Research Methods in Criminal Justice has three assignments that require students to think through what criminal justice research entails (see below). This is Assignment #2. Each of these assignments offers a real-world scenario of criminal justice research efforts. Your job is to carry out each assignment in accordance with instructions. Please try to submit your assignments one assignment at a time. By doing so, you can learn from feedback provided by the instructor. Thus if the instructor points out weaknesses in Assignment 1, you can strive to overcome these weaknesses in your development of Assignment 2, 3, etc.
There is no hard-and-fast length requirement for the assignments. In providing your responses, use your good judgment. While we are not looking for extremely detailed and lengthy responses, neither are we looking for superficial answers comprised of several sentences. The key is to provide enough detail in your responses to demonstrate you have mastery of the subject.
A helpful summary of the key components of a typical research process is contained as an Appendix to these assignments. You can find the Appendix below the assignment.
A criminal justice researcher conducts a study to examine whether playing violent and aggressive video games contributes to criminal behavior. She randomly assigns 12 yr-old boys in a middle-class suburban neighborhood to one of two groups: one group plays one hour of violent and aggressive video games every day for a period of three months, and the other group plays one hour of non-violent, non-aggressive video games every day for the same period of time. Before the game-playing phase of the study is launched, the researcher interviews the subjects and their parents and teachers with a view of establishing a baseline of their behavior. Within a month of the end of the game-playing phase, the researcher interviews the subjects and their parents and teachers to see if there is a notable change of behavior in the subjects.
(no specific length requirement for your answers)
a. What is the hypothesis that the researcher is testing in this study?
b. What is the independent variable in this study? What is the dependent variable?
c. Why did the researcher randomly assign children to one of two groups? What did this accomplish?
d. The data for the study will be derived from interviews with the subjects, their parents, and their teachers. What limitations will this reliance on interviews place on the study and the interpretation of results?
e. What practical issues will the interview encounter in running this study?
f. Conducting experiments with human subject always entails ethical issues. List two ethical issues that the researcher needs to address.
g. Describe external and internal validity issues that this study will encounter.
h. Let’s say the researcher concludes that boys who play violent video games behave more violently after the experiment than those who play non-violent video games. Can these results be extended to 12 year-old girls? Explain your answer.
i. Let’s say the study concludes that boys who play violent video games behave more violently after the experiment than those who play non-violent video games. To what extent can these conclusions be used to predict whether playing violent video games lead to criminal behavior in the long run?
j. Note that this study only investigates the short-term effects on behavior of playing video games (i.e., the post-experiment interviews are conducted one month after the subjects have completed their game-playing). There are good reasons why the researcher did not attempt to investigate impacts of game-playing over the longer term. Offer at least two reasons.
k. Suppose more research studies come out (experiments and correlational studies) after this one showing that children who play video games with violent and aggressive content are more likely to be associate with unacceptable aggressive behavior as kids or as adults. Social scientists (and you) are now quite convinced that playing violent and aggressive video games encourages long-term violent behavior. Propose a theory (based on your own intuition) to explain this relationship.