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Research Methods in Criminal Justice

Assignment 1

From the perspective of research methodology, a newspaper article’s title “Raising a child with both parents will do wonders for your child’s future career success” is wrong because it does not state the topic of the research, but it is a definite conclusion of the research that can be subjective and too general. Every research always has a hypothesis that can be proved or changed. It is wrong for a reporter to state that “Raising a child with both parents will do wonders for your child’s future career success” because he is already convinced that raising children with both parents is a way to success. The correct statement should suggest that there is a relation between being raised by both parents and a child’s career success.

To collect data, the researcher used a questionnaire method. Without a doubt, this method has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of a questionnaire method are that one can find a large number of respondents and questions can be highly structured and easily coded. It is easy to run this statistical analysis. Moreover, questionnaires can be conducted online, and that is inexpensive. Besides, questions are adaptable and easily reproducible (Blaxter, 1998).

The disadvantages of a questionnaire are that questions can be misunderstood, and this will affect the research findings. Moreover, some questions demand the necessary context that can not be provided by a researcher online. Respondents can answer the questions using socially desirable terms, and this can lead to an aberration in the research findings. In this research example, it is difficult to see whether the respondents provided socially-acceptable answers. Besides, the researcher does not show the approximate error figures.

The external validity of this research can also be criticized as conclusions of the researcher can be local and obsolete especially in some periods and because of the rise of single-parent families. One can predict that the findings of this research are not long-lasting. Also, the randomness of the sample will also provoke debates about whether respondents are from one geographical area. Causal links of this research concern not only the criminal character of this study but also a social one. The bias of self-reporting is evident as a researcher does not reveal error figures in the respondents` answers. Besides, the respondents receive money for their participation that is why they can be not sincere when answering the questions (Maxfield, 2012).

When identifying who should be included in the study, the researcher should have established criteria. First of all, he should select participants from different geographical locations. Moreover, the number of participants raised by one parent and the number of participants raised by both parents should be equal. It is important to select participants with different social status, conditions of life and education. Besides, valid results depend on time provided to participants to answer the questions.

The researcher would be able to conduct this study because it is evident that he is knowledgeable about the research structure. However, he should use a hypothetical longitudinal cohort study that would help to avoid errors in results. First of all, the researcher should define the population taking into consideration the criteria described above. Moreover, there should be several hypotheses to be tested.

The main hypothesis is “Does being raised by two parents lead to career success?” Subhypotheses are “The impact of raising on child’s future career success”, “The main factors that define a child’s future career success”. Secondly, the researcher should conduct research until all the objectives are fulfilled. Moreover, it should take the researcher a long time to complete the study.

As an informed research student, in regard to the researcher’s study on parental status while growing up and later career success I can conclude that there are cases when parents and a way of growing up define career success. However, one can not generalize this statement as there are other factors that are crucial for later career success: character, education, ambitions, life conditions, lifestyle, and peer influence.

To my mind, the researcher should include these factors in his/her case study in order to make his/her research more objective and valid. Later career success depends on personal achievements, self-education, and self-development, and parental status and growing up are additional indirect attributes.

Assignment 2

The researcher is testing the hypothesis whether violent and aggressive video games have a negative influence on children’s behavior making them cruel and furious and contributing to criminal behavior.

The independent variables of this study are children playing violent and aggressive video games and children playing non-violent and non-aggressive video games. The dependent variables are the causes of violence and children`s behavior observed by their parents. The independent variables of children playing violent and aggressive video games and children playing non-violent and non-aggressive video games are believed to explain the dependent variables of the study (Blaxter, 1998).

The researcher randomly assigned children to one of two groups in order to make his research more objective and truthful. Thus, the results of the research were obtained.

The data for the study is derived from interviews with children, their parents, and their teachers. However, this reliance on interviews has its limitations. First of all, interviews can make the interpretation of results difficult.

The main limitation of the interviews is that it is difficult to collect and analyze the results. Moreover, it is necessary to use additional research techniques. Interviews take time. Questions can cause confusion that is why respondents can fail to provide the proper answers.

When running this study the interviewer encounters such practical issues as unclearness and ambiguity of questions, lack of context necessary for a clear understanding of questions. Practical issues are also related to children`s age as it is difficult to make them responsible, serious and concentrated on the interview.

Ethical issues always arise when humans are involved in experiments. The researcher needs to address such ethical issues as respect and tolerance in regard to children and their behavior and creating trustworthy and favorable environment that will make children feel in safety and despite the results will not change their parent’s and teachers’ attitudes to them.

Internal validity issues that this study will encounter are connected with the respondents` maturity, their responsibility, their interest to experiment, and their seriousness and sincerity. External validity issues that this study will encounter are related to the interaction between the respondents, their protesting against the experiment, multiple treatments, and interventions. It is evident that it is extremely difficult to achieve validity when 12 years old children are concerned; that is why parents’ and teachers’ participation is a must.

After the experiment, the researcher concludes that boys who play violent video games behave more violently than those who play non-violent video games. These results can be extended to 12-year-old girls because it is evident even without experiment that boys like violent and aggressive video games with fighting, military actions and killing. As to girls, they like video games with pets, family life, and fashion. However, it is not necessary to generalize this statement as there are girls who like to fight and play cruel video games. Stereotyping can lead to wrong results of the research.

The study concludes that boys who play violent video games behave more violently than those who play non-violent video games. These conclusions can be used to predict whether playing violent video games leads to criminal behavior in the long run and whether it is related to children’s behavior, their attitudes to other people, their character, feelings, emotions, hobbies, and interests. It is evident that these are parents and teachers who will see the changes in children after playing violent and aggressive video games.

This study only investigates the short-term effects of playing video games on behavior (i.e., the post-experiment interviews are conducted one month after the subjects have completed playing games). The researcher did not attempt to investigate the impacts of game-playing over the long term because he didn’t have time to conduct a long-term study. Another reason is related to the moral aspect of this research, which states that playing games for a long time can lead to the aggressive behavior of children and have a harmful impact on their life.

One can state that playing violent and aggressive video games encourages long-term violent behavior according to the theory of planned behavior. According to this theory, video game players do not understand the consequences of playing; they are addicted to playing and are under the illusion that game playing benefits them. Video game players are more likely to engage in reckless and thrill-seeking behavior. This behavior not only puts their lives in danger but also endangers those around them.

Assignment 3

The threat of incarceration has not been an effective deterrent to committing a crime as after imprisonment young male perpetrators of street crime can repeat their crimes and be imprisoned again. To my mind, correctional works are more efficient than imprisonment. As to raising the age of criminal responsibility, it is also inefficient. To my mind, this may even lead to the complete degradation of young people. Criminal responsibility can become not only the way of punishment for illegal actions but also the start of the degradation of moral and ethical values. I am convinced that criminal responsibility should be applied to children when they are intellectually, emotionally and mentally mature.

In my study, I will test such hypotheses as “Incarceration is not an effective deterrent to committing a crime”, “Correctional work as the way of education of young perpetrators of the street crime” and “Raising of the age of criminal responsibility may lead to complete degradation of young people”. To my mind, all these statements are interrelated, and proving that they are true is the way to finding a solution to the problem of crime development.

I will carry out my study with the help of interviewing Afro-American males aged 12-16 as they are the most potential perpetrators of street crime. I will contact teachers and parents who deal with teenagers involved in crimes and offenses in order to help them. I will conduct my interviews at schools, and teachers are ready to help me. The independent variables of this study will be a history of parents, lifestyle, education achievements, religious background, and age.

In order to achieve the objectives of this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Such interviews have some fixed questions, but there are also not fixed questions. This research method was chosen because it can provide the necessary information about respondents. The primary data are based on the interviews. As to data analysis, it consists of such processes as describing, examining, comparing, categorizing, simplifying, abstracting, transforming and concluding. There have been three main stages of the research, namely exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. These three stages have been used in the theoretical part of the research paper, as well as in the practical one (Blaxter, 1998).

The interview was structured and carefully planned with definite objectives. Each participant was asked the same questions. The questions were built in such a way as to show the participants’ attitude to the problem. During the interview, an informal and friendly atmosphere was created in order to make all participants feel relaxed and confident.

It is evident that my research has limitations. First of all, it is restricted by the choice of the subject. The project is devoted only to the problem of incarceration of young men. Secondly, this research paper is restricted by the scope of the research, which is limited to male students aged 12-16. Without a doubt, these restrictions do not lessen the importance of this research paper but provide grounds for further research. This research paper is also restricted by the lack of available data. Some information has been provided by the interviewees, but it was not enough for a full analysis.

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