The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice Ch 3

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Ch 3 Conceptualization and Measurement

In chapter 3 of The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice there are four areas of focus. They are concepts, measurement operations, evaluation of measures, and levels of measurement. We are going to address conceptualization by using substance abuse and related ideas as examples. For measurement, let us review first how measures of substance abuse have been created, utilizing procedures as available data, questions, observations, and less direct and prominent measures. We will also explain how to assess the validity and reliability of these measures. Finally, the level of measurement reflected in unrelated measures is our last topic. Hopefully, at the end of this you will have a fine comprehension of measurement. A concept is a mental image tat summarizes a set of similar observations, feelings, or ideas. "Concepts such as substance-free housing require an explicit definition before they are used in research because we cannot be certain that all readers will share the same definition. It is even more important to define concepts such as poverty or social control or strain, we cannot be certain that others know exactly what we mean." The meaning of concepts is often disputed among experts and illuminating the meaning of such concepts does not simply benefit those unfamiliar with them. In order to do ample work of conceptualization, we need more than just a definition, for our concepts. We will probably have to distinguish inner aspects of the concept. Conceptualization is defined as "The process of specifying what we mean by a term. In deductive research, conceptualization helps to translate portions of an abstract theory into testable hypotheses involving specific variables. In inductive research, conceptualization is an important part of the process used to make sense of related observations (pp.63-64)." Obviously, without conceptualization our research in criminology would be completely different and...
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