Quantitative methods have been the traditional hallmarks of scientific inquiry. From an early age, we are all aware of the mathematical rigors involved in quantitative analyses. In the discipline of criminal justice, researchers utilize a variety of statistical tools with which to analyze empirical data. The inferences and conclusions that are drawn from such quantitative techniques have provided for empirically-based public policy, increased professionalism in law enforcement, and the development of more effective rehabilitative tools within corrections. Were it not for quantitative methods, much of what we current know about the world of criminal justice would not exist.
After reading the Worrall article and Chapter 8 of Creswell’s Research Design, identify and discuss the key tenets of quantitative research methods used in research in criminal justice:
- What do you see as the most critical aspects of quantitative research methods?
- How do these key tenets of quantitative research assist us when evaluating criminal justice data?
- How do these key tenets contribute to successfully interpreting published research findings?
- How would you apply these tenets to answer a criminal justice research question?
All research endeavors must, by necessity, progress through a series of logical and meaningful steps. These steps allow a researcher to be confident that the inferences and conclusions reached at the culmination of a project are valid, unbiased, representative, and generalizable.
In Chapter 8 of the text, Creswell identifies six steps critical to the construction of a quantitative research proposal (pp. 162-166). After reading this chapter, discuss the six steps of the critical aspects of data analysis and interpretation identified by Creswell:
- What are the six steps and why are they essential?
- How do these steps assist us when evaluating criminal justice data?
- How do these steps contribute to successfully interpreting published research findings?
- How would you apply these steps to answer a criminal justice research question?