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Criminal Justice Research Methods Notes

by: Kristyle L.

Criminal Justice Research Methods Notes CCJ 2210

Kristyle L.
GPA 3.7

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About this Document

Criminal Justice
Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Kyle Thomas
Class Notes
Criminal Justice, research methods, criminology
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kristyle L. on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CCJ 2210 at University of Missouri - St. Louis taught by Kyle Thomas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice in Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Missouri - St. Louis.

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Date Created: 02/28/16
CCJ 2210: Research Methods Spring 2016 Class Notes 2/10/2016 The Goal of Research -All of research is driven by the goal of validity (how wrong we are) -By validity, we refer to objective knowledge -How can we justify, any study if the results are not valid? -In this way, ethics and research are imperative to good research Honesty and Openness -One of the most important ethical standards -Require that researchers are honest and open in how they conducted their study -Allows for ethical review of research and replication Protecting Research Participants -Research participants are not just a means to an end, but a means AND an end There are several ways we can protect subjects: 1. Expose to minimal risks 2. Disclose the purpose of the research 3. Make research voluntary (informed consent) 4. Ensure confidentiality These things not only protect the participants, but also improve validity Reducing Harm to Participants -This is, by far the most straightforward ethical principle -But what is meant by “harm”? -Often we need to think outside the box Disclosing the Purpose of Research -Also seem straightforward -But sometimes research is based on deception *tricking subjects to believe the study is about something else -Only allowed to use deception if it is absolutely necessary for the validity of the study -Even when using deception, you must disclose the true purpose at the soonest date possible *known as debriefing Informed consent -Cannot force people to take part in studies -But it informed consent is more complicated than it first seems *What is meant by informed? -What about receiving “informed consent” from certain populations? *College students required to take part in surveys? *Prisoners? *Children? The Case of the Children -Children present an interesting conundrum for researchers Two possibilities 1. Active parental consent, children consent Parents must actively consent to children taking part of a study Children also actively approved 2. Passive parental consent, children consent Parents given the option to opt out Children must actively consent Privacy Anonymity and Confidentiality - Very important for the subject and for the validity of research *if you had to take a survey where I knew it was you - to avoid this, researchers strive for anonymity and confidentiality as much as possible * no identifying information * refusal to disclose information to others * remove any chance of linking surveys to individuals -We must be realistic Class Notes 2/17/2016 Operationalization The goal is figuring out how to make something that is unobservable (the construct) into something that is observable Usually hell several managers per construct Several measures or scale together so each person has a single value representing that construct *known as an indicator Good operationalization means that we are measuring what we think we are measuring Using Available Data Many secondary data sets are available that already tap into constructs But there’re or often times problems: May not be ideal measures Sometimes the data sources or unreliable Can be difficult to compare across regions Often times rely on single indicators *this can be a big problem, but is often done Constructing Questions -Making your own questionnaire is the most versatile way to achieve measurement validity - Close ended questions (fixed choice) * circle or check (response options are bound) * must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive - open-ended questions *writing or talking (no bound) Methodological Triangulation All of these methods have their strengths and weaknesses One way to increase our confidence in the results if through triangulation  The use of multiple methods to study one research Measurement Validity and Measurement Reliability Validity- has to do with how wrong we are- the bias in the measure  Do we appear to be measuring what we think? Reliability- are we getting consistent scores when measuring one different occasions Reliability a prerequisite for validity What is Measurement Validity Achieved when we measure what we think we are measuring Ex. How many people engage in the US?  Using UCR-official data  Problem? Most crime is not reported Typically we use four approaches to access validity: Face validity Content validity Criterion validity Construct validity -For subjective beliefs and attitudes this is very difficult to do Construct Validity -Showing that a measure is related to other measures at specified in theory. -Discriminate validity  Crime- specific attitudes -Similar to criterion validity in that we are comparing the measure to other measures Measure Reliability -All about consistency -A measure would be reliable if the same students gave approximately the same answers two weeks apart -A measure that is reliable is less affected by random error or chance variation Threats to Reliability Poorly worded questions Long questions Respondent fatigue Social desirability Test-Retest Reliability Think of a thermometer Provide subjects with the same measures over a short timeframe If the results are relatively similar, confident in reliability Interitem (Internal) Reliability Often we have several items designed to measure the same construct They should all be related Calculate the correlation among multiple items measuring the same construct ( It is okay to find someone who disrespects you it is okay to get into a fight to protect the member of your family it is okay to get into a fight if you are defending yourself) CCJ 2210 Class Notes 2/22/2016 Alternate Forms Reliability Assessing differences between two slightly different versions of the same questions. Split-halves reliability-randomly giving two samples, related questionnaires measauring the same construct Inter-Rater Reliability Consistent between the same (intra) or different (inter) raters on the scale Usually used in a qualitative data Ex. When researchers use more than one observer to write the same person, events, Or places, interobserver reliability is their goal. Levels of Measurement Nominal- no mathematical interpretation or ordering - Mutually exclusive and exhaustive eg. gender, race Ordinal- can be ordered but the degree of distance is not mathematical -shirt size -Likert scale Interval- fixed measurement units, but no absolute zero (starts at 1, zero has no meaning) -temperature Ratio- fixed measurement units and an absolute zero (the zero DOES have meaning) -deliquency -0 delinquent acts means something Dichotomies -Sometimes we want/need “less information” such as a dichotomy -Either/or- yes/no -think of it as a light switch -Rather than comparing how often people offend, compare those that offend to those that do not -Strengths/weaknesses -Downside: It is limited


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