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Research Methods in Criminology 1.Assignment # 1 2.Research 3.Research methods.

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1 Research Methods in Criminology 1.Assignment # 1 2.Research 3.Research methods

2 Why conduct research?  Some want to answer practical questions (“Will a reduction in average class size from 25 to 20 increase student writing skills?”)  Others want to make informed decision (“Should our school introduce extracurricular activities to reduce deviant behavior of students?”)  Still others want to change society (“What can be done to reduce rape?”)  Critics of scientific research in criminology view it as a detailed elaboration of what any person with common sense know

3 Sense and Nonsense about crime (Walker, 1989)  Females and the elderly fear crime because they are the most heavily victimized of all groups  Victims of crime seldom know their offenders  The typical criminal offender is either unemployed or on welfare  The larger the city, the greater the likelihood its residents will be victims of crime.  Rates of victimization are higher for males than females and for younger people  In a large proportion of violent crimes, victims know their offenders  Knowledge of imprisoned criminals indicates that most criminals have jobs and very few are welfare dependent  The residents of smaller cities have higher rates for certain crimes: assault, personal larceny, and residential burglary

4 Demographic characteristics (victims and offenders, ) VictimsOffendersPopulationVictimsOffenders Under 144.7%.5%20.6% %10.6%6.1% %36.2%11.0% %28.7%16.0% %17.2%20.2% %5.2%13.9% %1.7%12.2% Rate per 100,000 population

5 Demographic characteristics (victims and offenders, ) VictimsOffendersPopulationVictimsOffenders Male76.4%88.6%48.8% Female23.6%11.4%51.2% White51.1%45.9%84.0%4.9 Black46.8%52.1%12.2% Other2.1%2.0%3.8% Rate per 100,000 population

6 Sense and Nonsense about crime (Walker, 1989)  Females and the elderly fear crime because they are the most heavily victimized of all groups  Victims of crime seldom know their offenders  The typical criminal offender is either unemployed or on welfare  The larger the city, the greater the likelihood its residents will be victims of crime.  Rates of victimization are higher for males than females and for younger people  In a large proportion of violent crimes, victims know their offenders  Knowledge of imprisoned criminals indicates that most criminals have jobs and very few are welfare dependent  The residents of smaller cities have higher rates for certain crimes: assault, personal larceny, and residential burglary

7 The Victim-Offender Relationship  Three types of relationships are often identified: A. Familial (especially spouses and siblings) B. Acquaintances (including friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, neighbors, and coworkers) C. Strangers

8 UCR data  The majority of homicides known to police involve acquaintances (57%)  Relatives (22%)  Strangers (21%)

9 Homicides committed by women  Female-perpetrated homicides account for % of the overall homicides  Who do women kill?  The answer is those closest to them, with whom they live (intimate partners, or ex-partners and family members)  Over the period , intimate partners accounted for 32% of female-perpetrated homicides

10 Offender characteristics  Typical intimate partner killer is one aged b/w 25 and 40, with below-average level of educational attainment, who is likely to unemployed and from lower-class background (Mann, 1996, Goetting, 1987)

11 Method of killing  Women usually kill their partner with a knife or sharp instrument (78%)  Poisoning (6.2%)  Blunt instrument (2.6%)  Arson (2.2%)  Shooting (2.0%)

12 Weapon use in Murder  A firearm (handgun) is used in about two-thirds of all homicides (predominantly males)  Knives or other cutting instruments (predominantly females)  Personal weapons (hands, fists, and feet)  Blunt objects  Strangulation  Contrary to media images, poison and explosives are rarely used as murder weapons

13 Sense and Nonsense about crime (Walker, 1989)  Females and the elderly fear crime because they are the most heavily victimized of all groups  Victims of crime seldom know their offenders  The typical criminal offender is either unemployed or on welfare  The larger the city, the greater the likelihood its residents will be victims of crime.  Rates of victimization are higher for males than females and for younger people  In a large proportion of violent crimes, victims know their offenders  Knowledge of imprisoned criminals indicates that most criminals have jobs and very few are welfare dependent  The residents of smaller cities have higher rates for certain crimes: assault, personal larceny, and residential burglary

14 Homicide rates

15 The proportion of intimate homicides differs by type of area Intimate homicides (spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends) made up a larger percentage of murders in rural areas than in suburban or urban areas

16 Research as an attack on common sense  Hirshi and Stark (1969) in “Hellfire and Delinquency” have found a weak relationship b/w church attendance and nondeliquency  “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”  Study was attacked as false, stupid, or an illustration of inadequate methods  Had they found a strong relationship, they would have been accused of wasting time on the common sense knowledge

17 Research as the use of standardized systematic procedures in the search of knowledge  Pure research  for the sake of scientific knowledge  Construction of theories of models that allow for a better understanding of criminal behavior  No immediate direct relevance  Applied research  Practical goal in mind  Development of strategies intended to address the problem of crime

18 Purposes of Research  Exploration, Description, and Explanation (Earl Babbie, 1999)  Exploration provides beginning familiarity with a topic A. To satisfy the researcher’s curiosity B. To test the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study C. To develop the methods to be employed in any subsequent study

19 Description  Describe situation or events  U.S. Census, UCR  Computation of crime rates for different cities  Many qualitative studies aim primarily at description

20 Explanation  Explain things  Reporting why some cities have higher crime rates than others involve explanation

21 Quantitative and Qualitative  Hypothesis  Data are in the form of numbers from precise measurement  Theory is largely causal and deductive  Replication is possible  Analysis proceeds by using statistics, tables, or charts  No hypothesis  Data are in the form of words and images from documents, observations, and transcripts  Theory noncausal and inductive  Replication is rare  Analysis proceeds by extracting themes or generalizations (although numbers are possible)

22 Quantitative and Qualitative  Two logical systems  Deductive logic-(hypothesis, observations, empirical generalizations, theory)  Inductive logic (observations, empirical generalizations, theory)

23 A model of the Research Process THEORY HYPOTHESISFINDINGS DATA GATHERING RESEARCH DESIGN Deduction Operationalization Measurement Induction Analysis

24 Qualitative Research on Diversity  Educational system  Manners and everyday interactions  Friendship and social activity

25 Manners and everyday interactions  “Americans ask routinely ”How are you doing” but they are not interested in how I am doing”  “American smile” has a different meaning than smile in my culture. Here it is a polite greeting, nothing more…”  “I feel that people who smile at me are insincere because their smile appears suddenly and then disappears also suddenly”

26 Manners and everyday interactions  “Americans are obsessed with cleaning of their bodies, but they routinely put their feet on a chair or even small coffee table….this does not go along with hygiene”  “All my Americans friends do not take off their shoes at home. It seems to me that they can bring a lot of bacteria and viruses into their homes”

27 Friendship and social activity  “If I cook my real national food, no one from my department will try it…I need to Americanize my native food to make it attractive to my American class-mates”.  “It is to difficult for us to make American friends. Although, Americans are talkative and friendly, they are not opened to new relationships”  “Usually it takes much more time to establish a friendship with Americans than with people of my own culture”

28 Research Methods in Criminology  Experiments  Survey research  Field research  Content analysis  Existing data research  Comparative research  Evaluation research

29 Classic Experiment  At least two groups (control and experimental)  Randomly assign people to groups  Treat the experimental group by manipulation the independent variable  Observe the effect of the treatment on the dependent variable in the experimental group  Compare the dependent variable differences in the experimental and control groups  Control is crucial (to eliminate alternative explanations)

30 Experimental research  Researchers use deception to control what the subjects believe is occurring  Researchers intentionally mislead subjects through verbal or written instructions  It may involve the use of confederates or stooges –people who pretend to be subjects but who actually work for the researcher  For realistic deception, researchers may invent false treatment and dependent variables to keep subjects unaware of true ones (ethical issues)

31 Laud Humphrey’s “Tearoom Trade” (1970)  Study of impersonal sexual activity between male homosexuals  “Where the average guy go just to get a blow job” and “Who are they”  Observational research (how men approach each other and how they negotiate sex)  License plate numbers  Health care research

32 Laud Humphrey’s “Tearoom Trade” (1970)  Middle class  High educational level  Mostly married with children  Only one nonconventional thing about them-”tearoom” for anonymous sex  Great scandal (police could demand the names of the subjects)

33 The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment (1983)  Goal was to find the most effective strategy  Three groups: two with different treatment and control  Police officers volunteering to take whatever action was dictated by a random system: instruction in an envelope  Three different instructions: (1) arrest the suspect; (2) separate or remove the suspect from the scene for 8 hours; (3) advise and mediate

34 Experimental group I ArrestO1O1 X1X1 O2O2 19% Experimental group II Separate O1O1 X2X2 O2O2 33% Control group Mediate O1O1 O2O2 37% Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment 1.Victims have been interviewed every two weeks for the next 6 months, police records have been monitored as well 2.Most influential policy experiment 3.Arrest works more effectively in deterring domestic violence

35 Experiments in Criminology  Not always possible (ethical issues)  Long-term study  Quasi-experiments or natural experiments  Example: Effect of the decision to conduct crackdown on drinking and driving by a local police force (planned interventions)  Occasionally, natural events (catastrophe or tornadoes) might substitute planned interventions

36 Strengths Weaknesses  the only method that allows us to test the causal relationships between variables  Random assignment of subjects to experimental and control groups allows us to test our hypotheses  In real life, only rarely one variable actually a cause of another one  Difficult to test very complex hypotheses (difficult to manipulate and control more than one or two variables)  Ethical issues

37 Survey Research  Survey is a series of questions asked of a number of people and designed to measure the attitudes, beliefs, values, and personality traits  Based on sampling

38 Different research designs Cross Sectional Design Cohort Study Trend Study Panel Study * * * * +81 * Denotes comparison * Denotes same individuals

39 Observation  Observation is a research technique in which a researcher directly observe the behavior of individuals in their usual social environments  Observational research is often called field research

40 Different strategies  Complete Participant –researcher goes “undercover” and does not tell people being observed that he/she is doing research  Complete Observer –researcher views things from a distance or one-way mirror  Participant Observer – people know that they are observed

41 Strengths Weaknesses  Observation of behavior in natural context  Get information about those individuals who cannot fill out survey or respond orally (children)  Relatively small groups can be observed at once  Labor-intensive  Can be subjective  Hawthorne effect (participation in research can influence subjects)

42 Life history and case studies  In-depth analysis of one or a few cases  Qualitative research  Sutherland’s “The Professional Thief” (1937)  Shaw's “The Jack-Roller” (1930)

43 Unobtrusive Research  Unobtrusive methods are strategies for studying people’s behavior in ways that do not have an impact on the subjects  Homicide rate

44 Unobtrusive methods  Artifacts (archeologists use)  Use of existing statistics  Content analysis

45 Strengths Weaknesses  We do not need cooperation of people being studied  Research does not affect the behavior of people being studied  Study social things only after they have occurred and left traces  These traces must solid enough to last until can be observed  If we use secondary data we do not have control over the quality of these data

46 Triangulation  Every method has both strengths and weaknesses  Whenever possible researchers use more than one method to obtain data  Triangulation – methods are combined so that the strengths of one method overcome the weakness of another method

47 Example of Triangulation  Suppose you study the impact of neighborhood problems on youth development  Census information (unobtrusive) about poverty level in neighborhoods  Survey among youth and parents  Observations


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