Exam review 051313


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Exam review 051313

  1. 1. MONDAY 13TH MAY 2013Research MethodsFinals Exam Review
  2. 2. The Exam Is worth 15% of your grade Will include:- 40 multiple choice questions- 3 short answer questions
  3. 3. How to ask Questions Open-ended Respondent is asked to provide his or her own answer Produces narrative data Closed-ended Respondent selects an answer from a list Choices should be exhaustive and mutually exclusive Produces data that can be readily processed
  4. 4. Guidelines for Asking Questions Make items clear – avoid ambiguous questions; donot ask “double-barreled” questions Short items are best – respondents like to read andanswer a question quickly Avoid negative items – leads to misinterpretation Avoid biased items and terms – do not ask questionsthat encourage a certain answer Avoid terms that have bad associations
  5. 5. Questionnaire Construction General questionnaire format – critical, must be laidout properly Matrix questions – same set of answer categoriesused by multiple questions Contingency questions – relevant only to somerespondents – answered only based on their previousresponse
  6. 6. Ordering Questions Ordering may affect the answers given Estimate the effect of question order Perhaps devise more than one version Depending on whether it is in-person, or via mail,internet etc. Begin with most interesting questions End with less interesting, demographic data
  7. 7. Self-Administered Questionnaires Can be home-delivered Researcher delivers questionnaire to home of respondent,explains the study, and then comes back later Mailed (sent and returned) survey is most common Researchers must reduce the trouble it takes to return aquestionnaire
  8. 8. Warning Mailings and Cover Letters Used to increase response rates Warning mailings – “address correction requested”card sent out to determine incorrect addresses and to“warn” residents to expect questionnaire in mail Cover letters – detail why survey is being conducted,why respondent was selected, why is it important tocomplete questionnaire Follow-ups to mail surveys increase response rates
  9. 9. Survey Research Surveys are best suited for studies that haveindividuals as their units of analysis Strengths: Surveys tend to be high on reliability and generalizability, butvalidity can often be a weak point Surveys useful in describing characteristics of large population
  10. 10. Survey Research Weaknesses Standardized questionnaire items often represent theleast common denominator in assessing people‟sattitudes, orientations, circumstances, and experiences Surveys often appear superficial in their coverage ofcomplex topics Difficult populations are hard to contact throughcustomary sampling methods Generally weaker on validity and stronger on reliability Subject to recall error Social desirability may be a problem
  11. 11. What is Field Research? Field research is usually associated with qualitativedata It encompasses two different methods of obtainingdata: Direct observation Asking questions Often no precisely defined hypotheses to be tested Used to make sense out of an ongoing process Questions related to field research tend to be „How?‟and „Why?‟
  12. 12. Characteristics of Qualitative Research Context is critical In-depth and detailed Researcher immerses self in data Bias is recognized Inductive rather than deductive (bottom up) Data are interpreted rather than analyzed
  13. 13. Roles of the Observer in Field Research Full participant (e.g., a participant in ademonstration against stop and frisk) Participant as observer (e.g., Perrone‟s research ondrug use in New York dance clubs) Observer as participant (e.g., observational studies ofthe police) Complete observer (e.g., research in a courtroomsetting, or setting that is open to the public)
  14. 14. Recording Observations Note-taking, tape recording when interviewing andwhen making observations (dictation device) Videotaping or photographs can make records of“before” and “after” some physical design change Field notes – observations are recorded as writtennotes, often in a field journal; first take sketchy notesand then rewrite your notes in detail Structured observations – observers mark closed-ended forms, which produce numeric measures
  15. 15. Strengths and Weaknesses of Field ResearchStrengths: Provides great depth of understanding Flexibility (no need to prepare much in advance) More appropriate to measure behavior than surveys High on validityWeaknesses: Low on reliability – often very personal Generalizability – personal nature may producefindings that may not be replicated by another Precise probability samples can‟t normally be drawn
  16. 16. Agency Records Published Statistics – government organizationsroutinely collect and publish compilations of data(e.g., NCVS, Census Bureau, BJS; often available inlibraries and online Nonpublic Agency Records – agencies produce datanot routinely released (e.g., police departments,courthouses, correctional facilities) New Data Collected by Agency Staff – collected forspecific research purposes; less costly than collectingthe data yourself and more control Agency records are often used for descriptive studies
  17. 17. Problems with Reliability and Validity Virtually all criminal justice record keeping is a socialprocess – “social production of data” Records reflect decisions made by CJ personnel as well as actualbehavior by juveniles and adults Discretion factors in keeping records Criminal justice organizations are often more interested inkeeping track of individual cases than in examiningpatterns Potential for clerical errors due to volume of data Users of data series collected over time must be especiallycareful Imperative that you understand how the data were collected
  18. 18. Secondary Data Analysis Sources – websites (BJS, NCVS, ICPSR, NACJD),libraries Advantages Cheaper Faster Benefit from work of skilled researchers Disadvantages Data may not be appropriate to your research question Not useful for evaluation studies (which are designed to answerspecific questions about specific programs) Threats to validity
  19. 19. Content Analysis Systematic study of messages – can be applied tovirtually any form of communication Decide on operational definitions of key variables Decide what to watch, read, listen to & time frame ofdocuments Analyze collected data Well-suited to answer “Who says what, to whom,why, how, and with what effect?”
  20. 20. Content Analysis Systematic study of messages – can be applied tovirtually any form of communication Decide on operational definitions of key variables Decide what to watch, read, listen to & time frame ofdocuments Analyze collected data Well-suited to answer “Who says what, to whom,why, how, and with what effect?” Examines content and meaning
  21. 21. Content Analysis Essentially a coding operation Communications need to be coded according to someconceptual framework Choice between depth & specificity of understanding: Manifest content – visible, surface content – similar tousing closed-ended survey questions Latent content – underlying meaning
  22. 22. Evaluation Research It is gaining in popularity among researchers thatreally want to make a difference Federal requirements for program evaluations oftenaccompany the implementation of new programs Funding is available for program evaluations Can utilize a number of different research designs Links the intended actions and goals of criminaljustice policy to empirical evidence that supportsthem having the desired effects
  23. 23. Conditions Requisite for Randomized Experiments Staff must accept random assignment and agree tominimize exceptions to randomization Case flow must produce enough subjects inexperimental and control groups for statistical tests Experimental interventions must be consistentlyapplied to experimental and withheld from controlgroup Need equivalence prior to intervention, and ability todetect differences in outcome measures afterintervention
  24. 24. The Policy Process Begins with a demand for a new course of action oropposition to an existing policy Policy makers consider their ultimate goals andmeans of achieving those goals Resources are allocated (considerations include;personnel, equipment, supplies etc.) What are the policy outputs (i.e. what is actuallyproduced?) What is the impact of the policy output?
  25. 25. Interpreting Data Empirical research is a logical rather than amathematical operation Statistics – branch of math appropriate to research Descriptive statistics – used to summarize anddescribe data in manageable forms Inferential statistics – assist in forming conclusionsfrom our observations; usually about a populationbased on studying a sample
  26. 26. Types of Analysis Univariate analysis – describing single variables (e.g.# of males; average age; place of birth etc.) Bivariate analysis – describes the associations thatconnect one variable with another Multivariate analysis – examines relationshipsamong three or more variables
  27. 27. Data Analysis Central tendency - mean, median, mode Means are susceptible to extreme values. A few very large, or afew very small numbers can change the mean dramatically Because of this, it is important to examine measures ofdispersion Simplest measure of dispersion is the range – the distancefrom the highest to the lowest value (e.g. 13 to 19 years) Standard deviation – the average amount of variability in a setof scores (i.e. the average amount each individual observationvaries from the mean) The larger the standard deviation, the larger the averagedistance each data point is from the mean of the distribution
  28. 28. Rates Fundamental descriptive statistics in criminal justiceresearch Used to standardize some measure for comparative purposesTotal Murders in Four States, 2004Total Murders Total PopulationCalifornia 2,407 35,894,000Florida 946 17,397,000Louisiana 574 4,516,000Pennsylvania 650 12,406,000
  29. 29. Short Answer Questions1. Compare and contrast the strengths andweaknesses of field research and surveyresearch. Give specific attention to the topics ofvalidity, reliability and generalizability2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages ofsecondary data and give an example of each3. Identify the difference between the various rolesof the observer in field research. Give anexample of a research scenario that would beappropriate for each role
  30. 30. Final Class Final Exam Article critiques due