RESEARCH METHODS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE CJUS 7128
SPRING 2021 Dr. Susan McNeeley
email@example.com Virtual office hours by appointment
Bachman, R. and R.K. Schutt (2019). The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, 7th edition. Sage.
Other readings as assigned during the semester.
1. To provide an overview of the logic of scientific research. 2. To emphasize the importance of systematic observation and analysis. 3. To provide basic familiarity with the various methods used to conduct social science research. 4. To teach the basics of designing, conducting, and reporting research. 5. To familiarize students with sources of information and data. 6. To increase students’ competence to evaluate research. 7. To give students an understanding of the ethical and political issues raised by research in
criminology and criminal justice. 8. To prepare students for a high level of performance in other graduate classes and on the
criminology and criminal justice
The graduate course in research methods is designed to give students broad basic knowledge of the subject. The course prepares students to design and carry out research at the level appropriate for a master’s thesis and to competently evaluate research in the field of criminology and criminal justice.
The course focuses on the following areas:
1. Logic and elements of inquiry: Throughout the course, we will emphasize the scientific method. During the first section of the class, we’ll examine the logic of the scientific method. As we discuss types of research design, we will evaluate how well they meet the basic requirements of the scientific method.
2. Sources of information and data: The interdisciplinary nature of criminology and criminal justice combined with advances in information technology have resulted in a bewilderingly rich and constantly changing array of information relevant to our field. We are far beyond the time when anyone can know everything there is to know about even a specialized area, much less about the entire field, making it essential to know how to find information and evaluate its quality.
3. Evaluating research: We will critique research designs and will evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in detail. You may find these assignments tedious and frustrating. Stick with it. Nothing will do more to build your competence and confidence (or better prepare you for comprehensive exams) than the close examination and critique of research.
2RESEARCH METHODS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
4. Designing and presenting research: Course assignments will provide the opportunity to practice techniques and to design a research study, giving students a chance to apply the abstract content of the course to topics of their choosing.
5. Ethics and politics of research: We will discuss the requirements of ethical research on human subjects, ways of ensuring compliance, and some ethical issues commonly encountered by researchers in our field. We’ll look at the institutional settings of much research, that is, agencies and academia, and consider how these settings may shape the type and quality of research that is done.
Preparation and participation: We will move through the material for this class one week at a time. Weeks will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Mondays and end at 11:59 p.m. on Sundays. It is essential that you block out time each week to do the assigned readings and viewings, to review the PowerPoint slides, to submit assigned exercises, and/or to engage in discussions with your classmates. Don’t fall behind! The material is cumulative and missing a week will put you at a disadvantage going forward.
criminology and criminal justice
Exercises (2 points each x 5 exercise assignments = 10 points): We will do exercises to allow you to practice working with the class concepts several times throughout the semester. All exercises must be submitted to the dropbox by 11:59 p.m. on Sundays.
Discussions (2.5 points each x 4 discussion assignments = 10 points): You will be assigned a discussion topic several times throughout the semester. Your initial comments must be posted to the eCourseware discussion board by 11:59 p.m. on Thursdays. Your responses to at least one of your classmates’ posts are due by 11:59 p.m. on Sundays. The first discussion assignment is in Week 3.
Training in human subjects research (5 points): All students will complete training in human subjects research through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative by February 14.
Exam (20 points): An exam will cover the core concepts of the class. The exam will count as 35% of your course grade. It will involve both objective and essay answers. The exam will be open from March 10-14. This will work like a take-home exam; you will have the entire time to complete it.