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Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology

April 2018 | 568 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“This is a great text. It is comprehensive and easy to understand. The illustrations will enable students to learn and remember the information. This is the first research methods text I have read that is actually fun to read.”
—Tina L. Freiburger, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology connects key concepts to real field research and practices using contemporary examples and recurring case studies that demonstrate how concepts relate to students’ lives. Authors Callie M. Rennison and Timothy C. Hart introduce practical research strategies used in criminal justice to show students how a research question can become a policy that changes or influences criminal justice practices. The book’s student-driven approach addresses both the why and the how as it covers the research process and focuses on the practical application of data collection and analysis. By demonstrating the variety of ways research can be used and reinforcing the need to discern quality research, the book prepares students to become critical consumers and ethical producers of research.

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About the Authors
Chapter 1 Why Study Research Methods?

Why Are Research Methods Important?

Typical Stages of Research

Essential Role of Ethics in Research

Researcher Case Studies and a Road Map

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 2 Identifying a Topic, a Purpose, and a Research Question

Why Identify a Topic, a Purpose, and a Research Question?

How to Identify a Research Topic

How to Identify the Purpose/ Goal of Research

Gathering More Information and Refining the Topic

How to Construct the Research Question

Common Pitfalls When Developing Topics, Purposes, and Research Questions

Ethical Considerations When Developing Your Topic, Purpose, and Research Question

IRB Expert—Sharon Devine, JD, PhD

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 3 Conducting a Literature Review

Why Conduct a Literature Review?

A Road Map: How to Conduct a Literature Review

About Sources

Finding Primary or Original Sources

Writing the Literature Review

Common Pitfalls of Literature Reviews

Ethics and the Literature Review

Literature Review Expert—Sean McCandless, PhD

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 4 Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data

Why Focus on Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data?

What Are Concepts?

What Is Conceptualization?

What Is Operationalization?

What Are Variables?

What Are Measures?

What Are Data?

Overview of the Road From Concepts to Variables

Common Pitfalls in Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data in Research Design

Ethics Associated With Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data

Concepts, Conceptualizations, Operationalizations, Measurements, Variables, and Data Expert— Brenidy Rice

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 5 Sampling

Why Is Sampling Important?

What Is Sampling?

Populations and Samples

Census or a Sample?

Unit of Analysis

Ecological Fallacy

Individualist Fallacy

Choosing a Sampling Approach

How Large Should My Sample Be?

Common Pitfalls Related to Sampling

Ethics Associated With Sampling

Sampling Expert—Sam Gallaher, PhD

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 6 Research Using Qualitative Data

Why Conduct Research Using Qualitative Data?

What Is Research Using Qualitative Data?

Considerations: Research Using Qualitative Data

Approaches Used to Gather Qualitative Data

Recording Qualitative Data

Organizing and Analyzing Qualitative Data

Common Pitfalls in Research Using Qualitative Data

Ethics Associated With Research Using Qualitative Data

Qualitative Data Research Expert—Carol Peeples

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 7 Survey Research

Why Conduct Survey Research?

What Are Surveys?

General Steps in Survey Research

Surveys Across Research Purposes

How Are Surveys Distributed?

Designing Your Own Survey

Survey Administration

Easy-to-Use Survey Software

Common Pitfalls in Survey Research

Ethical Considerations in Survey Research

Surveying Expert—Bridget Kelly, MA

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 8 Experimental Research

Why Conduct Experimental Research?

What Is Experimental Research?

True Experiments



Beyond True Experiments

Pre-Experimental Research

Quasi-Experimental Research

Natural Experiments

Common Pitfalls in Experimental Research

Ethics and Experimental Research

Experimental Research Expert—Chris Keating, PhD

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 9 Research Using Secondary Data

Why Conduct Research Using Secondary Data?

What Are Secondary Data?

Frequently Used Secondary Data

Disadvantages of Using Secondary Data

Reporting Findings From Secondary Data Analysis

Common Pitfalls in Secondary Data Analysis

Ethics Associated With Secondary Data Analysis

Secondary Data Expert— Jenna Truman, PhD

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 10 GIS and Crime Mapping

Why Conduct Research Using GIS and Crime Mapping Techniques?

What Is GIS?

What Is Crime Mapping and Analysis?

Crime Analysis in Academic Research

Reporting Findings From GIS and Crime Mapping Studies

Common Pitfalls in GIS and Crime Mapping Analysis

Ethical Considerations in GIS and Crime Mapping Research

GIS and Crime Mapping Expert— Henri Buccine-Schraeder, MA

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 11 Evaluation Research

Why Use Evaluation Research?

What Is Evaluation Research?

Types of Evaluation Research

Distinctive Purposes of Evaluation and Basic Research

Characteristics of Effective Evaluations

Common Pitfalls in Evaluation Research

Ethics Associated With Evaluation Research

Evaluation Research Expert— Michael Shively, PhD

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 12 Analysis and Findings

Why Analysis?

How Should Data Be Analyzed?

Analysis of Quantitative Data

Qualitative Data Analysis

Data Analysis Software

Alternative Analytic Approaches

Reporting Findings From Your Research

Common Pitfalls in Data Analysis and Developing Findings

Ethics Associated With Analyzing Your Data and Developing Your Findings

Analysis and Findings Expert— Sue Burton

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 13 Making Your Research Relevant

Why Conduct Policy-Relevant Research?

What Is Policy-Relevant Research?

What Is Policy?

Who Are Policy Makers?

The Policy Process

Challenges of Getting Research to Policy Makers

Maximizing Chances of Producing Policy-Relevant Research

Common Pitfalls in Producing Policy-Relevant Research

Ethics and Conducting Policy Relevant Research

Policy Expert—Katie TePas

Chapter Wrap-Up

Chapter 14 Research Methods as a Career

Why Research Methods as a Career?

Where Do I Get Started?

Career Search Documents

Public- Versus Private-Sector Jobs

Where to Look for a Career

Interviewing Well

Pitfalls and Career Searches

Ethics and Career Searches

Research Methods as a Career Expert—Nora Scanlon, MA

Chapter Wrap-Up



Student Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material.
  • Carefully selected chapter-by-chapter video and multimedia content    which enhance classroom-based explorations of key topics
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter.
Instructor Resource Site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks that provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess the students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course.
  • Lecture Notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content
  • Carefully selected chapter-by-chapter video and multimedia content  which enhance classroom-based explorations of key topics

“This is a great text. It is comprehensive and easy to understand. The illustrations will enable students to learn and remember the information. This is the first research methods text I have read that is actually fun to read.”

Tina L. Freiburger
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“An excellent and well-organized introduction for students to the techniques, strategies, designs, and skills necessary to conduct criminal justice and criminological research for shaping public policy. Students will benefit immensely from the concepts and examples referenced throughout the book by being able to understand how research methods are applied to public safety initiatives. Students will obtain a fresh perspective on the value of the scientific method and how it’s being applied to investigate public safety phenomena. The chapters I reviewed for the Rennison textbook do an amazing and parsimonious job of explaining to both novices and experts that the narrative of crime research is a fundamental component in understanding how crime research has developed historically and how continues to evolve with the growth of technology, software, statistical techniques, big data, and cloud computing power.”

Sriram Chintakrindi
California State University, Stanislaus

“This text is easy to read and understand. The examples given provide all students with the understanding of how these concepts touch their lives each day.” 

Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer
Claflin University

“A solid book that covers all the key issues that would need to be covered in any introductory research methods course…this book uses a unique approach that will really engage students in a way most other books fail to do”

Kevin M. Beaver
Florida State University

“This book makes more use of contemporary research than other criminal justice research methods texts…”

Eileen Ahlin
Penn State Harrisburg

“…This is an informative, reader-friendly, and practice-oriented text designed for lower-level undergraduate students who are new to research methodology. It is loaded with contemporary pedagogies to meet the needs of learners of various backgrounds.”

Qiang Xu
Indiana University South Bend

Logical lay out, nice balance between quantitative and qualitative approaches, and great teacher support materials.

Dr Alice Neikirk
Criminology & Restorative Just, Fresno Pacific University
May 27, 2020

This book was one of the best CJ research methods book I have ever encountered.

Dr Hannarae Lee
Social Science Dept, Marywood University
December 2, 2018

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