Research Process and Terminology The most important part of describing the research process in criminology and criminal justice research methods consists of being familiar with terminology. The knowledge of proper terminology can be an asset when evaluating, and analyzing research studies or data. However, not knowing the proper terminology when conducting research could affect an officer’s report negatively. Those interested in the study of criminology and criminal justice has a wide range of research methods. Following the research process will strengthen the chance of obtaining a successful, well researched project. Research is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing information (Shuttleworth, 2008). Research includes any gathering of data, information, and facts for the advancement of knowledge (Shuttleworth, 2008). Many of the terms used in an everyday conversation originated in social science research (Hagan, 2010, p. 4, para. 1). Once the criminal justice professional has become familiar with the terminology used in the research process, the criminal justice professional will be able to provide technical reports, academic concepts, and provide the discoveries of his or her research. The research process begins with problem formulation. Problem formulation is to review, selection, and specification of the area to be investigated (Hagan, 2010, p. 19). Researchers organize research by formulating and defining a research problem. Before attempting to solve a problem, researchers must first define the problem. The more difficult it is to define the problem, the harder he or she has to try. Once the problem formulation is complete, researchers can stay focused on the research process (Shuttleworth, 2008). The second process is research design. Research designs are the type of experimental or nonexperimental approach, studies of groups over time, and use of control groups (Hagan, 2010, p. 19). A design is used to structure the research, to show the major parts of the research project. The function of a research design is to ensure that the evidence obtained allows the researchers to answer the initial question as clearly as possible. Social research must first have a design or a structure before data collection or analysis can commerce. To test a theory and evaluate a problem accurately, one must obtain relevant evidence that specifies the type of evidence needed.
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