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Lecture 8

CCJS 300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Mythbusters, Measuring Instrument, Content Validity


Department
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Course Code
CCJS 300
Professor
Alan Lehman
Lecture
8

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UNOBTRUSIVE MEASURES
-Nonreactive methods of gathering data in the social sciences, respondents are not aware they are
being studied
-Webb, Campbell, Schwartz & Sechrest, 1966
-Physical trace analysis: the study of deposits, accretion of matter, and other indirect substances
produced by other human interaction, stuff that’s left behind (finger prints, garbage)
-Likely exposed to this in the media (i.e. NCIS, Forensic Files, etc.)
-Archival records:
-Secondary analysis: using the data for a purpose other than the original
-Primary data sources: class data from SPSS assignment
-Secondary data sources: GSS data
-Personal documents, biographies
-Content analysis
-Meta analyses: larger patterns in data
-Observation
-Disguised observation
-Simulations: situation or game that attempts to mimic or imitate key features of reality
-Ex: Zimbardo prison, Milgram obedience
-Advantages:
-Non-reactivity, people won’t react to being observed/studies
-Respondents exhibit more natural behaviors, avoid over alliance on attitudinal data
-Use of recording devices can increase accuracy
-Collection of physical evidence is inconspicuous and affords anonymity
-Use of archival records permits study over/across times
-Observational research gains first-hand information
-Non reactive measures may be the best way to study certain phenomenon
-Disadvantages:
-Ethical questions (invasion of privacy)
-Respondents may be atypical or unrepresentative
-Takes time and resources
-Possible observer biases
-Issues of accuracy, surviving records may contain biases
VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
-Thinking about error in research
-Validity: does my measuring instrument measure what it is supposed to measure?
-Instrument could be a single question on a survey, a set of questions, or the whole survey
-Reliability: stability & consistency of measurement
-If the study were repeated, would the measurement yield stable and uniform
measurement?
-Research myth busters: how to spot bogus (invalid) claims in scientific research, Robert Park
(2003)
-Discoverer pitches claim directly to the media
-Discoverer claims some powerful establishment is trying to suppress his/her work
-Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal (data is not the plural of anecdote)
-Discoverer claims a belief is credible because it has been around for centuries
-Discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain their findings
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