Research Designs

Observational research designs are useful when we want to explore and describe new relationships between our variables of interest, or for when we want a study that is high in external validity, and as such focuses on how people behave naturally in the real world.  There are some potential sources of error when designing observational research, including: ·       Reactivity-which is a tendency for people to behave differently when they know they are being observed ·       Observer bias- this occurs when researchers collect and measure their data in a way that fits their hypothesis, (perhaps they see ‘what they want to see’) Our task for this week is to design an observational research design to help us learn something about Wrongful Convictions and DNA Exonerations for our literature review.  Generally speaking, the different classes of observational designs include: ·       Natural or systematic observation, where we observe people’s behavior and collect data ·       Use of preexisting data, such as archival research or a meta-analysis, where we use the web to collect observations on available information about our topic ·       Case studies, where we take an in-depth look or review at a specific individual, organization, or situation to see what it may teach us about our topic Our goal is to design a research scenario that is observational in nature, and then to collect data, and write-up a review of what we have learned.  To complete your observational mini-study, please: 1.     Select an observational design and determine what data you will collect, when and where you will collect your data, and how you will define your variables of interest. 2.     After collecting your data, please write-up a 2-3 page review of the following and submit to complete your observational mini-study: a.      What observational research method did you choose and why?  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this method and how might they have influenced the results of your study? b.     What, if any, potential ethical considerations may have come up as a result of conducting your study?  (For example privacy, informed consent, anonymity, etc.) c.      The results of your study-what data did you collect, and what might these results mean?  Were you surprised by any of your observations? d.     The implications of your observations and your research question.  What did your results teach you about your topic?  Did you notice any problems in validity or reliability that might have impacted your results or the conclusions you can make from this study?          References   Dioso-Villa, R., Julian, R., Kebbell, M., Weathered, L., & Westera, N. (2016). Investigation to exoneration: A systemic review of wrongful convictions in Australia. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 28(2), 157-172. Hessick, C. B. (2017). DNA Exonerations and the Elusive Promise of Criminal Justice Reform. Ohio St. J. Crim. L., 15, 271. LaPorte, G. E. R. A. L. D. (2017). Wrongful convictions and DNA exonerations: Understanding the role of forensic science. NIJ Journal, 279, 250705. Liptak, A. (2007, July 23). The study of wrongful convictions raises questions beyond DNA (Published 2007). Retrieved from Meterko, V. (2016). Strengths and Limitations of Forensic Science: What DNA Exonerations Have Taught Us and Where to Go From Here. West Virginia Law Review, 119(2), 8. Ramsey, R. J., & Frank, J. (2007). Wrongful conviction. Crime & Delinquency, 53(3), 436-470. doi:10.1177/0011128706286554 Santos, F. (2007, Jul 03). Playing Down DNA Evidence Contributed to Wrongful Conviction, Review Finds. New York Times Smith, B., Zalman, M., & Kiger, A. (2009). How justice system officials view wrongful convictions. Crime & Delinquency, 57(5), 663-685. doi:10.1177/0011128709335020 Zalman, M. (2006). Criminal justice system reform and wrongful conviction. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 17(4), 468-492. doi:10.1177/0887403406292740

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