Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice

Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice

Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice

Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice


The study of research methodologies can be daunting to many students due to complex terminology, mathematical formulas, and lack of practical examples. Now in its second edition, Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice offers a straightforward, easy-to-understand text that clarifies this complex subject matter, keeping perplexing research language and associated complexities to a minimum and ensuring that students get a practical grasp of this essential topic.

The authors discuss scientific inquiry, establishing a framework for thinking about and understanding the nature of research. They examine various types of research methods in the broad categories of quantitative, qualitative, and evaluation designs and provide coverage of analytical and experimental research designs. The book also examines survey methods, survey instruments, and questionnaires, including wording, organization, and pretesting. It describes the fundamental characteristics of the qualitative approach, setting the stage for an in-depth discussion of the participant observation and case study methods of research. Other topics include ethical standards of conduct, topic selection, literature review, and guidelines for writing a research report or grand proposal. The second edition features updated examples, reworked exercises, additional discussion points, and new research-in-action sections.

Defining a clear approach to the study of research, the book enables student experiencing their initial exposure to this subject to be fundamentally prepared to be proficient researchers in criminal justice and criminology.


Before writing the first edition of this text, we identified several key issues that greatly influenced what materials would be covered on the subject of research. First, we noted that most college students who are studying research for the first time do so during a single semester and usually while taking several other academic courses. In the second edition, we have updated the examples, reworked the exercises, added additional discussion points, and updated the research-in-action sections.

Trying to learn a vast amount of information about the subject of research in a 14- to 16-week time frame can be problematic, if not impossible. This is especially true if a very complex and technical textbook is adopted for the course. Second, experience in the classroom tells us that some students are intimidated by research textbooks. Complicated research terminology, mathematical formulas, and the lack of practical examples can cause the best of students to become perplexed and dread the study of research. Third, there are all types of research documents available to students in the 21st century. Thousands of research books, periodicals, and electronic print documents covering specific types of research, research designs, methodologies, analyses, and other subjects are currently available to enable students to become more educated in certain aspects or areas of research. Finally, and probably most important, we firmly believe that the art of learning research occurs in only one place— the field. It is not until the student actually conducts research under the watchful eyes and direction of a veteran researcher that real research knowledge is set in place.

Having considered each of these matters, we ambitiously have written an introduction to this criminal justice research textbook that is, foremost, easy to understand. In this book, you will not find . . .

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