Research Methods Assignment 1: Intro to Social Research
- What is the purpose of the study? How do you know? (e.g., exploration, description, explanatory, and/or applied)
The purpose of this study is to explore a research problem. Exploration research is applied when a researcher would like to investigate a specific problem (Michael &Earl, 2015). In the article, the researcher explores whether the “scared straight” program is effective in deterring criminal activity among delinquents. According to Michael and Earl (2015), exploratory research is appropriate in cases where policy change is in consideration. Consequently, Washington Institute for Public Policy (2006) avers that “scared straight” as a program for young people within the system of juvenile offenders, has in the past been considered as a policy to reduce the need for beds in prison cells and to lower rates of crime among the youth. Moreover, this current article concludes by recommending the application of the findings of crime based research in policy-making processes.
- What is the model of explanation? How do you know? (e.g., idiographic or nomothetic)
The study applies the idiographic type of explanation. Such an explanation seeks to elucidate a unique and separate situation or phenomenon (Michael &Earl, 2015). The research focuses on one specific crime eradication program, which is the “scared straight.” Michael and Earl (2015) indicate that idiographic explanations focus on a particular case at hand, even though sections of the explanation might be applicable to other situations. Though the study was exploring on “scared straight” program, the researcher explored similar programs that are meant to deter criminal activities among juveniles. According to Ronnet and Russel (2011), idiographic explanations contain an account of initial conditions, which then relate to several events at various timings leading to a conclusion. The authors state that the first narrative is usually the main element in any idiographic explanation. For instance, in the article, the first narrative state that “scared straight” programs are not effective and they are harmful to delinquents. Therefore, such a narrative is the basis of the idiographic explanation.
- What type of reasoning is used? How do you know? (e.g., inductive or deductive)
The study applied an inductive mode of reasoning. Inductive reasoning shifts from a specific to general understanding. The researcher moves from a particular observation of discovering patterns that show the extent of order among the phenomena (Michael &Earl, 2015). The inductive approach shifts from specific to general because the investigator generalizes observations of specific events to more general circumstances. According to this reasoning, after choosing some observations correctly, the researcher can generalize the findings to other groups (Hasan & Mahdi, 2016). For instance, this article shows that the study started from a suggestion made by Lilienfield (2010), that “scared straight” interventions are not effective and that they are harmful to the targeted delinquents. Then, the researcher conducts an exploration to explain this observation, meaning that he/she starts from a specific situation towards a general conclusion.
Hasan, Z., & Mahdi, K. (2016). The role of deductive and inductive reasoning in accounting research and standard setting. Asian Journal of Finance & Accounting, 8 (1), 23-37.
Lilienfeld, S., Lynn, S., Ruscio, J., & Beyerstein, B. (2010). 50 great myths of popular psychology: shattering widespread misconceptions about human behavior. Malden, MA: Wiley- Blackwell.
Michael, G., & Earl, R. (2015). Research Methods for Criminal Justice & Criminology 8th Edition. ISBN-13: 978-1-337-09182-4.
Ronet, B., & Russel, K. (2011). The practice of research in criminology and criminal justice, 4 ed. U.S.A, Sage Publications.
Washington State Institute for Public Policy. (2006). Evidence-based public policy options to reduce future prison construction, criminal justice costs, and crime rates. Retrieved from http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/ReportFile/952/Wsipp_Evidence-Based-Public-Policy-Options-to-Reduce-Future-Prison-Construction-Criminal-Justice-Costs-and-Crime-Rates_Full-Report.pdf