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Criminal justice research methods:

tResearch methods are procedures for obtaining information on individual and/or aggregate phenomena for the purpose of (1) creating a general explanation or theory to explain a phenomenon; (2) testing the applicability of an existing theory to a subgroup of the population; or (3) testing the effectiveness of an existing social policy or program. Topics (1) and (2) are critical to the dialectic of scholarly knowledge in criminology and criminal justice. Somewhat unique to the field of criminal justice, however, is a heavier emphasis on (3) as a product of research. The phenomena of primary interest to criminologists include juvenile delinquency, adult criminality, and victimization, at both the individual and aggregate levels. The interests of criminal justice researchers appear more eclectic, only a few of which include police practices and effectiveness, the dynamics of criminal case processing, sentencing discrimination, inmate violence, and correctional pro gram effectiveness.

Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice