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The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice

The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Seventh Edition
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January 2019 | 616 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Very practical approach to teaching research methods and very student friendly. This text “breathes life” into the research process. Sherill Morris-Francis, Mississippi Valley State University


The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Seventh Edition demonstrates the vital role research plays in criminology and criminal justice by integrating in-depth, real-world case studies with a comprehensive discussion of research methods. By pairing research techniques with practical examples from the field, Ronet D. Bachman and Russell K. Schutt equip students to critically evaluate and confidently conduct research.


The Seventh Edition of this best-selling text retains the strengths of previous editions while breaking ground with emergent research methods, enhanced tools for learning in the text and online, and contemporary, fascinating research findings. This edition incorporates new topics like intelligence-led policing, social network analysis (SNA), the evolution of cybercrime, and more. Students engage with the wide realm of research methods available to them, delve deeper into topics relevant to their field of study, and benefit from the wide variety of new exercises to help them practice as they learn.


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About the Authors
Chapter 1: Science, Society, and Research Related to Crime, Criminology, and Social Control
Reasoning About the Social World  
The Social Science Approach  
Alternative Research Orientations  
More on the Role of Values in Research  
Quantitative and Qualitative Methods  
Highlighting a Few Specific Types of Research Methods  
Strengths and Limitations of Social Research  
A Comment on Research in a Diverse Society  
Chapter 2: The Process and Problems of Research Related to Crime and Criminology
Identifying a Research Question  
Social Research Foundations  
The Role of Theory  
Social Research Strategies  
Social Research Standards  
Chapter 3: Ethical Guidelines for Research
Historical Background  
Ethical Principles  
The Institutional Review Board  
Research Involving Special Populations: Prisoners and Children  
Chapter 4: Conceptualization and Measurement
Variables and Levels of Measurement  
Did We Measure What We Wanted to Measure?  
A Comment on Measurement in a Diverse Society  
Chapter 5: Sampling
Sample Planning  
Sampling Methods  
Sampling Distributions  
Chapter 6: Causation and Research Design
Causal Explanations  
Criteria and Cautions for Nomothetic Causal Explanations  
Research Designs and Causality  
Units of Analysis and Errors in Causal Reasoning  
Chapter 7: Experimental Designs
History of Experiments  
True Experiments  
Validity in Experiments  
External Events  
Treatment Misidentification  
Factorial Survey Design  
Ethical Issues in Experimental Research  
Chapter 8: Survey Research
Survey Research in the Social Sciences  
Designing Questionnaires  
Writing Survey Questions  
Organization of the Questionnaire  
The Cover Letter  
Survey Designs  
Errors in Survey Research  
Ethical Issues in Survey Research  
Chapter 9: Qualitative Methods: Observing, Participating, and Listening
Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods  
Participant Observation  
Systematic Observation  
Intensive Interviewing  
Focus Groups  
Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research  
Section IV: Topical Research Designs
Chapter 10: Analyzing Content: Research Using Secondary, Historical, and Comparative Data and Content Analysis
Analyzing Secondary Data  
Historical and Comparative Methods  
Oral History  
Historical Process Research  
Content Analysis  
Methodological Issues When Using Secondary Data  
Ethical Issues When Analyzing Available Data and Content  
Chapter 11: Social Network Analysis, Crime Mapping, and Big Data
Social Network Analysis  
Crime Mapping  
Big Data  
Ethical Issues When Using Big Data  
Chapter 12: Evaluation and Policy Analysis
A Brief History of Evaluation Research  
Design Decisions  
Evaluation in Action  
Quasi-Experimental Designs in Evaluation Research  
Nonexperimental Designs  
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods  
Policy Research: Increasing Demand for Evidence-Based Policy  
Basic Science or Applied Research  
Ethics in Evaluation  
Chapter 13: Mixing and Comparing Methods
What Are Mixed Methods?  
Strengths and Limitations of Mixed Methods  
Comparing Results Across Studies  
Ethics and Mixed Methods  
Chapter 14: Analyzing Quantitative Data
Introducing Statistics  
Preparing Data for Analysis  
Displaying Univariate Distributions  
Summarizing Univariate Distributions  
Cross-Tabulating Variables  
Regression and Correlation  
Analyzing Data Ethically: How Not to Lie About Relationships  
Chapter 15: Analyzing Qualitative Data
Features of Qualitative Data Analysis  
Qualitative Compared With Quantitative Data Analysis  
Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis  
Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis  
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis  
Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis  
Chapter 16: Summarizing and Reporting Research
Research Report Goals  
Writing Is Not Easy!  
Research Report Types  
Displaying Research  
Ethics, Politics, and Reporting Research  
Appendix A: Questions to Ask About a Research Article
Appendix B: How to Read a Research Article


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The textbook is straightforward, clear and easy to follow. Even students with minimal knowledge of research methods should be able to follow.”

Mercedes Valadez Ph.D
California State University, Sacramento

I will strongly recommend this text to my colleagues as an undergraduate research method textbook!”

Yongsok Kim
Bemidji State University

Very practical approach to teaching research methods and very student friendly. This text “breathes life” into the research process. The authors took the time to explain all concepts, even ones that would pose a problem for someone new to research.”

Sherill Morris-Francis
Mississippi Valley State University
Key features


  • Updated “Research in the News” boxes feature the latest media stories which have made an impact both on researchers and practitioners in criminal justice and society as a whole. Students will explore how research has impacted some of the biggest headlines such as the link between mass killings and domestic violence, the impact of violent video games, data on gun violence, and police stops of African American drivers.
  • A new chapter on Social Network Analysis, Crime Mapping, and Big Data (Chapter 11) explores methods for intelligence-led policing.
  • New student quotations contain real stories from students who have taken a research methods course about how the class has helped them in their careers.
  • Emerging topics in research have been added or expanded, such as the role of values in research, the Institutional Review Board, errors in survey research, and qualitative data analysis.
  • Case studies have been updated throughout to focus on challenges currently facing the criminal justice system, such as school shootings, police decision making, the evolution of cybercrime, and networks of terrorist cells.
  • New sections of “research in a diverse society” discuss the importance of making sure our samples, measurements, and methods are inclusive and sensitive to the diverse nature of our society.
  • A discussion of research philosophies has been streamlined and is more integrated in the discussion of different types of methods.


  • "Careers and Research” profiles highlight the relevance of research in today’s job market by demonstrating the use of research methods within a variety of professions.  
  • Real-world criminal justice cases and issues illustrate the methods described, capturing student interest and helping them better understand contemporary research and its application in their field of study
  • Expansive, up-to-date exercise sets for SPSS use in data analysis, ethics, and Internet research help students master the concepts and techniques presented.
  • SAGE edge provides students helpful tools, including eFlashcards, practice quizzes, and more, in one easy-to-use online environment.

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