1Crime, Criminal Justice,and Scientific Inquiry
OUTLINE Introduction: Why Study Research Methods? How We Know What We Know Personal Human Inquiry Errors in Personal H...
3• Criminal Justice professionals are bothconsumers and producers of research  • Understand how research is conducted,  ev...
4• Experiential Reality: the things we know fromdirect experience (touching a stove)• Agreement Reality: the things we con...
5• Empirical Research: the production ofknowledge based on experience or observation• Certain criteria to be met   • An as...
6• We use causal and probabilistic reasoning   • Future circumstances are caused or   conditioned by present ones   • The ...
7• Tradition: Things that “everyone knows”   • Ex: Driving on the left side of the road in the   US is dangerous• Authorit...
8•Inaccurate Observation – Use measurementdevices•Overgeneralization – Large sample ofobservation & Replication•Selective ...
•Illogical   Reasoning – Use systems of logicconsciously and explicitly•Ideology    and Politics – Guard against itsinflue...
10•Science is logico-empirical  •The Two Pillars of Science:     •Logic or Rationality     •Observation•Social Scientific ...
11•Social Science aims to find patterns of regularity insocial life•Norms and rules and observations in society createregu...
12•Social scientists study social patterns, not individualones•Aggregates are more often the subject of socialscience rese...
13•Theory is written in a variable language; peopleare the carriers of those variables•Social science involves the study o...
14•Theories describe the relationships that might belogically expected among variables•Causation: A persons attributes on ...
15•Explore the nature or frequency of a problem orpolicy•Might also collect data on some measure to serveas a baseline for...
16•Describe the scope of a problem or policyresponse•Make more accurate and formal observations•Often concerned with count...
17•Explain things – answers “why?”•Why have we seen a certain change in scope?•Why does a certain problem exist?  •Ex: Why...
18•Applied research is often used to evaluate theeffects of specific criminal justice programs•Two major types of applied ...
19•Ideographic Explanation - When we attempt toexplain a single situation exhaustively  •Fully understand the causes of wh...
20•Moves from the general to the specific•From a logically or theoretically-expected patternto observations that test the ...
•Inductive – moves from the specific to thegeneral•From a set of observations to the discovery of apattern among them•“why...
22•All observations are qualitative at the outset•Qualitative: Non-numerical  •Greater richness of meaning•Quantitative: N...
•Empirical research involves measurement andinterpretation•Measurement: Researchers measure aspectsof reality and then dra...
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Ch01 Crime, Criminal Justice, and Scientific Inquiry

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Maxfield, Michael G. & Babbie, Earl R. (2011). Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology, 6th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

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Ch01 Crime, Criminal Justice, and Scientific Inquiry

  1. 1. 1Crime, Criminal Justice,and Scientific Inquiry
  2. 2. OUTLINE Introduction: Why Study Research Methods? How We Know What We Know Personal Human Inquiry Errors in Personal Human Inquiry and the Corresponding Safeguards Foundations of Social Science Purposes of Research Differing Avenues for Inquiry Knowing Through Experience
  3. 3. 3• Criminal Justice professionals are bothconsumers and producers of research • Understand how research is conducted, evaluated, interpreted, and presented • Need to know how to competently apply scientific methods to Criminal Justice phenomena
  4. 4. 4• Experiential Reality: the things we know fromdirect experience (touching a stove)• Agreement Reality: the things we consider realbecause we have been told they are real, andeveryone agrees (sun sets in the West) Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment
  5. 5. 5• Empirical Research: the production ofknowledge based on experience or observation• Certain criteria to be met • An assertion must have both logical and empirical support• Epistemology: the science of knowing• Methodology: the science of finding outScience offers an approach to both experientialreality and agreement reality
  6. 6. 6• We use causal and probabilistic reasoning • Future circumstances are caused or conditioned by present ones • The patterns of cause and effect are probabilistic in nature• Science makes causality and probability moreexplicit• The goal is to understand why certain things arerelated, why patterns occur, to enable us to makemore accurate predictions
  7. 7. 7• Tradition: Things that “everyone knows” • Ex: Driving on the left side of the road in the US is dangerous• Authority: Trusting the judgment of someone withspecial expertise • Ex: You are more likely to believe a Judge regarding your driver’s license suspension than your parents• Both provide us with a starting point for our owninquiry
  8. 8. 8•Inaccurate Observation – Use measurementdevices•Overgeneralization – Large sample ofobservation & Replication•Selective Observation – Pre-specify the numberand types of observations
  9. 9. •Illogical Reasoning – Use systems of logicconsciously and explicitly•Ideology and Politics – Guard against itsinfluence•To Err is Human – Take precautions to avoiderror
  10. 10. 10•Science is logico-empirical •The Two Pillars of Science: •Logic or Rationality •Observation•Social Scientific Theory: Discovering what is, not whatshould be •Cannot settle debates on value or worth•Problematic with Evaluators •Ex: What Constitutes a good Parole Officer?
  11. 11. 11•Social Science aims to find patterns of regularity insocial life•Norms and rules and observations in society createregularity •Ex: A person is not eligible for a driver’s license until a certain age•Social regularities represent probabilistic patterns • A general pattern does not have to be reflected in 100% of the observable cases to be a pattern
  12. 12. 12•Social scientists study social patterns, not individualones•Aggregates are more often the subject of socialscience research•Distinguishes the activities of criminal justiceresearchers from the daily routines of most criminaljustice practitioners•Ex: Processing and classifying new inmates
  13. 13. 13•Theory is written in a variable language; peopleare the carriers of those variables•Social science involves the study of these twoconcepts: •Attributes - Characteristics or qualities that describe some object such as a person (Ex: “married”) •Variables - Logical groupings of attributes (Ex: occupations)
  14. 14. 14•Theories describe the relationships that might belogically expected among variables•Causation: A persons attributes on one variableare expected to cause or encourage a particularattribute on another variable•Independent Variable – “cause”, “influencer”•Dependent Variable – “effect”, “depends” •Ex: Type of defense attorney  prison or probation
  15. 15. 15•Explore the nature or frequency of a problem orpolicy•Might also collect data on some measure to serveas a baseline for later comparisons•Also appropriate when some type of policy changeis being considered•May be simple or complex
  16. 16. 16•Describe the scope of a problem or policyresponse•Make more accurate and formal observations•Often concerned with counting or documentingobservations; exploratory studies focus more ondeveloping a preliminary understanding •Ex: US Census, UCR•Following exploration, we want to know theproblem’s frequency/prevalence/degree/scope
  17. 17. 17•Explain things – answers “why?”•Why have we seen a certain change in scope?•Why does a certain problem exist? •Ex: Why do some people write computer viruses?, Why do some people assault their spouses?
  18. 18. 18•Applied research is often used to evaluate theeffects of specific criminal justice programs•Two major types of applied research: •Evaluation research – Comparing program goals to results •Policy analysis – Prospective – Anticipate future consequences of alternative actions
  19. 19. 19•Ideographic Explanation - When we attempt toexplain a single situation exhaustively •Fully understand the causes of what happened in this particular instance; comprehensively explain one case•Nomothetic Explanation – Seeks to explain a classof situations or events rather than a single one •Explains efficiently; settles for partial explanation
  20. 20. 20•Moves from the general to the specific•From a logically or theoretically-expected patternto observations that test the presence of the pattern•“why something happens”  “whether it actuallydoes”
  21. 21. •Inductive – moves from the specific to thegeneral•From a set of observations to the discovery of apattern among them•“why something happens”  “whether itactually does”
  22. 22. 22•All observations are qualitative at the outset•Qualitative: Non-numerical •Greater richness of meaning•Quantitative: Numerical •Carries a focusing of attention and specification of meaning•Both are useful and legitimate – choose based ontopic or combine aspects of both
  23. 23. •Empirical research involves measurement andinterpretation•Measurement: Researchers measure aspectsof reality and then draw conclusions about themeaning of what they have measured•Interpretation: Very much dependent on howobservations are structured

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