Web Exercises

Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.

1. Go to the Disaster Center website, www.disastercenter.com/crime/. Review the crime rate nationally and, by picking out links to state reports, compare the recent crime rates in two states. Report on the prevalence of the crimes you have examined. Propose a causal explanation for variation in crime between states, over time, or both. What research design would you propose to test this explanation? Explain.

2. Go to Crime Stoppers USA’s website at www.crimestopusa.com/. Check out “About Us” and “What is Crime Stoppers?” How is CSUSA “fighting crime”? What does CSUSA’s approach assume about the cause of crime? Do you think CSUSA’s approach to fighting crime is based on valid conclusions about causality? Explain.

3. After inspecting the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports at www.fbi.gov (go to the “Statistics” section under “Reports & Publications”), write a short statement that summarizes the latest trends in crime. Do any of the publications discuss the “causes” of crime? If so, on what research do they base these statements? Note: You will need to use Adobe Acrobat Reader to access some of these reports (those in PDF). Follow the instructions on the site if you are not familiar with this program.

4. Visit the crimesolutions.gov website and review a program that has been rated to be “effective”. What research methodologies were used in the studies (experiment/nonexperiment; longitudinal/cross-sectional)? What were the independent and dependent variables? What is the causal relationship between the two sets of variables? Are any spurious relationships identified? Are the evaluations quantitative or qualitative?

5. Select a systematic review from the Campbell Collaboration’s website (www.campbellcollaboration.org). What are the causal explanations for the outcome variable? What research designs were used in the studies covered by the review? Do the results in the various studies differ by research method? Is randomization used, and if so what do the authors of the systematic review say about the use of randomization?

6. Examine the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data methodology (http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245). What is the research design, and why is this a strong method for collecting this type of data? Propose a different research design for the NCVS. Be sure to talk about the pros and cons to this alternative research design.