To fulfil the purpose of this submission, it is of central importance to have an understanding of what it means by referring to mixed methods research. Maxfield (2015) defined this as a multi-method in which at least two types of data and data collection approaches are used. Mixed methods research is defined by the use of primary and secondary data, qualitative and quantitative data, as well as, statistical and non-statistical data collection methods.
One area of research in Criminal Justice or Security Management that would warrant the use of mixed methods research is “crime and its causes.” Inferring from Maxfield and Babbie (2014), researching about crime involves a look into a diverse range of metrics, which include the rate of crime, changes in the crime rates, the causes and effects of crimes and devising strategies to curb crime. It is indeed not possible to accomplish or undertake research on crime using only one research method. There are those variables that require qualitative methods while others necessitate the use of quantitative methods. Take an instance of the crime rate and the change in the crime rate. Such a study can only be facilitated through quantitative research. As such, a researcher has to establish statistics and compute them to determine the rate. For instance, in order to determine the rate of change of crime in two specific periods, say the 20th and 21st century, a researcher would be required to add up the total crimes in each of the two centuries and then compare those (Maxfield & Babbie, 2014). Aside from determining the rates and changes in crime, a researcher would also be required to profile about the effects of an increase in crime in the society. Such a course would require one to use qualitative methods. This is especially so because the researcher would be seeking to determine relations between two variables, in this case, the rate of crime and the effects on the society.
Another type of research that would require the use of mixed methods is on correlates of crime. Such research area would require a scholar to investigate on such issues as social demographic influences and the way that they relate to the crime. Such influences would include age, citizenship, aggression, education, employment, gender, mental illness and family status. The determination of the correlation between all these factors and crime would necessitate the researcher to employ both qualitative and quantitative methods. Take an instance of age. In a study by Brame and Piquero, as cited in Maxfield and Babbie (2014), it was identified that there is a curvilinear relationship between age and crime. To establish such a connection, the researcher was forced to compare statistically crime incidences across different age cohorts. At the same time, the research would have use a theoretical approach to explain the underlying assumptions and the subsequent findings. The same can be said about research on the link between aggression and crime. In such research, the use of quantitative method would be in determining the number of aggressive and non-aggressive individuals who commit a crime and those that have been absorbed into the penal system. Such an investigation would necessitate a lot of statistical computations. However, to explain the results, the researcher would have to employ the use of theories.
A further area of research within the criminal justice system that requires one to use mixed research methods is the types of crimes. At a first glance, this topic area can be viewed as necessitating the use of qualitative research alone. However, on a deeper analysis, it follows that one can understand where the role of quantitative comes into play. As such, a researcher would be required to undertake an investigation on the severity of the various types of crimes (Kleck, Tark & Bellows, 2006). This is, especially where one is researching on which type of crime having the greatest effect on the society. In this case, a researcher or a scholar would be necessitated to assign statistical values for each type of crime, based on some parameters. The researcher would then sum up the numbers assigned, and the type of crime that have the highest total can be explained as having the highest severity (Kleck, Tark & Bellows, 2006).
Another area that requires the use of mixed methods is measuring the criminological reality. According to Maxfield (2015), the criminological researchers might be motivated to study the relationship that prevails between impulsivity and criminal behaviour. Maxfield (2015) revealed that when investigating on such a relationship, it not only mandates one to adopt a theoretical approach but also create a summated scale of items, which are designed in a manner that measure the impulsivity concept, however indirectly. The researcher would then be required to use this scale in an attempt to predict the involvement of a person in criminal behavioural tendencies. Still within the area of criminological reality, as a researcher might be motivated to study or investigate the effects that mandatory policy arrest has on the future patterns of domestic violence (Maxfield, 2015). For such an investigation, a researcher would evaluate the effect of an arrest, as compared to other forms of sanction, on the arrestee’s future criminal behaviour. However, the researcher would have to adopt the use of quantitative methods, since the study would also entail identifying studying the patterns of the relationship between the set of variables. This, in turn, would provide the researcher with an opportunity to determine the causes and effects.
- Kleck, G., Tark, J., & Bellows, J. J. (2006). What methods are most frequently used in research in criminology and criminal justice?. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(2), 147-152.
- Maxfield, M. (2015). Basics of research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
- Maxfield, M., & Babbie, E. (2014). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.