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York University
CRIM 2653
Anita Lam

Qualitative/Quantitative Research Two Research Methods • Caveats: – Determine your method according to what it is you are investigating • Always some mixture of qualitative and quantitative information • Table 2.1 • Examine three types of Method: Experimental, Qualitative, and Mixed. • The fallacy of the sociological perspective is that it is the claim that they make no qualitative judgments at all • Qualitative research suggests that if facts and values are intertwined, then one way to get past the problem of subjectivity is to ask other people what THEY think. • Quantitative methods= positivism—> objective reality empiricism numbers thin description or naturalism. A thin description tries to reduce meaningful information to the smallest number of descriptors. • Qualitative research= Social constructionism (human beings make their own society) multiple interpretations of the same phenomenon narratives of experiences of people you are trying to learn about (for example learning why first nations people are overly represented in prisons) words thick description. Implications for Criminology • Similar to Positivist-Post-Positivist Debate • What constitutes the best form of research? Qualitative – Empirical research that explains cause-effect relationships? Yes – “Thick Descriptions” that describe and explain human relations in terms of interaction? Experimental Criminology • Also known as “policy-oriented criminology”, which focuses on “what works” • Intended to be scientific and neutral with regard to values • Relied on “randomized control trial” –for example drug testing. This is a very problematic approach • Empirical evidence, rather than qualitative considerations, remains privileged • Funding is dependent on empirical evidence • Double-Blind study remains the “Gold Standard” of research. Successful Criminologists (all of these claim that the information that’s gathered through crime mapping for example are actually demonstratable in a experimental way) • James Q. Wilson: managerialism • George Kelling: “Broken Windows” • Lawrence Sherman: “Hot spots” and crime mapping • Criminology driven post-positivism, which marginalizes academics • Spawned a proliferation of “applied” institutions: Applied Degrees from Community Colleges, UOIT, Mount Royal University, Private Colleges Randomized Control Trial (RCT) The Basic Logic: 1. Independent Variable: is the influential or predictor variable. Researchers have control over this variable, and they can measure its influence over the dependent variable. 2. Dependent Variable: is the variable that requires other external factors to cause or influence change. 3. Pre-test: The measurement of an outcome (i.e., the dependent variable) before an experimental intervention (i.e., the introduction of the independent variable) 4. Post-Test: The measurement of an outcome (i.e., the dependent variable) after an experimental intervention (i.e., the introduction of the independent variable) 5. Experimental Group: A portion of the sample group of people chosen randomly to experience the experimental intervention 6. Control Group: A portion of the sample group of people chosen not to receive the experimental intervention, even though they will believe they have experienced it. 7. Random Assignment: the process by which the research chooses her subjects randomly from a given sample frame. Usually, this division is made randomly after the sample group is set. In RCT’s, the attempt is made to deliberately manipulate changes in the independent variables to cause some effect on dependent variable. The intended effect will be hypothesized prior to the experiment. Thus, one might hypothesize that the older one becomes, the more fearful one becomes of being attacked. One would test this hypothesis in the field by some experimental method: e.g., field surveys and so forth. • Causality comes from experimental design—quantitative • Correlation is not causation • Independent variable causes dependent. For example watching a trivia game show cause one to be smarter. The show is the independent variable and intelligence is the dependent variable Problems with RCT (randomized control trials) • Too simple a view of causation • Perspective of the Researcher (the study itself is “constructed”) – Impossible to avoid researcher bias and participant biase • Impossible to control social environment • 3 problems with causality: correlation not causation, temporal time order (how do we know intelligence comes after watching a TV show for example), and no other explanations. Crude Empiricism 2. Anti-Intellectualism in Politics and Policy-Formation – Political Advantages of pitching policies to the lowest opinion: thinks-he%E2%80%99s-smarter-than-the-experts/2/ – Refusal to accept to expert advice: Canadians against Criminologists • Neil Boyd on Bill C-10 • • Take note of the responses and all that represent. • Note: Comment included in the notes is from the Vancouver Sun’s edition of this article by Boyd (no longer available) • Why Academics are out of touch with reality • To Mr. Neil Boyd, • You have just proven why people are so fed up with you academics. You moan about the public's ad hominem, but your so ignorant of the fact this little bitching article of yours is guilty of the same ad hominem that you charge non-academics. Your not just guilty of the act of ad hominem, but also of hypocrisy, and this is why people are fed up with you academics; your holier than thou attitude. • There are many reasons why you academics do absolutely no good, and in fact make the justice system worse. Here are a few; • Firstly, you assume the so called statistics that you work with to be factual. Most of the public, and that means, everybody who is NOT an academic, knows full well the statistics about crime are total bogus. I know for myself, in just the last 10 years, I have had my car broken into 5 times, know people who's homes have been broken into, and non of this data was recorded. And why not you may ask? Because, having prior once before having my car broken into and calling the police, the police did absolutely nothing. So why call the police, when the police are useless? Do you academics take this into account? Don't use random questioning as an out, I and many other people hang up on pollsters? Do you factor that into your statistics? I know you don't, for a fact. In short, statistics mean nothing, so what ever you academics think about your data, is immaterial, and that mak
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