The Research Process and Terminology

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The Research Process and Terminology Thomas Guerrero CJA/433 Research Methods in Criminal Justice May 8, 2012 Michael Walker Research Process and Terminology At first glance, criminal justice students cringe at the thought of taking a course that involves math, research or the combination of the two (statistics). Most criminal justice students hope to gain the knowledge and skills that will help them investigate and prevent crime. On the other hand, a criminal justice author argues that rather than viewing research concepts and procedures as foreign elements, the criminal justice professional may, once he or she has mastered them, discover very valuable tools for assessing current and future directions in the field (Hagan, p. 5, 2010). This paper will discuss the research process in criminal justice and terminology used in relation to the process. Research Process Criminal justice professionals may appreciate that similar to catching a criminal, there are several methods or approaches to conducting research. Methods to the research process may differ considerably in the range covered by a study, the manner in which data is collected, and the overall procedure. While this may be true about the research process, one author suggests that it is common for research methods, predominantly quantitative studies, to follow a general process. Hagan’s (2010) study found the following: 1. Problem formulation. Review, selection, and specification of the area to be investigated. 2. Research design. Type of experimental or nonexperimental approach, studies of a group (or groups) at one time or over a period of time, and use of control groups. 3. Data collection methods. Choice of a variety of methods such as observation, reanalysis of existing data, questionnaires, and interviews. 4. Analysis and presentation of findings.

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