Research Methods in Criminal Justice

timer Asked: Nov 22nd, 2014
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Question description

Your Chief of Police has started a task force to identify the highest crime areas in your city. He is relying on you to advise him on the best way to determine these areas based on your research methodology expertise.

Therefore, you must draft an essay to help the chief understand the four major purposes of research (listed below) as well as to indicate which is the best approach for identifying the highest crime areas.

In a minimum of 1 – 2 pages of written text (not including the cover page and reference page), you will:

  • Identify and describe the 4 purposes of research
  • Provide an example for each purpose of research
  • Indicate the relationship among the 4 purposes of research
  • Indicate which of the 4 purposes would be best for identifying the highest crime areas in the city

Purposes of Research

We conduct criminal justice research to serve various purposes.

Criminal justice research, of course, serves many purposes. Explaining associations between two or more variables is one of those purposes; oth- ers include exploration, description, and appli- cation. Although a given study can have several purposes, it is useful to examine them separately because each has different implications for other aspects of research design.


Much research in criminal justice is conducted to explore a specific problem. A researcher or official may be interested in a crime or criminal justice policy issue about which little is known. Or perhaps an innovative approach to policing, court management, or corrections has been tried in some jurisdiction, and the researcher wishes to determine how common such practices are in other cities or states. An exploratory project might collect data on a measure to establish a baseline with which future changes will be compared.


A key purpose of many criminal justice studies is to describe the scope of the crime problem or policy responses to the problem. A researcher or public official observes and then describes what was observed.


A third general purpose of criminal justice re- search is to explain things.


Researchers also conduct criminal justice stud- ies of an applied nature. Applied research stems from a need for specific facts and findings with policy implications. Another purpose of crimi- nal justice research, therefore, is its application to public policy.

Tutor Answer

Rice University

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Awesome! Exactly what I wanted.

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