Does Research Design Affect Study Outcomes in Criminal Justice?

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Part 1 Weisburd, D., Lum, C., Petrosino, A. (2001). Does Research Design Affect Study Outcomes in Criminal Justice? The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 578 (1): 50-70. Within social science, as well as pure research, there seems to be a continual and ongoing debate about qualitative and quantitative research. Some take the view that, "All research ultimately has a qualitative grounding," while others believe "There's no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0" (Howe, 1988). In actuality, the debate should not be so black and white; both styles of research have their advantages and disadvantages. At times though, the way one constructs hypothetical constraints may actually prejudice the intended results or at least provide a framework from which to form bias. In the hard sciences, scholars tend to agree that randomized experimental studies have much higher internal validity than nonrandomized studies. This is basic to the overall scientific method of investigation. The term scientific method refers to a way of investigation or the acquisition of knowledge through the testing of a theory or hypothesis, then working through measurements (observation and empirical notes) to come up with a result, which should prove or disprove the original theory. Thus, the basic method consists of a) formulating a question or hypothesis, b) designing an experiment or means of collecting data, c) observation or experimentation, d) analyzing
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