Presentation on theme: "Research Methods in Crime and Justice"— Presentation transcript:
1 Research Methods in Crime and Justice Chapter 2The Research Process
2 The Research ProcessThere are similarities between the research process and the manner in which police officers conduct investigations.Researchers and criminal investigators adhere to a methodological process.Research hypotheses and criminal allegations are functionally equivalent.Researchers and criminal investigators collect information to prove or disprove their hypotheses or allegations.Making Research Real 2.1 – The Closest Thing to Sherlock Holmes (p. 24)Pierce Brooks, a LAPD homicide detective, is credited with developing the methods we now use routinely to connect serial offenses.Use this story to demonstrate how research conducted by a criminal justice practitioner can have a profound effect on scholarly research and the practice of criminal justice.
3 Objectives of the Research Process The research process is a set of specific steps that, when done correctly, produce data.The objectives of the research process are to;Answer research questions,Resolve disagreements among researchers,Fill gaps within the body of knowledge, andTo produce opportunities for more research.
4 Characteristics of the Research Process The research process is;Generally linear because the steps are usually completed in a certain order,Internally cyclical because researchers often find it necessary to revisit previously completed steps, andExternally cyclical because research findings often produce additional questions for future researchers.
5 Steps in the Research Process Step 1: Ask a Research QuestionStep 2: Conduct a Literature ReviewStep 3: Refine the Research QuestionStep 4: Define the ConceptsStep 5: Create the MeasuresStep 6: Design a MethodStep 7: Collect the DataStep 8: Analyze the DataStep 9: Interpret the ResultsStep 10: Communicate the FindingsStep 11: Ask Another Question
6 The Research Process Step 1: Ask a Research Question Research questions should be actual questions that can be answered.Research questions should not be mere statements that make some claimResearch questions often begin with casual observations.From these observations, and the curiosity of the researcher, research questions emerge.
7 The Research Process Step 2: Conduct a Literature Review A literature review is a summary of what previous researchers have learned about a particular topic.It is a researcher’s ethical responsibility to locate, understand and communicate what previous researchers have learned about a particular topic.There are five commonly used sources of information. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages.
8 Sources of Information AdvantagesDisadvantagesBooksProvide good background information.Information may be obsoleteScholarly journalsProvide objective , reliable and more current information.Topic coverage is narrow and limited.Newspapers and magazinesProvide timely information.Information on the methodology and context may be missing.InternetProvides timely and accessible information.Information may not be objective.ExpertsProvide practical and timely information.Experts may be biased.
9 PyramidingPyramiding – an effective technique for locating research and determining when you have ‘enough’ information.Use the bibliographies of the research articles you find to locate additional sources.Commonly cited researchers or studies are indicators of quality or authoritative research.
10 The Research Process Step 3: Refine the Research Question The literature review process informs researchers and enables them to;Refine their research questions,Identify a theory related to their research questions, andPropose a hypothesis that predicts the answer to their research questions.Making Research Real 2.2 – Becoming a Cop (p. 31)This story describes how a researcher developed a theory and set of hypotheses relating to the policing subculture
11 The Research Process Step 4: Define the Concepts Conceptualization is a process by which researchers define the concepts in their hypotheses.It is a rather difficult process in the social sciences because the concepts we measure are more difficult to quantify.Conceptualization is important because it determines how researchers will actually measure concepts.Making Research Real 2.3 – Conceptualizing Juvenile Crime (P. 33)This story demonstrates how difficult it is to develop a conceptualization for ‘juvenile crime’In this case the conceptualization process involves defining both ‘juvenile’ and ‘crime’
12 The Research Process Step 5: Create the Measures Operationalization is the process by which researchers develop methods for measuring the concepts they defined during the conceptualization process.The operational measures must include all dimensions of the conceptual definition.Making Research Real 2.4 – How Religious Are You? (p. 33)This is a story about how a researcher operationalizes the concept – ‘religiousity’The researcher learns that this concept has numerous dimensions.
13 The Research Process Step 6: Design a Method The method is the process by which a researcher will gather the data necessary to answer the research question.There is no ‘one best way’. All research methods have advantages and disadvantages.The most important part of this step is to insure that the method will produce sufficient data in the appropriate form to answer the research question.Making Research Real 2.5 – When It All Fell Down For Professor Brown (p. 35)This is the story of Professor Brown who wanted to study the correlation between learning disabilities and delinquency.Unfortunately, because Professor Brown did not consider the data he would need to answer this question (i.e. data measured at the scale level) during this part of the research process, the data he got was not responsive to his research question.
14 The Research Process Step 7: Collect the Data The process by which researchers collect data depends on their research methodology (e.g. surveys, experiments, field observations, etc.)Because ‘things can go wrong’ during the data collection process researchers should develop contingency plans.Making Research Real 2.6 – Professor Come Get Me! (p. 36)This story tells about a research project that placed research assistants (graduate students) in potentially harmful situations.The story ends well because the researcher developed contingency plans to insure the research assistants were able to remove themselves safely from dangerous situations.
15 The Research Process Step 8: Analyze the Data A plan for data analysis should be developed early in the research process.A-priori assumptions establish what the data must reveal for a researcher to confirm the hypothesis.Researchers code, enter and clean data before running statistical tests or performing other types of analysis.Making Research Real 2.7 – School Fight Experiment (p. 37)This is a story about how two high school principals decided to test alternative programs of reducing violence in their schools.Prior to initiating the experiment the principals agreed on how to determine which program had the greatest effect.Making Research Real 2.8 – Perceptions of School Safety (p. 37)This story recounts how a school superintendent developed a series of focus groups to determine how parents perceive school safety.Prior to initiating the focus groups the superintendent developed an analysis plan.
16 The Research Process Step 9: Interpret the Results Research findings should be interpreted within the context they arise.Research findings are subject to the limitations of the available data.When findings are interpreted to mean more than they actually do, the researcher has overreached the data.
17 The Research Process Step 10: Communicate the Findings The actual format of the research report depends on where it is published.Scholarly articles follow a standard organizational format.Identifying the weaknesses and strengths of a research project is essential when communicating the findings.Visual images (e.g. charts and figures) are often more communicative than words.
18 Getting to the PointThe objectives of research are to answer research questions, to resolve disagreements among researchers, to fill gaps within the body of knowledge, and to produce more research questions.
19 Getting to the PointThe research process is characteristically linear in that the steps must be completed in a certain order.However, the process is also internally cyclical, because researchers often have to revisit previous steps, and externally cyclical, because good research leads to additional research questions.
20 Getting to the PointResearch questions should be actual questions that can be answered rather than statements that make some claim.
21 Getting to the PointThe literature review involves locating and understanding what previous researchers have learned about a topic.Researchers rely on several sources during the literature review process, each source has advantages and disadvantages.
22 Getting to the Point The literature review process helps researchers; refine their research question,identify a theory related to their research question, andpropose a hypothesis that predicts the answer to their research question.
23 Getting to the PointConceptualization is a process by which researchers define the concepts in their hypotheses.These definitions are important because they determine how researchers actually measure the concepts they use in their research.
24 Getting to the PointOperationalization is the process by which researchers decide on how they are going to measure their concepts as they have defined them.Often it is necessary to measure concepts along multiple dimensions.
25 Getting to the PointThe process by which researchers collect data depends on their research methodology.Things can and do go wrong in the process of data collection.Researchers should develop contingency plans in case problems arise.
26 Getting to the PointResearchers should pre-test their method to be sure that the research method(s) they use will produce the data necessary to actually answer their research question(s).
27 Getting to the PointA plan for data analysis is developed early in the research process.A-priori assumptions establish what the data must reveal for a researcher to confirm their hypothesis.Researchers code, enter and clean the data before running statistical tests or performing other types of data analysis.
28 Getting to the PointResearch findings should be interpreted in the context in which they arise and are subject to the limitations of the available data.When findings are interpreted to mean more than they actually do, the researcher has overreached their data.
29 Getting to the PointThe actual format of the research report depends on where it is published.Scholarly articles follow a standard organizational format .Identifying the weaknesses and limitations of the research is critical when presenting research findings in publications or at conferences.
30 Research Methods in Crime and Justice Chapter 2The Research Process