Academic journal article Journal of Correctional Education

Reporting Guidelines for Intervention and Evaluation Research Conducted in Juvenile and Adult Corrections: A Guide for Better Quality and Uniform Standardization

Academic journal article Journal of Correctional Education

Reporting Guidelines for Intervention and Evaluation Research Conducted in Juvenile and Adult Corrections: A Guide for Better Quality and Uniform Standardization

Article excerpt

Purpose and Rationale

The intent of this research reporting guide is to provide the field of adult and juvenile justice corrections evaluators and researchers with a template of how to write their research studies for publication in the criminal justice field, in an effort to produce similar quality research, social science researchers are trying to adopt many of the research practices used in medicine. At the same time, social scientists realize there is a need to adapt these practices to better fit the needs in their respective fields. The awareness of the unique research needs in the social sciences has led to researchers grappling with what it means to deem a practice as evidence based, or at least evidence informed. This progression toward a more informed field has been championed by researchers in social work, education, psychology, and corrections (Cook, Tankersley, Cook & Landrum, 2008). Organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Institute for Education Sciences, the National Alliance on Mental Health, and the American Correctional Association have all made considerable contributions to these advancements. These and others are making substantial strides in pinpointing the important questions, researching the questions and hypotheses, and presenting the information in a consistent and more standardized means.

Seeking out the answers to these questions can be a daunting task. This is particularly true for practitioners. There are two methods for finding such answers. These are conducting research to answer the questions and searching for research-based resources that have already answered the questions. Unfortunately, most practitioners do not have the time in their day-to-day settings or inclination to conduct research. Being aware of the importance of research and of what good research looks like can be of substantial benefit to practitioners. Knowing that research can help to answer some of these tough practice questions is the first step. As well, quality research can make a difference in the daily lives of incarcerated individuals as a whole. Realizing the importance of research can encourage practitioners to work with researchers who want to find answers to questions. A cooperative relationship between researchers and practitioners can benefit everybody who is involved (Holosko, 2006).

The purpose of this research guide is to detail what a 1rigorous" empirical evaluation or quality intervention report should look like. That is, what are all the aspects of a report needed to (a) help extend the current literature base, (b) promote replicability of the methods by other practitioners and researchers, and (c) create a more interpretable body of literature? Each aspect of a report is described, a glossary of terms (see Appendix A) is provided, a checklist to guide report writing (see Appendix B) is given, and the top 10 journals in criminology and penology are listed (see Appendix Q. In addition, readers might want to refer to the following studies as examples of well-written and well-designed correctional education studies while reading this information: Batchelder and Rachal (2000); Langenbach, North, Aagaard, and Chown (1990); Lattimore, Witt, and Baker (1990); and Lichtenberger and Ogle (2006).

Elements of a Well-Written Intervention/Evaluation Study Abstract

It has been said that the single-most important paragraph written in a research study is the abstract. It is used for abstracting, indexing, and computerized searches, its elements include accuracy and conciseness, and it minimally addresses the study purpose, method, and findings. The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychology Association, 2010) recommends not exceeding 150 to 250 words, and it should be written in the present (not past) tense.

Introduction

The introduction is the first part of a publishable research study and sets the stage for the ensuing Method and Result sections. …

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