December 22, 2014
CJA/ 334, Research Methods in Criminal Justice
Within the criminal justice system one of the most important aspects of criminal justice research is the terminology that is utilized. If one plans to pursue a career in the criminal justice field it is important that they know and understand and be able to articulate the terminology used within the criminal justice system. The understanding of the terminology is a demanding necessity for the simple fact that just like in any other profession there is a standard in which individuals in that profession conduct themselves. Like in all professions, an individual becomes familiar with the terminology that is more than likely exclusive to that profession. People have an endless ability to retain information that is obtained from research. The only obstacle to knowledge that they seek is to understand the terminology, language or circumstance in which information is being provided. In order to effectively conduct criminal justice research you have to understand the criteria of the data you are collecting, and the terms associated with the information. Things that need to be learned in order to communicate effectively in the criminal justice system would be things such as: independent variable, dependent variable, quantitative research, qualitative research, applied research, methodology verification, theory and replication to name a few.
These terms change many factors when conducting research, for example, independent variables and dependent variables. In an experiment, the independent variable is the variable that is varied or manipulated by the researcher, and the dependent variable is the response that is measured. An independent variable is the presumed cause, whereas the dependent variable is the presumed effect. Some hypothetical examples of such variables are, poverty rates are higher among ethnic households than white households.
The dependent variable is the poverty rate and the independent variable is the ethnicity of those involved. Another hypothetical situation is that ethnic juveniles are more likely to join a gang than white juveniles. The independent variable is the behavior (joining a gang) and the independent variable is the ethnicity
of those joining. The development of knowledge is important for criminology and criminal justice. Two predominant types of methods are available for criminologists’ to use quantitative and qualitative methods. Unlike quantitative research methods, qualitative approaches are designed to capture life as participants experience it, rather than in categories predetermined by the researcher. Qualitative research, one of the two primary approaches to the conduct of social science research, is a superior means for conducting meaningful research in criminology and criminal justice. The numerous advantages of qualitative methods provide a depth of understanding of crime, criminals and justice system operations and processing that far exceeds that offered by detached, statistical analyses. Because of the differences in the data, how data is collected and analyzed, and what the data and analyses are able to tell us about our subjects of study, the knowledge gained through qualitative investigations is more informative, richer and offers enhanced understandings compared to that which can be obtained via quantitative research. The superiority of qualitative research arises from the core differences in what qualitative and quantitative research are, and what they are able to contribute to bodies of knowledge. At the core, qualitative research focuses on the meanings, traits and defining characteristics of events, people, interactions, settings, cultures and experience. As one leading proponent of qualitative methods has explained, “Quality refers to the what, how, when, and where of a thing – its...
Criminology and Criminal Justice Research: Methods - Qualitative Research Methods - Participant, Researcher, Life, and Interviewing - JRank Articles http://law.jrank.org/pages/925/Criminology-Criminal-Justice-Research-Methods-Qualitative-research-methods.html#ixzz3MhkDdF6l
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