Presentation on theme: "Research Methods in Crime and Justice"— Presentation transcript:
1Research Methods in Crime and Justice Chapter 11Non-Reactive Research Methods
2Non-Reactive Research Methods To capture human behavior in natural settings, researchers have developed numerous non-reactive research methodologies.Non-reactive research is a collection of research methods that unobtrusively gather information from research subjects.Because the research subjects are unaware that they are being observed, they are less likely to change their behavior.Making Research Real 11.1 – Who Buys Gasoline Here?(p. 269)This research project begins when a researcher observes that the buttons on the gasoline pumps are worn out in different places from one chain convenience store to the next.In the lower socio-economic section of town the button over “Pay Inside Cash” is worn while in the higher socio-economic section of town the button over “Pay Outside Credit” is worn.The instructor uses these erosion measures to make conclusions about the differences in the patrons in these two stores.
3Non-Reactive Research Methods Basics One way to observe human behavior indirectly is to study the physical traces that are left behind.An accretion measure determines behavior by evaluating the things people possess.An erosion measure determines behavior by evaluating how things are used by people.
4Non-Reactive Research Methods Basics An unobtrusive observation, involves observing behavior without being noticed.Some researches use archival data, which are data that have already been collected and made available by an individual, group or organization.
5Types of Non-Reactive Research Methods There are three major types of non-reactive research methods.Field research – observing behavior in its natural setting.Secondary analysis – analyzing data collected for another purpose by a previous researcher.Content analysis – Analyzing existing textual information to study human behavior or conditions.Making Research Real 11.2 – Field Research in Criminal Justice (p. 272)A police captain responds to a neighborhood association’s complaint that somebody is stealing their morning papers.There appears to be no pattern to these thefts.The captain assigns an officer in an to (covertly) observe the neighborhood to catch the culprit.The culprit turns out to be a dog.Making Research Real 11.3 – Secondary Analysis in Criminal Justice (p. 272)A warden is not supportive of a recent proposal to triple bunk prison cells.The warden conducts a review of injury reports involving staff in the prison for the past 20 years.The warden finds that as the population of the prison increases the frequency and severity of staff injuries also increases.Making Research Real 11.4 – Content Analysis in Criminal Justice (p. 274)An English professor is interested in how police officers communicate in writing.She evaluates police reports and identifies common words and phrases.Using this information she develops a training program to help the officers write more precisely.
6The Benefits of Non-Reactive Research Methods Non-reactive research methods are beneficial when;Research subjects are likely to change their behavior after learning that they are being observed,The researcher wants to observe behavior in its natural setting and/or as it naturally occurs, orThe data have been previously collected by a different individual, group or organization
7The Limitations of Non-Reactive Research Methods Non-reactive research methods are;Ineffective for studying the internal motivations, beliefs and attitudes that underlie some behavior,Potentially unethical if it involves breaching research subjects’ right to or expectation of privacy,Impossible in cases where secondary or archival data do not already exist or are unavailable, orOften hampered by internal and external validity problems
8The Non-Reactive Research Process A Case Study in Non-Reactive Research (Economic Conditions and Ideologies of Crime in the Media: A Content Analysis of Crime News)The tendency of media outlets to focus on crime and violence creates false perceptions regarding crime.To better understand media portrayals of crime, Melissa Hickman Barlow, David E. Barlow and Theodore G. Chiricos (1995) conducted a content analysis of media content on crime.They wanted to know whether economic conditions had an effect on how the media portrayed crime.
9The Non-Reactive Research Process Asking a Research Question in Non-Reactive ResearchThe method chosen by a researcher should be determined by the research question.Non-reactive techniques are effective when the data that can answer a research question already exists.In this case the media reports were readily available to the researchers.
10The Non-Reactive Research Process Asking a Research Question in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dBarlow et al. (1995) state that their study is exploratory, which would be appropriate for a content analysis.However, the authors propose that political and economic conditions might help explain how the media portrays crime.Thus, it appears that there are pieces of this study that are explanatory in nature.
11The Non-Reactive Research Process Conducting a Literature Review in Non-Reactive ResearchPaying attention to the conceptual definitions used by previous researchers is particularly important in non-reactive research.Previous non-reactive researchers may have developed some innovative ways of measuring concepts in an unobtrusive manner.
12The Non-Reactive Research Process Conducting a Literature Review in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dIn their review of the literature, Barlow et al. (1995) discovered a rather robust research history.They found numerous sources that confirmed what we all suspected: “crime news distorts and/or frames crime and crime control in ways that support institutions of power and authority” (Barlow et al. 1995: 3).
13The Non-Reactive Research Process Refining the Research Question in Non-Reactive ResearchIn non-reactive methods intended to produce exploratory or descriptive information, traditional hypotheses that predict relationships between variables are not usually required.Instead, you may simply want to pose research questions and/or general statements about what you expect to find in the study.
14The Non-Reactive Research Process Refining the Research Question in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dBarlow et al. (1995) predicted that newspaper coverage of violent crime would not only overstate the problem of violent crime, but that coverage would be most intense during times of unemployment and economic stagnation.Thus, they presented two sets of hypotheses at the outset of their article.
15The Non-Reactive Research Process Refining the Research Question in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dThe first set of hypotheses focuses on the depiction of violent crime in news articles.The second set of hypotheses focused on the “characteristics and images of offenders within crime news articles” (Barlow et al. 1995: 10).
16The Non-Reactive Research Process Defining Concepts and Creating Measures in Non-Reactive ResearchThe process by which non-reactive researchers develop conceptual definitions is not different than in other types of research.The challenge in non-reactive research lies in ensuring the validity and reliability of non-reactive measures.
17The Non-Reactive Research Process Defining Concepts and Creating Measures in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dBarlow et al. (1995) propose that two elements of crime reporting will vary by economic conditions.the type of crime (violent or non-violent) that is reported, andthe characteristics (age, race, gender, social status, employment, marital status, family history, education, friends and religion) of offenders that are highlighted.
18The Non-Reactive Research Process Defining Concepts and Creating Measures in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dThe authors conceptualize ‘economic conditions’ in two ways.the level of unemployment (high or low).the level of economic stagnation (stagnation or expansion).
19The Non-Reactive Research Process Designing a Method in Non-Reactive ResearchField research involves covert observation of the behavior that a researcher is interested in studying.It is important to prepare for all possible contingencies that may arise in the field and all possible threats to researchers’ safety.
20The Non-Reactive Research Process Designing a Method in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dThe use of secondary data is appealing to most researchers because of its availability and low cost.However, the secondary data must be responsive to the researcher’s data needs and research question(s).
21The Non-Reactive Research Process Designing a Method in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dContent analysis is a technique wherein a researcher uses previously recorded or written information to study human behavior or conditions.The most important step in designing a content analysis is to create strong conceptual definitions and operational measures for the phenomena that are being studied.In some cases, this may involve the training of research assistants.
22The Non-Reactive Research Process Designing a Method in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dTo study media coverage of crime at different periods of time, Barlow et al. (1995) decided to study articles appearing in Time magazine.The researchers chose Time because it was a widely circulated news magazine and “the best available representative of mainstream media as an influence on and reflection of popular consciousness concerning contemporary social issues” (Barlow et al. 1995: 6).
23The Non-Reactive Research Process Collecting Data in Non-Reactive ResearchUnless the data are already collected (secondary analysis) the researcher will have to develop a way to capture it during the research process.Coding sheets provide researchers with an effective and efficient mechanism for recording information in content analyses and field observations.
24The Non-Reactive Research Process Collecting Data in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dRecording observations is a central part of field research.Video- and audio-taping are is the most accurate methods, but these are also reactive and potentially unethical.Recording observations on paper or a laptop are the least accurate, but also the least reactive.Researchers must find the appropriate balance between accuracy and obtrusiveness.
25The Non-Reactive Research Process Collecting Data in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dBarlow et al. (1995) chose articles that were “completely or substantially about crime, criminals, or criminal justice.”They read each article and collected information related to the variables in which they were interested.
26The Non-Reactive Research Process Collecting Data in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dThe researchers differentiated between articles about violent and non-violent crime, which was relatively easy to do.Collecting information about the characteristics of the offenders was a bit more problematic because most articles did not contain information relating to all ten of their variables.
27The Non-Reactive Research Process Collecting Data in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dAlthough they did not report this it is likely that the researchers read through a few of the articles at first to see if their data collection procedure would work (pretest).It is also likely that Barlow et. al. (1995) used coding sheets as they read the articles to be sure the collected the data required to answer their research questions.
28The Non-Reactive Research Process Analyzing Data in Non-Reactive ResearchSecondary analysis is nearly always quantitative in nature.Field observations and content analysis nearly always involve qualitative measures.There are, however, numerous exceptions to these general practices.Secondary analysis can involved qualitative dataField observations and content analyses can involve counting (i.e. quantitative) the frequency, and intensity of events.
29The Non-Reactive Research Process Analyzing Data in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dBarlow et al. (1995) do not report how they prepared the information for analysis.They do report using a statistical technique called Chi-Square, in which the compared percentages.For example, they compared the percentage of articles that focused on violent crime during periods of high unemployment to the percentage of articles that focused on violent crime during periods of low unemployment.
30The Non-Reactive Research Process Interpreting the Results in Non-Reactive ResearchIt is often the case in non-reactive research that there is room for multiple interpretations of the data.Overall, Barlow et al. (1995) found that crime news is not at all representative of actual crime trends.
31The Non-Reactive Research Process Interpreting the Results in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dThese researchers were somewhat successful in developing a connection between economic conditions and the types of crime stories reported in the media.However, the causal connection between economic conditions and crime reporting is really not known.
32The Non-Reactive Research Process Interpreting the Results in Non-Reactive Research – cont’dThis particular study was not without its flaws.One could argue that the sample of articles is not representative of the overall media.The articles were published within a 29 year time frame during which the publisher’s editorial philosophy may have changed numerous times during this time frame.Although the authors show some relationship between economic conditions and distorted depictions of crime, their analysis did not allow them to substantiate why this might be the case.
33The Non-Reactive Research Process Communicating the Results of Non-Reactive ResearchQuantitative results are best presented in tables, charts and graphs.Qualitative results are best reported as a ‘story’.Barlow et al. (1995) chose to publish their results in a peer reviewed academic journal. They are university scholars and as such benefit from the publication of their results in this medium.
34Getting to the PointNon-reactive research is a collection of research methods that gather information from research subjects without their knowledge.Because the research subjects are unaware that they are being observed, they are less likely to change their behaviors.These techniques are effective for observing behavior in a natural setting.
35Getting to the PointNon-reactive research methodologies have in common their ability to collect information from and about human beings without their knowledge.These methods can include;evaluating the things people possess (i.e., accretion measures),studying how things are used (i.e., erosion measures),observing how individuals or groups behave (i.e., unobtrusive observation), andanalyzing information collected and made available by someone else (i.e., archival data).
36Getting to the PointNon-reactive research techniques are most effective when;research subjects are likely to change their behavior when they know they are being observed,the researcher wants to observe behavior in its natural setting, and/orthe data the researcher needs is already available.
37Getting to the PointNon-reactive research methods are not particularly effective when;a researcher needs to understand underlying motivations and belief systems,research subjects have a right to or expectation of privacy, and/orsecondary or archival data do not exist.
38Getting to the PointMost non-reactive research is exploratory or descriptive nature.Because it is often difficult to measure the underlying cause of behavior non-reactive methods are less often used in explanatory research.
39Getting to the PointReviewing the research methods and mistakes of previous researchers who used non-reactive research techniques may help;define concepts,access certain populations, andavoid detection in non-reactive research.
40Getting to the PointIn non-reactive research that is exploratory or descriptive in nature, researchers may simply pose research questions and/or general statements about what they expect to find in the study.In non-reactive research that is explanatory in nature, researchers will develop more formal hypotheses.
41Getting to the PointFor the most part, the actual process of conceptualization and operationalization is the same in non-reactive research as it is in other research methods.
42Getting to the PointNon-reactive field research involves covert observation of and, in some cases, covert participation in the behavior that a researcher is interested in studying.In this method, it is important to prepare for all possible contingencies that may arise in the field and all possible threats to researchers’ safety.
43Getting to the PointThe use of secondary data is appealing to most researchers because of its availability and low cost.However, the secondary data must be responsive to the researcher’s data needs and research question(s).
44Getting to the PointThe most important step in designing a content analysis is to create strong conceptual definitions and operational measures for the phenomena that are being studied.In some cases, this may involve training research assistants.
45Getting to the PointCoding sheets provide researchers with an effective and efficient mechanism for recording information in content analyses and field observations.
46Getting to the PointRecording observations is a central part of field research.Video- and audio-taping observations is the most accurate recording method, but these are also the most reactive and, in some cases, they are also unethical.Recording observations on paper or a laptop are the least accurate, but also the least reactive.Researchers must find the appropriate balance between accuracy and obtrusiveness.
47Getting to the PointThe analysis of secondary data, field observations and content material can be qualitative or quantitative.The type of analysis depends on the research question and the type of data that are available.
48Getting to the PointThe data or information produced by many non-reactive research techniques often can be interpreted in multiple ways.As such, researchers using these techniques should entertain various interpretations.They should also be up front about the limitations of their study.
49Getting to the PointResearchers may use tables, charts and graphs to communicate the results of their non-reactive research if the analysis is quantitative in nature.Alternatively, if the analysis is qualitative in nature, they may tell a ‘story’ using quotes, examples and descriptions.
50Research Methods in Crime and Justice Chapter 11Non-Reactive Research Methods