Web Exercises

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1. Check your library’s online holdings to see if it subscribes to the online version of the Annual Review of Sociology. If it does, go to the Annual Review of Sociology’s website by following the publication link at http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/loi/soc. Search for articles that use field research as the primary method of gathering data on gangs or delinquency. Find at least three articles and report on the specific method of field research used in each.

2. Go to the Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG) at http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/. Conduct a search for “qualitative methods” and then choose three or four interesting sites to find out more about field research—either professional organizations of field researchers or journals that publish their work. Explore the sites to find out what information they provide regarding field research, what kinds of projects are being done that involve field research, and the purposes that specific field research methods are being used for. Summarizing your findings in a brief report.

3. Search the Web for information on focus groups (previous, upcoming, or ongoing) involving victims, offenders, fear of crime, crime prevention, or another criminological topic. List the websites you found, and write a paragraph about the purpose of each focus group and the sample involved. How might the information collected in these focus groups be used to influence public policy?

4. The Qualitative Report is an online journal about qualitative research. Inspect the table of contents for a recent issue at www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/index.html. Read one of the articles and write a brief article review describing the qualitative research methods used and the main findings of the research.

5. Review the National Science Foundation’s review of quantitative and qualitative data methods (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/nsf02057/nsf02057.pdf). What are the key differences between qualitative and quantitative methods? How do researchers decide which method is preferable for their project? What types of research questions would be better suited for qualitative methods?

6. There are a variety of methods for collecting qualitative data. Review the following guidebook and describe the main methods of qualitative data collection. Discuss the differences between each, and describe how each would be employed with a variety of samples such as gang members, prison inmates, high school students, and/or college professors. http://www.ccs.neu.edu/course/is4800sp12/resources/qualmethods.pdf

7. Researchers often conduct focus groups to gather group data on a certain topic. There are specific procedures that should be followed during focus groups. Review RTI’s overview of the focus group method. Discuss how you would design a focus group for drug court participants, courtroom workgroup members, or police officers. How would participants be recruited? How many people will be included in the focus group? Where will the focus group take place? Who will lead the focus group? What types of questions would be asked? How will notes be recorded?