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Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology

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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors PART 1 GETTING STARTED Chapter 1 Why Study Research Methods? Introduction Why Are Research Methods Important? Typical Stages of Research Essential Role of Ethics in Research Researcher Case Studies and a Road Map Chapter Wrap-Up PART 2 SETTING THE STAGE FOR YOUR RESEARCH Chapter 2 Identifying a Topic, a Purpose, and a Research Question Introduction Why Identify a Topic, a Purpose, and a Research Question? How to Identify a Research Topic How to Identify the Purpose/ Goal of Research Gathering More Information and Refining the Topic How to Construct the Research Question Common Pitfalls When Developing Topics, Purposes, and Research Questions Ethical Considerations When Developing Your Topic, Purpose, and Research Question IRB Expert-Sharon Devine, JD, PhD Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 3 Conducting a Literature Review Introduction Why Conduct a Literature Review? A Road Map: How to Conduct a Literature Review About Sources Finding Primary or Original Sources Writing the Literature Review Common Pitfalls of Literature Reviews Ethics and the Literature Review Literature Review Expert-Sean McCandless, PhD Chapter Wrap-Up PART 3 DESIGNING YOUR RESEARCH Chapter 4 Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data Introduction Why Focus on Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data? What Are Concepts? What Is Conceptualization? What Is Operationalization? What Are Variables? What Are Measures? What Are Data? Overview of the Road From Concepts to Variables Common Pitfalls in Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data in Research Design Ethics Associated With Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data Expert- Brenidy Rice Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 5 Sampling Introduction Why Is Sampling Important? What Is Sampling? Populations and Samples Census or a Sample? Unit of Analysis Ecological Fallacy Individualist Fallacy Choosing a Sampling Approach How Large Should My Sample Be? Common Pitfalls Related to Sampling Ethics Associated With Sampling Sampling Expert-Sam Gallaher, PhD Chapter Wrap-Up PART 4 COLLECTING YOUR DATA Chapter 6 Research Using Qualitative Data Introduction Why Conduct Research Using Qualitative Data? What Is Research Using Qualitative Data? Considerations: Research Using Qualitative Data Approaches Used to Gather Qualitative Data Recording Qualitative Data Organizing and Analyzing Qualitative Data Common Pitfalls in Research Using Qualitative Data Ethics Associated With Research Using Qualitative Data Qualitative Data Research Expert-Carol Peeples Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 7 Survey Research Introduction Why Conduct Survey Research? What Are Surveys? General Steps in Survey Research Surveys Across Research Purposes How Are Surveys Distributed? Designing Your Own Survey Survey Administration Easy-to-Use Survey Software Common Pitfalls in Survey Research Ethical Considerations in Survey Research Surveying Expert-Bridget Kelly, MA Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 8 Experimental Research Introduction Why Conduct Experimental Research? What Is Experimental Research? True Experiments Validity Reliability Beyond True Experiments Pre-Experimental Research Quasi-Experimental Research Natural Experiments Common Pitfalls in Experimental Research Ethics and Experimental Research Experimental Research Expert-Chris Keating, PhD Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 9 Research Using Secondary Data Introduction Why Conduct Research Using Secondary Data? What Are Secondary Data? Frequently Used Secondary Data Disadvantages of Using Secondary Data Reporting Findings From Secondary Data Analysis Common Pitfalls in Secondary Data Analysis Ethics Associated With Secondary Data Analysis Secondary Data Expert- Jenna Truman, PhD Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 10 GIS and Crime Mapping Introduction Why Conduct Research Using GIS and Crime Mapping Techniques? What Is GIS? What Is Crime Mapping and Analysis? Crime Analysis in Academic Research Reporting Findings From GIS and Crime Mapping Studies Common Pitfalls in GIS and Crime Mapping Analysis Ethical Considerations in GIS and Crime Mapping Research GIS and Crime Mapping Expert- Henri Buccine-Schraeder, MA Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 11 Evaluation Research Introduction Why Use Evaluation Research? What Is Evaluation Research? Types of Evaluation Research Distinctive Purposes of Evaluation and Basic Research Characteristics of Effective Evaluations Common Pitfalls in Evaluation Research Ethics Associated With Evaluation Research Evaluation Research Expert- Michael Shively, PhD Chapter Wrap-Up PART 5 ANALYSIS, FINDINGS, AND WHERE TO GO FROM THERE Chapter 12 Analysis and Findings Introduction Why Analysis? How Should Data Be Analyzed? Analysis of Quantitative Data Qualitative Data Analysis Data Analysis Software Alternative Analytic Approaches Reporting Findings From Your Research Common Pitfalls in Data Analysis and Developing Findings Ethics Associated With Analyzing Your Data and Developing Your Findings Analysis and Findings Expert- Sue Burton Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 13 Making Your Research Relevant Introduction Why Conduct Policy-Relevant Research? What Is Policy-Relevant Research? What Is Policy? Who Are Policy Makers? The Policy Process Challenges of Getting Research to Policy Makers Maximizing Chances of Producing Policy-Relevant Research Common Pitfalls in Producing Policy-Relevant Research Ethics and Conducting Policy Relevant Research Policy Expert-Katie TePas Chapter Wrap-Up Chapter 14 Research Methods as a Career Introduction Why Research Methods as a Career? Where Do I Get Started? Career Search Documents Public- Versus Private-Sector Jobs Where to Look for a Career Interviewing Well Pitfalls and Career Searches Ethics and Career Searches Research Methods as a Career Expert-Nora Scanlon, MA Chapter Wrap-Up Appendix Glossary References Index

About the Author

Callie Marie Rennison is the Director of Equity, and Title IX Coordinator at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. In addition, she is a full professor, and former Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs in the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. She earned a PhD in 1997 in political science from the University of Houston, University Park. Her areas of research interest include investigating the nature, extent, and consequences of violent victimization, with an emphasis on research methodology, quantitative analysis, and measurement. Much of this research focuses on violence against women, violence against minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics, crime data, and victim interaction with the criminal justice system. Callie recently served on a National Academies committee examining domestic sex trafficking of minors in the United States. Her research has appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Violence and Victims, and Violence Against Women. Callie has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses, including statistics, research methods, murder in America, crime and the media, and introduction to criminal justice. Callie was awarded the School of Public Affairs Research and Creative Activities Award in 2013, the Teaching Award in 2011, and the Service Award in 2015. In 2016, she was awarded the American Society of Criminology's Bonnie S. Fisher Victimology Career Award to recognize significant contributions in the area of Victimology over her lifetime. Timothy C. Hart is a senior lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. Tim earned his PhD in criminology and criminal justice from the University of South Florida. In 1997, he was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship with the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the US Department of Justice. He has also served as a program analyst for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and as a research analyst for the Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff's Office. Tim is also the former Statistical Analysis Centre (SAC) director for the state of Nevada. His areas of interest include survey research, applied statistics, geographic information systems (GIS), and victimization. His scholarship appears in various academic journals, including the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Criminal Justice and Behavior, and the British Journal of Criminology. He has also been awarded numerous research grants, including studies funded by the Queensland Police Service, Australian Institute of Criminology, the National Institute of Justice, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.


"This is a great text. It is comprehensive and easy to understand. The illustrations will enable students to learn and remember the information. This is the first research methods text I have read that is actually fun to read."

-- Tina L. Freiburger
"An excellent and well-organized introduction for students to the techniques, strategies, designs, and skills necessary to conduct criminal justice and criminological research for shaping public policy. Students will benefit immensely from the concepts and examples referenced throughout the book by being able to understand how research methods are applied to public safety initiatives. Students will obtain a fresh perspective on the value of the scientific method and how it's being applied to investigate public safety phenomena. The chapters I reviewed for the Rennison textbook do an amazing and parsimonious job of explaining to both novices and experts that the narrative of crime research is a fundamental component in understanding how crime research has developed historically and how continues to evolve with the growth of technology, software, statistical techniques, big data, and cloud computing power." -- Sriram Chintakrindi
"This text is easy to read and understand. The examples given provide all students with the understanding of how these concepts touch their lives each day." -- Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer

"A solid book that covers all the key issues that would need to be covered in any introductory research methods course...this book uses a unique approach that will really engage students in a way most other books fail to do"

-- Kevin M. Beaver

"This book makes more use of contemporary research than other criminal justice research methods texts..."

-- Eileen Ahlin

"...This is an informative, reader-friendly, and practice-oriented text designed for lower-level undergraduate students who are new to research methodology. It is loaded with contemporary pedagogies to meet the needs of learners of various backgrounds."

-- Qiang Xu

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