Research Methods for Criminology and Criminal Justice

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This article discusses the importance of a code of research ethics in criminology and criminal justice. The Nuremberg code requires that research subjects be protected from harm, and that the research be conducted by qualified individuals. Other codes of ethics should include informed consent, disclosure of potential risks and benefits, and the right to withdraw from the research. The article also explains the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, and suggests that a combination of both methods can lead to more accurate results. Finally, the article describes three different scales commonly used in research: Thurstone, Likert, and Guttman scales.

Table of Content

A Code of Research Ethics for Criminology and Criminal Justice

In the Nuremberg code there includes the protection of the subject against possible danger or harm. The research must be conducted only by qualified individuals. The subjects also have the right to end the research if it is needed.  In other code of ethics, the human subjects have the right to be informed or raise question about the purpose of the research. Other possible code of research ethics should include the honest disclosure of the benefits and even possible danger to one’s life of the outcomes of the research or experiment. Subjects should have the right to reject participation in the research if it will not be beneficial.

Qualitative Versus Quantitative Research

Qualitative research mainly refers to analysis of data and words coming from interviews, pictures, videos and even artifacts. It offers descriptive and detailed data. Quantitative research pertains to the analysis of numerical data in the form of numbers and statistics. The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models. Qualitative is more on subjective interpretation while quantitative is more on exact measurement. It is possible to integrate both methods for more accurate research.

Thurston Scales, Likert Scales, and Guttman Scales

Thurstone scale known as the first formal technique in measuring an attitude is made up of statements about a particular issue, and each statement has a numerical value indicating how favorable or unfavorable it is. A Likert scale is commonly used in questionnaires, and is the most widely used scale in survey research. The respondents must specify their level of agreement. There are statistical surveys conducted by means of structured interviews or questionnaires, a subset of the survey items that have the YES or NO answers, this forms the Guttman scale. They can be ranked in some order so that, for a rational respondent, the response pattern can be captured by a single index on that ordered scale.


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Research Methods for Criminology and Criminal Justice. (2016, Nov 29). Retrieved from

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