Criminal Behavior of Youth: Research Methods

Abstract

This paper proposes the perspective study, focusing on qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The research is to identify the extent to which neighborhood conditions affect the criminal behavior of youth. It is suggested that the mixed design of data collection will allow reflecting information comprehensively. While the qualitative method will be used in the form of interviews and demographic questionnaires, the quantitative method will focus on the survey. Several challenges that may encounter a researcher were listed to prepare for the study. For example, qualitative research requires certain time and efforts while the quantitative one lacks some descriptive point. It was specified that the mixed-method analysis will be used to ensure appropriate statistical analysis supported by the detailed interpretation of the received information. The mentioned analysis will help to identify current tendencies related to the research topic and make relevant conclusions.

Criminal Behavior of Youth: Research Methods

The topic of criminal behavior of youth can be explored through qualitative and quantitative research types. The hypothesis to be studied is the following: does high crime neighborhoods make youths commit crimes? The chosen topic seems to be quite important in the context of the current situation as youth crime rates remain high in many communities.

First of all, it seems appropriate to collect numerical data that will address statistics. The quantitative data collection methods involve experimental trials, surveys, close-ended questions, statistical tools, and other similar instruments (Maxfield & Babbie, 2012). For the proposed topic, it is suggested to use the survey method. After determining the participants, the online questionnaire will be used to investigate the topic through survey research. The survey questions will use five-point Likert scales that range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The principal objective of quantitative research is to obtain a numerical estimate of the issue or the reaction of respondents towards it. According to Creswell (2014), it is better to use “the two forms of data should be integrated into the design through merging the data, connecting the data, or embedding the data” (p. 217). For example, it would be better if the number of respondents and criminal cases will be accompanied by an explanation of the situation. Therefore, the study will utilize the mixed-method approach to collect the necessary data. Such an approach will allow collecting both descriptive statistical data through the use of a survey or questionnaire, as well as take advantage of the so-called richer data.

In their turn, qualitative data collection methods may include interviews, observations, focus groups, etc. The qualitative method involves the collection of information in a free form, focusing on understanding, explanation, and interpretation of empirical data that is the source of speculation and productive ideas (Anderson, Cesur, & Tekin, 2012). The data type to be collected to test the hypothesis will focus on demographic questionnaires and video interviews. The prospective study will use the simple random sampling technique to identify the number of interviewees to be included in the sample. The rationale for the choice of the simple random sampling technique is based on the fact that such an approach is suitable to ensure the inclusivity of the study sample. Furthermore, Bryman (2012) argues that the use of the random sampling technique is appropriate because it gives study units and people an equal chance of being included in the study sample. The research will involve the use of interviews to help the researcher in understanding the perceptions of the chosen population of youth criminal behavior.

Speaking of research methods, it is also important to point out several challenges that may occur in the course of data collection. The quantitative method may miss some details or be inflexible. At the same time, qualitative data cannot reveal behaviors, intentions, or attitudes towards the given issue. In other words, it cannot represent how the respondents feel about the problem but demonstrates numerical data that is also crucial for the study (Cassel & Bernstein, 2015). The qualitative data collection usually takes much time as it requires multiple conversations with the respondents. Also, a researcher needs to record information in any convenient form, be it audio records or written notes (Symon & Cassell, 2013). Regardless of the type of data collection, it is of great importance to pay attention to ethical standards so that the respondents feel comfortable, and confidentially will be ensured, if required.

The proposed study will employ the mixed method of analysis that will help to evaluate the results of the research and ensure the reliability of the findings, providing grounds for theoretical generalizations and identification of the value of the received information. The results processed by such a method will allow showing the quantitative relationship in the form of graphs, charts, or tables to provide the visibility of findings. Finally, applying both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis in the framework of the mixed-method analysis, it is suggested to interpret the results to make relevant conclusions and offer potential recommendations to improve the current situation.

References

Anderson, D. M., Cesur, R., & Tekin, E. (2012). Youth depression and future criminal behavior. Western Economic Association International, 53(1), 294-317.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Cassel, E., & Bernstein, D. A. (2015). Criminal behavior. New York, NY: Routledge.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Maxfield, M. G., & Babbie, E. R. (2012). Basics of research methods for criminal justice and criminology (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Symon, G., & Cassell, C. (2013). Qualitative organizational research: Core methods and current challenges. London, UK: Sage Publications.