalizability  Conclusions are supported across different groups, settings and events Causal validity  A results in B  E.g. does victimization cause people to be fearful of crime? i.e. does victimization cause people to be afraid of crime?  Ruling out alternate explanations for fear of crime is challenging- need to do alternate testing or design another experiment Do not reinvent the wheel- not necessary to develop new measures when a particular pre-existing approved measure is available  Enables you to compare results so long as they are valid  Does measure produce bias?  High precision measuring instruments (ie accepted standards) are hard to develop in social sciences because abstract concepts are being measured  Fit measuring style to the topic being addressed- no universal design for criminology studies Getting to measurement  Identifying concepts o A tag placed on social reality o Mental image summarizing a set of similar observations, feelings or ideas o Constructs o Latent variables o Unobserved variables (observed indicators) o Concepts in criminology:  Violence  Peer delinquency  Victimization  Substance use  Neighborhood disorganization  Conceptualizing o Specifying or defining what we mean by a term  Operationalization  Measurement (responses from the individuals) o Nominal o Ordinal o Interval o Ratio


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