In this discussion, you will build off your previous group discussion from Module Two. Identify the research method most appropriate to analyzing the contemporary issue your small group identified earlier. Use the readings assigned in this module to support your work on this discussion.
Are issue was Narcotic usage and influence on crime rate. Below is some of the readings assigned in this module. 1-2 paragraphs.. Also attached what we came up with in module 2
There are two distinct types of research methods that this module will focus on: qualitative and quantitative. Each type of research method is better suited for certain types of studies. Researchers define the objectives for their research (research question) and then based on those objectives, select the type of research method most likely to help them achieve those objectives.
There are strengths and weaknesses associated with each research method. Please refer to page 13 in the textbook, as well as Table 3.1 below.
Description and primary goal
Is exploratory in nature
Provides insights into the setting/context of a problem
Generates ideas and hypotheses for later (quantitative) research
Used to find out the answer to a research question through numerical evidence
Allows generalizations of the resul ts from a sample study (most often a qualitative research sample) to an entire population
Generates reliable, generalizable data
Primary goal is to provide a detailed description of the research topic
Primary goal is to count and classify features in order to construct statistical models and figures ( such as tables) to explain what is observed
Usage within overall research plan
Most often used in the earlier phases of a research project
Most often used in the later phases the research project
Methods of data collection
The researcher is the primary data – gathering instrument Uses v arious data – gathering tools, which are well sui ted for producing great detail and a comprehensive understanding, such as in – depth, individual interviews, focus groups, observations, and archival research
Uses “rigid data gathering techniques” such as questionnaires and surveys to collect numerical data (count, frequency, etc.) Uses responses to pre – formulated questions
Types of data collected
Data is in the form of words ( e.g., from interviews), images ( e.g., from videos), or objects ( e.g., from artifacts)
Data is in the form of numbers and statistics
When to use
To gain an in – depth understanding of underlying reasons and motivations, and context
To explain why something happened
To develop a deep understanding of a given theme/pattern as the basis for decision making
To provide a broad base of insight in order to decide on a final course of action
To generate reliable and generalizable data to establish cause – and – effect relationships
Qualitative research methods take factors into consideration that cannot be quantified, such as concepts or ideas. In other words, qualitative research deals with descriptions and artifacts that can be observed but not quantitated. At its center, qualitative research methods focus on the meanings and experiences of people. This type of research design is an invaluable asset to the criminal justice professional because it provides in-depth information on how people comprehend, analyze, and react to their surrounding environment. This, in turn, provides insight into the underlying reasons and motivations of an action. Qualitative research has proven to be particularly useful for understanding why a crime was committed and the circumstances leading up to the decision to commit the crime. This is very important, because before strategies for preventing or reducing crime can be discovered, one must first understand why the crime is being committed in the first place. Qualitative research may also be appropriate if, for example, you were called upon to assess correction officers’ potential acceptance of a new policy.
Although there are clear advantages to using qualitative research methods in criminal justice, perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to using qualitative data is that it is considered “soft science.” The findings using qualitative research methods are often considered inconclusive due to the fact that the data is not numerically measured. As a result, the findings cannot be used to make generalizations to the larger population or concrete conclusions (Pathak, Jena, & Kalra, 2013). Another drawback to using the qualitative research method is the risk of bias on the part of the researcher. The researcher is the datagathering instrument and his/her own bias may color perceptions formed and conclusions reached.
Quantitative Research Method
In contrast to qualitative research, quantitative research methods deal with measurable, numerical data. This type of research yields conclusive findings that can be used to make generalizations about an issue to a larger population. When using quantitative methods, studies are focused, and data is calculated, on a specific issue. A great example of a scenario in which quantitative research methods would be appropriate is in resolving a speeding complaint (wherein the person ticketed for speeding argues the speed limit in that area is too low). The research would gather and assess the average speed being driven in a given area by all drivers. If the measurement of the number of speeders shows a high level of speeding, it would be a good indication that the complaint is legitimate and the posted speed is in need of an appropriate modification. Within the field of criminal justice, quantitative data is the more frequently used research method because it is useful for studying larger groups of people (as opposed to qualitative studies, which are better for small groups), and it allows generalizations to be made about an issue. Another reason for using the quantitative methods in criminal justice research is that it can be used to gather data used for identifying relationships or predicting future behavior.
Quantitative research methods are often referred to as “hard science” because they deliver concrete, factual findings. However, using quantitative research also has its drawbacks. First of all, the information gathered does not promote a deep, in-depth understanding of what is really going on or why the crime was committed As a result, quantitative data will leave the researcher with the amount of crime that was committed but no information as to why it was committed (Worrall, 2000). Perhaps the greatest drawback of using quantitative methods is that data can be manipulated and false pictures can be created very simply by increasing the n of your sample size. The power of the data is easily manipulated by increasing the sample size, and therefore statistical significance can be established. As a result, statistical information can create false images.
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