A research design alludes to the general strategy that is coordinated into a specific configuration of an examination most reasonably and coherently, subsequently, to viably pursue an answer to the hypothesis that was formed. In this paper, we will explore more about the types and functions of research designs, explain internal and external variable-related validity factors, and the strengths and limitations of experimental research designs. Finally, we will review a summary of two contemporary examples of experimental research conducted within the criminal justice field within the past ten years.
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An Explanation of Internal and External Variable-Related Validity Factors
Internal and external validity factors is a method in which an outcome of an investigation is deemed dependable and trustworthy. Validity alludes to authenticity or precision in experimentation. Internal variables inquire about the internal legitimacy of the study, though external variables challenge the external legitimacy of discoveries (Hagan 2014). The sole purpose of the research is to verify if the hypothesis is correct or incorrect. Three primary steps are required in order to rebuke or accept the hypothesis. Both the internal and external variables play a significant role in how it influences the research and is imperative in determining whether or not a causal relationship exists, the provisions in the order of time, and the control or exclusion of the causal factors. Many components can interfere with internal validity, such as interaction effects in particular selection maturation interaction, experimental mortality, statistical regression, instrumentation, testing, maturation, and history. The components that can interfere amidst external validity encompass multiple treatment interference, reactivity, testing effects, and selection bias (Hagan 2014).
Strengths and Limitations of Experimental Research Designs
Like with any research design, there will be advantages to the design and results, much like there will be and disadvantages. There are many strengths experimental research design offers. The most beneficial is the level of control the researcher has over the variables in the experiment since they are isolating and manipulating a specific area of interest. By providing this control over the experiment, there is a higher probability of outcomes with more precise results. Other strengths include how experimental research design present reasonably fast results. Again, since there is a higher level of control, they can test a specific variable at a time and speed up the time to obtain reliable results. Another great strength in experimental research designs is the affordable and budget-friendly means it has in collecting and producing data. There is error in everything, whether it is technical, human, analytical. Experimental research design is no different and also bares limitations. An experimental strategy that incorporates imitation from a specific population resulting in inauthenticity. Complications in the way human subjects are dealt with during the research process and the circumstances surrounding it (Hagan 2014).
A Summary of Two Contemporary Examples of Experimental Research
Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation
Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation was a quasi-experimental design study in four cities (Camden, NJ; Las Vegas, NV; Lebanon, PA; and Toledo, OH) based on a youth advocacy mentoring program for juveniles who were at high risk of residential reassignment for repeat offenses such as violence and property crimes. The program has a mentor that is assigned to each juvenile and is required to create a personal, trusting relationship. The mentor is required to ensure the juvenile accomplishes all court-ordered counseling treatments, community service, and school or job requirements. The primary objective was to verify if in-depth mentoring to juveniles right after release could minimize recidivism rates and delinquency behavior and provide positive reforms for the juvenile to have a higher chance of a successful future. The research concluded that youth who were involved with the study had improved in their academic careers and become more self-sufficient with job placement. Criminal behavior decreased during the treatment time frame and a year after release. The study also concluded the timing and specific interaction between the mentor and the juvenile was a crucial component in the recidivism rates and delinquency behavior from the juvenile. The study found that when the mentor and juvenile engaged with one another in recreational activities, the juvenile's behavior changed for the better, limiting their delinquency behavior. However, if the mentor and juvenile engaged with one another in issue centered discussions, it anticipated more delinquency behavior. According to the study, a significant factor in the juvenile’s recidivism rate was identified as distinct characteristics that mentors possessed, which became an advantage for some more educated mentors (Karacher, Johnson, 2016).
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs in Florida's Prisons
Florida's penitentiary inmates were used in a randomized experimental design for an extensive substance abuse treatment program in an effort to reduce recidivism rates both during incarceration and after release from prison as well as employment results for roughly eleven thousand inmates. A significant conclusion of this research is that aftercare and transitional substance abuse programs were fundamental in minimizing recidivism and increasing employment after release from prison. The research also concluded that inmates who were able to complete substance abuse treatment before release from prison had a higher chance of succeeding and a lower recidivism rate. The results yielded differences dependent on the strategies utilized in the assessment. A few techniques provided similarities toward the impact and the approach in recidivism. However, different strategies are demonstrated in outcomes with opposing directions, showing that assessment results are subject to the assessment strategy utilized. Arbitrary tasks provided the most help for the adequacy of prison-based treatment in minimizing recidivism (Scaggs, Bales, Clark, Ensley, Coltharp, Blomberg, 2016).
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A research design signifies the general methodology that is composed of a particular configuration of an assessment most sensibly and rationally, subsequently, to seek an answer to the hypothesis. Internal and external validity factors is a method in which an outcome of an investigation is deemed dependable and trustworthy. Validity alludes to authenticity or precision in experimentation. Internal variables inquire about the internal legitimacy of the study, though external variables challenge the external legitimacy of discoveries (Hagan 2014). There are many strengths experimental research design offers, such as the level of control the researcher has over the variables in the experiment, reasonably fast results, and the affordable and budget-friendly means it has in collecting and producing data. The limitations of experimental research design presents are strategies that incorporate imitation from a specific population resulting in inauthenticity and complications in the way human subjects are given during the research process. A Summary of Two Contemporary Examples of Experimental Research was of the
Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation and The Substance Abuse Treatment Programs in Florida's Prisons. Both programs implemented different experimental research styles. The Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation was a quasi-experimental design study focused on the mentoring relationship between a mentor and the youth in preventing recidivism rates. The Substance Abuse Treatment Programs in Florida's Prisons was a randomized experimental research design focused on substance abuse treatment both during incarceration and after release from prison and minimizing recidivism rate.
- Hagan, F.E. (2014). Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
- Karacher, M., Johnson, D. (2016). Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=273296
- Scaggs, S., Bales, W., Clark, C., Ensley, D., Coltharp, P., Blomberg, T. (2016). An Assessment of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs in Florida's Prisons Using a Random Assignment Experimental Design. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=272003
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