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Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

January 2017 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“A key strength of the Bachman & Schutt text is that multiple learning style models are incorporated in the book that advances the learning needs of students.”

Deborah Baskin, Loyola University Chicago


Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Fourth Edition introduces students to the multifaceted subject of research methods and shows them why research is important in the field of criminology and criminal justice. This brief version of Bachman and Schutt’s successful textbook (The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice) simplifies complex concepts with real-world research examples found in everyday experiences in the criminology and criminal justice professions.


The thoroughly updated Fourth Edition of this bestseller reflects the most recent developments in research methods, including the use of big data, increased coverage of crime mapping, evidence-based and web-based research, along with the most current research examples impacting the field. This is an excellent introductory text for undergraduate research courses, and is ideal for students who want to understand how and why criminal justice research is done to become critical consumers of research.

About the Authors
1. Science, Society, and Criminological Research
What Do We Have in Mind?  
Reasoning About the Social World  
How the Scientific Approach Is Different  
Social Research Philosophies  
Quantitative and Qualitative Methods  
Specific Types of Research Methods  
Strengths and Limitations of Social Research  
Key Terms  
2. The Process and Problems of Criminological Research
What Do We Have in Mind?  
Criminological Research Questions  
The Role of Theory  
Social Research Strategies  
A History of Investigating the Effects of Arrest for Intimate Partner Violence: The Research Circle in Action  
Guidelines for Criminologists  
Social Research Standards  
Key Terms  
3. Research Ethics
What Do We Have in Mind?  
Historical Background  
Ethical Principles  
Research Involving Special Populations: Children and Prisoners  
Key Terms  
4. Conceptualization and Measurement
What Do We Have in Mind?  
Concepts and Variables  
How Will We Know When We’ve Found It?  
How Much Information Do We Really Have?  
Did We Measure What We Wanted to Measure?  
Key Terms  
5. Sampling
What Do We Have in Mind?  
Sample Planning  
Sampling Methods  
Units of Analysis and Errors in Causal Reasoning  
Key Terms  
6. Causation and Experimentation
What Do We Mean by Causation?  
Causal Explanation  
Criteria for Nomothetic Causal Explanations  
Why Experiment?  
What If a True Experiment Isn’t Possible?  
What Are the Threats to Internal Validity and Generalizability in Experiments?  
The Element of Time in Research  
Causality in Nonexperimental Designs  
How Do Experimenters Protect Their Subjects?  
Key Terms  
7. Survey Research
Survey Research in Action: Measuring Victimization  
What Is a Survey?  
Questionnaire Development and Assessment  
Writing Survey Questions: More Difficult Than You Think!  
Organization Matters  
Survey Designs  
Ethical Issues in Survey Research  
Key Terms  
8. Qualitative Methods and Data Analysis
What Do We Mean by Qualitative Methods?  
Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods  
Participant Observation  
Systematic Observation  
Intensive Interviewing  
Focus Groups  
Analyzing Qualitative Data  
Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis  
Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis  
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis  
Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research  
Who Owns the Qualitative Data?  
Key Terms  
9. Analyzing Content: Secondary Data Analysis, Comparative Methods, Content Analysis, Crime Mapping, and Big Data
What Are Secondary Data?  
Comparative Methods  
Content Analysis  
Crime Mapping  
Big Data  
Methodological Issues When Using Secondary Data  
Ethical Issues When Analyzing Available Data and Content  
Key Terms  
10. Evaluation and Policy Analysis
A Brief History of Evaluation Research  
Evaluation Basics  
Evaluation Alternatives  
Design Decisions  
Evaluation in Action  
Strengths of Randomized Experimental Designs in Impact Evaluations  
When Experiments Are Not Feasible  
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods  
Ethics in Evaluation  
Key Terms  
11. Mixing and Comparing Methods
What We Have in Mind  
What Are Mixed Methods?  
Strengths and Limitations of Mixed Methods  
Comparing Results Across Studies  
Ethics and Mixed Methods  
Key Terms  
12. Reporting Research Results
Research Report Goals  
Types of Research Reports  
Curbing the Frustrations of Writing  
Displaying Data  
Some Final Thoughts on Reporting Quantitative and Qualitative Research  
Ethics, Politics, and Reporting Research  
Communicating With the Public  
Key Terms  
Appendix A. Conducting Literature Reviews and Finding Information
Appendix B. How to Read a Research Article
Appendix C. How to Use a Statistical Package: SPSS
Appendix D. How to Use a Qualitative Analysis Package
Appendix E. How to Use a Data Spreadsheet: Excel
Appendix F. Conducting Descriptive Quantitative Data Analysis
Appendix G. Data Sets


Instructor Resource Site
SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.
  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available, containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content
  • Lively and stimulating class assignments to reinforce active learning. The assignments apply to individual or group projects.
  • Tables and figures from the book are provided for your courses
  • Video, audio, and website links which appeals to students with different learning styles
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically.
  • Web exercises guide creative activities to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics.
  • Datasets
  • Appendices 
Student Study Site
SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. SAGE edge content is open access and available on demand. Learning and teaching has never been easier!

SAGE edge for Students
 provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

    • A customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
    • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
    • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
    • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
    • Video, audio, and website links which appeals to students with different learning styles
    • EXCLUSIVE! access to SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically.
    • Datasets
    • Appendices 
  • “A lot of interactive features, such as web-based supporting materials.”

    Dr. Yongsok Kim
    Bemidji State University

    “Covers the most important concepts/themes in basis research methods in a very thorough fashion.”

    Matthew Larson
    Wayne State University

     “A key strength of the Bachman & Schutt text is that multiple learning style models are incorporated in the book that advances the learning needs of students.”

    Deborah Baskin
    Loyola University Chicago

    "Provides a comprehensive understanding of research methods in criminology and criminal justice."

    Gabriel Paez

    I use this text in Introduction to Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology. It is a very user-friendly text, and has excellent examples to keep students engaged. Students find it easy to use and interact with the information in it, which brings it to life for them.

    Professor Terri Watson
    Criminal Justice Division, California St Univ-Sacramento
    October 5, 2016
    Key features


    • New sections reflecting recent developments in research methods ethics include additional considerations needed when doing research with children and prisoners, as well as contemporary examples of covert participation research to highlight the ethical dilemmas encountered when informed consent would compromise the research objectives.
    • Updated examples of criminological research as they occur in real-world settings capture students’ attention with interesting studies on a variety of topics, including the effects of incarceration on employment, the effects on both police and citizen injury of police body cameras, citizens’ perceptions of police misconduct, and an investigation into the lives of gang members.
    • Increased focus on international research introduces students to the expanded use of research conducted in countries around the world as well as global issues involving race, ethnicity, gender, and culture.
    • New "Careers in Research" stories in every chapter highlight the career of a criminal justice professional that has used the methods discussed to show students how research impacts a variety of professions.
    • New "Research in the News" sections engage students with recent headlines in the news to illustrate how research informs media stories and the impact research has on researchers and practitioners in criminal justice, as well as society as a whole.
    • End-of-chapter video exercises take students to the Study Site to watch entertaining videos about the methods being presented in the chapter and then answer questions to ensure they understand the method.


    • Extensive use of graphics throughout adds simplicity and increases understandability of complex concepts.
    • Includes more coverage of qualitative research and mixed methods than other comparable introductory texts. 
    • Consistent ethics coverage and real criminal and criminology examples throughout the text promote research success and integrity.
    • Contains extensive, updated exercises sets including SPSS exercises, Developing a Research Report activities, and Web Research activities.
    • Readers can boost their understanding with a variety of interactive exercises on the robust Student Study Site, which includes appendixes, practice exercises, GSS data sets, a sample research proposal, and Hyper Researcher’s popular qualitative analysis software.

    Sample Materials & Chapters

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 6

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