CRJ330: Research Methods for the Criminal

Course Description:

This course introduces students to statistical techniques most commonly encountered in the analysis of quantitative data in social and criminal justice fields. Emphasis is placed on descriptive and inferential statistics. The learning experience culminates in a comprehensive report of hypothesis testing with secondary data.

Course Overview:

Students learn basic concepts and analytical methods of quantitative data analysis in this course. The course covers the writing structure of a quantitative research report, the building blocks of quantitative research (e.g., variables, hypothesis, and levels of measurement), data summary, and bivariate analysis. Using a hands-on approach, the course activities require working with real data sets and conducting analysis with the computer software SPSS – a statistical package widely used in social research. Discussions are heavily used in class to help students understand the weekly course material and to prepare students for writing Critical Thinking Assignment papers and the Portfolio Project.

Specific Notes about this Course

  1. This course offers single options for Critical Thinking Assignments and the Portfolio Project.
  2. Weeks 4 and 7 Discussion Questions are worth 40 points each. The remaining Discussion Questions are worth the usual 25.
  3. The Portfolio Project is worth 320 points in this course.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe the primary structure of quantitative research studies in peer-review journals and compare the differences between such writings and reports of evidence in trade publications.
  2. Define key concepts of quantitative research and demonstrate the understanding through data entry.
  3. Summarize data and examine relationship between variables with statistical methods appropriate to the data’s level(s) of measurement.
  4. Explain statistical results in formal but understandable writing.
  5. Develop a comprehensive research report of secondary data analysis to include all required research components in a required structure.

Participation & Attendance

Prompt and consistent attendance in your online courses is essential for your success at CSU-Global Campus. Failure to verify your attendance within the first 7 days of this course may result in your withdrawal. If for some reason you would like to drop a course, please contact your advisor.

Online classes have deadlines, assignments, and participation requirements just like on-campus classes. Budget your time carefully and keep an open line of communication with your instructor. If you are having technical problems, problems with your assignments, or other problems that are impeding your progress, let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Course Materials


Logio, K. A, Dowdall, G. W., Babbie, E. R., & Halley, F. S. (2008). Adventures in criminal justice research (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE. ISBN: 9781412963510

(Indicate the correct operating system on your computer [Windows or Mac] before clicking “Buy.” Save the e-receipt on which you may find the license number issued to you; you need it to download the purchased software to your computer.)

IBM SPSS issue call number - 800-543-2185

SPSS issue email site:


NOTE: All non-textbook required readings and materials necessary to complete assignments, discussions, and/or supplemental or required exercises are provided within the course itself. Please read through each course module carefully.

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Chapter 1 in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research

Lawyer, S., Resnick, H., Bakanic, V., Burkett, T., & Kilpatrick, D. (2010). Forcible, drug-facilitated, and incapacitated rape and sexual assault among undergraduate women. Journal of American College Health, 58(5), 453-460. Available from:

Leukfeldt, E. R. (2014). Phishing for suitable targets in the Netherlands: Routine activity theory and phishing victimization.

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(8), 551-555.

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points)

Critical Thinking (55 points)


Chapters 3 & 4 in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research

Woolsey, B. [YouTube]. (2008, Jan. 10). Intro to SPSS [Video file]. Retrieved from Griffin, B. [YouTube]. (2014, September 5). Summarizing data using

SPSS [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points)

Critical Thinking (60 points)


Chapters 5 & 6 in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research Collins, S. [YouTube]. (2010, Feb. 2016). SPSS recode variables demo.avi [Video file]. Retrieved from Bernstein, M. [YouTube]. (2011, June 28). Command - Compute variable [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points)

Critical Thinking (60 points)


Chapters 2 & 4 in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research

Johnston, M. P. (2014). Secondary data analysis: A method of which the time has come. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0

Libraries, 3, 619-626. Retrieved from urnal_2014_Johnston_Sept_619-626.pdf


Mastery Exercise

(10 points)


Chapters 7, 8, & 9 in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research Baran, B. [YouTube]. (2014, March 18). The null hypothesis and research hypothesis [Video file]. Retrieved from

[YouTube]. (2012, March 30). SPSS Cross-tabs [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points)

Critical Thinking (60 points)


Chapter 9 in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research

SPSS Tutorial. [YouTube]. (2013, Oct. 4). Independent t test [Video file]. Retrieved from

[YouTube]. (2008, Nov. 11). One-way ANOVA [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points)

Critical Thinking (60 points)


Chapter 8 (8.3 & 8.4) in Adventures in Criminal Justice Research

[YouTube]. (2013, September 16). Pearson r correlation in SPSS— How to calculate and interpret (Part 1) [Video file]. Retrieved from

[YouTube]. (2013, September 16). Pearson r correlation in SPSS (Part

2) [Video file]. Retrieved from

[YouTube]. (2011, June 21). Simple linear regression [Video file].

Retrieved from

Discussion (40 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points)


Duquia, R. P., Gonzalez-Chica, D. A., Bastos, J. L., Martinez-Mesa, J., &

Bonamigo, R. R. (2014). Presenting data in tables and charts. An Bras Dermatol, 89(2), 280-5. Retrieved from


Twycross, A., & Shields, L. (2004). Statistics made simple: Part 3 statistical tests terminology. Paediatric Nursing, 16(6), 36.

Discussion (25 points)

Opening Exercise (0 points)

Mastery Exercise

(10 points) Portfolio (320 points)

Assignment Details

This course includes the following assignments/projects:

Module 1

CRITICAL THINKING ASSIGNMENT: Trends and Correlates (70 points)

Read through this article (linked in the assignment):

Orchowski, L. M., Meyer, D. H., & Gidycz, C. A. (2009). College women’s likelihood to report unwanted sexual experiences to campus agencies: Trends and correlates. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 18, 839858.

In an essay of 1-2 pages (not counting the required title page and optional reference page), discuss the following:

  • What do you learn about this article from its abstract in terms of the focus, data, and results of this study?
  • What major subheadings are used to structure this writing? (Hint: Four parts.) In which section are you able to locate the information about the kind of data and variables this study analyzes?
  • Where are the statistical findings summarized in a condensed presentation? What kind of statistical method was used in data analysis, as indicated by the title of the presentation/table(s)?
  • In References, do you see newspaper articles or sources without authors or dates? Explain why this situation might exist. What kind of writing do most of the references appear to be; for example, are they scholarly articles, news entries, opinions, or popular books?

Lastly, this article is published in a peer-reviewed journal. Go to the journal’s website to the section titled Instruction for Authors. Discuss what you learned about the peer-review process of the journal after reading the paragraph titled Peer Review Process. Your essay must comply with the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA.

Module 2

CRITICAL THINKING ASSIGNMENT: Units of Analysis (75 points)

Open the data file IDtheft.sav that you have created and improved for the discussion question this week. Discuss the following in a paper.

  1. Identify the units of analysis in your data file. (Hint: Whatever exists in the first column in Data View is often the clue.)
  2. Identify the number of variables in this data set (exclude the unit of analysis) and explain how you made your decision.
  3. Discuss how you made the decision about the level of measurement for Age, Education, and Race.
  4. If you answered #3, above, with no confusion, you’re ready to summarize data for each of the three variables Age, Education, and Race. (YouTube has videos that can help. Here is one suggestion:
    1. Report the distribution of age (the mean, standard deviation, and the oldest, youngest, and most frequent ages in the group). Attach the SPSS output including histogram with normal distribution line. (YouTube has videos that can help. Here is one suggestion:
    2. Report the frequency distribution (percentages) of Education and Race (insert into your essay the frequency table and the bar chart for each of the two variables).

Note: Label each of your tables and figures with a number respectively, e.g., Table 1 or Figure 1. Never leave a table in an analytical report unexplained, for your readers to interpret for themselves.

Your answers should be presented in essay form, not simply as bulleted answers. Be sure your paper follows the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA. Use proper citation, if needed. Remember that you must add a references page for your in-text citations.

Module 3

CRITICAL THINKING ASSIGNMENT: Working with the Data Set (75 points)

Open the SPSS data file Juveniles.sav found in the Data Set folder under Course Information. Report in a 1- to 2page paper analyzing the relationships

  • between family structure (recoded Single) and juvenile detention rate (Detrate), and
  • between family structure (recoded Single) and juveniles living in poverty (Total) at the state level. The essay should include an introduction (on the purpose of this essay) and a conclusion. The body of the essay must include the following:
  • Units of analysis in this data file "Juveniles.sav".
  • Number of variables (excluding the unit of analysis) and their measurement level.
  • The meaning of the 3 variables: Single, Detrate, and Total.
  • Recode Single into a 3-category variable. [Divide numbers of Single by three ranges, for example, 10%15% = 1 (low rate), 16%-20% = 2 (moderate rate) and ... = 3 (High rate) Note: Find out the range of data values for Single in Data View by using the sort In recoding Single, make sure each of the 3 groups of states consists of at least 7-10 states. With a very low number of states in some group(s), your bivariate analysis "Compare Means" will not be valid.
  • After creating a categorical Single, compare means of detrate (detention rate) and total (Total proportion of juveniles living in poverty) by the 3 groups of recoded Single (The categorical variable should be placed in the Independent List. [A Youtube for Compare Means in SPSS
  • Report the observed relationship between Single and Detract and between Single and Total based on the results of Compare Means. Do the findings support your hypotheses? Cite the key statistics in parentheses to support your observation and conclusion.

Your paper should follow the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA. Provide citations of the sources you used in this learning experience in References.

Module 5

CRITICAL THINKING ASSIGNMENT: Variable Analysis (75 points)

Open the data file binge.sav found in the Data Set folder under Course Information. What is the meaning and measurement (categorical or continuous/discreet) for the following variables (through Variable View > Values, or Utilities > Variables)?

  1. Hangover (dependent variable)
  2. Fratsoro
  3. Gender
  4. Collbing
  5. Usegrass

Select one variable as the independent variable and investigate its relationship with Hangover by following this order:

  1. State the null hypothesis (H0). (YouTube has videos that can help. Here is one suggestion:

  1. State your alternative hypothesis (Ha), either directional or non-directional.
  2. Statistical analysis: Obtain crosstab, Chi-Squared test with significance test (P), and Cramer’s V in SPSS. Do the following:
    • Analyze > Descriptive Statistics > Crosstabs.
    • Move the Independent Variable to Column(s).
    • Move the Dependent Variable to Row(s).
    • Click Statistics > check Chi-Square > check Phi and Cramer’s V > Continue.  Click Cells > check Observed in Counts and Column in Percentages > OK.

Present the three tables in the SPSS output and report the findings:

  1. Compare percentage difference across the columns (groups in the independent variable).
  2. Report whether the difference is statistically significant based on the Chi-Squared test and associated Pvalue (use .05 as the threshold for significance report).
  3. What does the significance level (P) say about your null hypothesis?

Module 6

CRITICAL THINKING ASSIGNMENT: Peer-Reviewed Research Article and Career Development Criteria (75 points)

  1. Read the following peer-reviewed quantitative research article (linked in your assignment): Nayak, S. K., & Jahan, M. (2010). Cross-sectional analysis of psychological aspects of adolescent underachievers. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 19(2), 105-110.
  2. Identify the research question/hypothesis/variables, analytical methods, and statistical findings in the article.
  3. Download the CT 6 Assignment Sheet. Fill the text boxes with your answers, and then upload it to the Grade Center.
  4. Career Development Criteria: Watch the following video and write a 1- to 2-page reflective essay on how statistics may increase your marketability in job markets.

While there are many videos on this subject, here is one you might find of interest:

Module 8

PORTFOLIO PROJECT: Relationship among Variables (320 points)

In the Portfolio, you will explore the relationship between lockedup (the dependent variable) and two independent variables you choose from the secondary data 2012GSS.sav, found in the Data Set folder under Course Information.

Establish two research hypotheses and remember that each is paired with a null hypothesis. Both of your research hypotheses predict the association between an independent variable and the variable lockedup (ever prisoned or jailed). Choose your two independent variables from the following list:

  • Degree or Edu (Choose only one of them. Each is measured differently.)
  • Race
  • Realrinc—Respondent’s Income In Constant Dollars
  • Evcrack—Ever used crack cocaine

Portfolio Components

The Portfolio should include the following components in this order:

  1. Introduction: Provide a brief discussion about the purpose of your paper. Include here your research question, the research and null hypotheses, variables, the kind of data used for the analysis, and analytical method(s).
  2. Method:
    1. Data Source: Provide a brief introduction, in about half a page, of the GSS data in terms of:
      • Who collected the data;
      • The purpose of the data collection;
      • Data collection method (for example, it may be experimentation, self-administered survey, personal interview, or existing data);
      • The study population (i.e., who does the sample represent?);
      • Sampling in terms of sample type (probability/random or none probability/non-random); and,
      • Sample size (see 2.2 – 2.5 in the textbook).
    2. Variables: Describe the variables in your hypotheses, the meaning of each variable, and each variable’s measurement. (Is it a quantitative or qualitative variable?)
    3. Null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis: Describe your hypotheses.


  1. Summary report of how the categories of lockedup distribute: How do these distribute by age, income, race, sex, and degree distributions? Insert a table, created in Word, with summary statistics by following the example in the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics and report the key findings in the table. (See the step-by-step tips of how to construct the table in Page IV of the lecture for Module 4.)
  2. Report of the bivariate analysis: This is based on the variable measurement in each hypothesis, including difference (e.g., group means or percentages, statistical test and significance level, effect size, and direction).
  3. Conclude whether the findings are significant enough to reject the null hypothesis. Label each of your tables with a number and insert the corresponding table(s) in the conclusion about your null hypothesis.


Discuss the key findings and their policy implications and limitations. Also discuss how, if you studied this topic again, you might approach the study design differently.

Your Paper

  • While there is no required page length for this Portfolio, be sure that you have thoroughly covered each answer.
  • If you use in-text citations, then you must also have a Reference page. Be sure your citations and references adhere to the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA.

Course Policies

Course Grading Grading Scale and Policies


95.0 – 100


90.0 – 94.9


86.7 – 89.9


83.3 – 86.6


80.0 – 83.2


75.0 – 79.9


70.0 – 74.9


60.0 – 69.9


59.9 or below

30.5% Discussion Participation

29.5% Critical Thinking Assignments

32% Final Portfolio Paper

In-Classroom Policies

For information on late work and incomplete grade policies, please refer to our In-Classroom Student Policies and Guidelines or the Academic Catalog for comprehensive documentation of CSU-Global institutional policies.

Academic Integrity

Students must assume responsibility for maintaining honesty in all work submitted for credit and in any other work designated by the instructor of the course. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, reusing /re-purposing your own work (see CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA Requirements for percentage of repurposed work that can be used in an assignment), unauthorized possession of academic materials, and unauthorized collaboration. The CSU-Global Library provides information on how students can avoid plagiarism by understanding what it is and how to use the Library and Internet resources.

Citing Sources with APA Style

All students are expected to follow the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA when citing in APA (based on the APA Style Manual, 6th edition) for all assignments. For details on CSU-Global APA style, please review the APA resources within the CSU-Global Library under the “APA Guide & Resources” link. A link to this document should also be provided within most assignment descriptions in your course.

Disability Services Statement

CSU–Global is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. Any student with a documented disability requesting academic accommodations should contact the Disability Resource Coordinator at 720-279-0650 and/or email for additional information to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.


Respect the diversity of opinions among the instructor and classmates and engage with them in a courteous, respectful, and professional manner. All posts and classroom communication must be conducted in accordance with the student code of conduct. Think before you push the Send button. Did you say just what you meant?

How will the person on the other end read the words?

Maintain an environment free of harassment, stalking, threats, abuse, insults or humiliation toward the instructor and classmates. This includes, but is not limited to, demeaning written or oral comments of an ethnic, religious, age, disability, sexist (or sexual orientation), or racist nature; and the unwanted sexual advances or intimidations by email, or on discussion boards and other postings within or connected to the online classroom.

If you have concerns about something that has been said, please let your instructor know.