Criminal Justice 385

CRJU 385: Research Methods in Criminal Justice

Prerequisites: CRJU 100 or CRJU 150; Junior standing; STAT 200

Credit Hours: (3)

CRJU 385 introduces students to social science research methodology involved in conducting original research. Research skills include qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Other skills will include, but are not limited to, oral communication, intensive writing, computer operations, and statistical model applications.


Detailed Description of Course Content

1. Introduction to theory construction and deconstruction

  • deductive v. inductive theory construction
  • idiographic and nomothetic models
  • the criterion of causality

2. Measurement issues

  • time
  • conceptualization and measurement
  • reliability, validity, accuracy and precision
  • using the computer

3. Research Methods

  • formal experimentation
  • quasi-experimentation
  • survey research
  • field research
  • unobtrusive research
  • evaluation research
  • using computer data bases

4. Statistics and sampling techniques

  • univariates, bivariates and multivariates
  • descriptive and inferential statistics
  • random sample selection
  • calculating sampling error
  • computer-based statistics programs


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course is an introduction to the basic issues involved in conducting social research. Modern policy makers have come to rely upon research for direction, validation, and support in their decision-making processes. The student, as a future policy-maker, must be able to recognize both good and bad research. In order to accomplish this, the student must comprehend the basic techniques of research methodology, appreciate the complexities of analyzing data, and possess sufficient writing and oral communication skills to critique social research.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to:

1. Differentiate the scientific method from less rigorous forms of human inquiry.
2. Identify the components and modes of theory construction.
3. Identify the criteria for establishing causality.
4. Introduce the elements of research design and established research methods.
5. Demonstrate knowledge of the function and use of statistics in the social sciences.
6. Demonstrate an adequate understanding of research methodology.
7. Have the ability to critique existing pieces of social research articles.
8. Apply the concepts learned in class to the practical scenarios and situations introduced in CRJU 495.
9. Demonstrated expertise in the use of computer-based word processing programs and the use of statistical packages.
10. Complete a position paper proposal.


Assessment Measures

1. Skill Assessment

            (a) oral skills

                            in-class participation
                            class room presentations

            (b) written skills

                            essay and short-answer questions
                            homework assignments
                            position paper proposal

            (c) computer skills

                            word processing assignments
                            statistical data assignments

2. Knowledge assessment

            (a) in class examinations
            (b) quizzes
            (c) computer assignments
            (d) class participation
            (e) research article critique
            (f) student research project


Other Course Information



Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed by

May, 2011