Record research - Southeast Missouri State University

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Transcript Record research - Southeast Missouri State University

Record research
Agency records
Content analysis
Secondary data
Agency records
Published statistics
Nonpublic records for routine internal
Data collected by agency staff for
specific research
Published statistics
Compilations of data
Census bureau
NCVS, Census of children in custody,
FBI (UCR), Survey of inmates in local
jails, correctional populations in the
Published statistics
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Criminal Victimization in the U.S.
(based on NCVS)
Sourcebook of Criminal Justice
Public perceptions, characteristics of
agencies, Gallup polls
Published data
Ecological fallacy
Summary data cannot be used, for
example, to describe individual
facilities or individual inmates.
Example use: high levels of crack
use in the population were found in
cities that had high robbery rates,
lower rates of burglary
Published statistics
Useful in the understanding of social
trends and forces.
Consider examples
(i.e., breakdown of the family, media
violence, etc)
Nonpublic agency records
Usually kept on individuals
Must be made available to
In some instances (children and
youths) records require special
protection (i.e., names and
identifying information blacked out,
of staff must pull information
Child abuse
Various data sources had to be used,
including school records, juvenile
records, DFS, marriage license
bureaus, law enforcement records at
the adult level
Unreported activity a problem
Hot spots
Calls for service (CFS)
50% of calls in Minneapolis came
from 3% of locations
“hot spots”
Potential problems: duplicate calls
for same incident, false reports
Agency records
Agency records can reflect decision
making rather than actually what is
Baumer et al—inconsistencies
between juvenile probation violation
and other indicators of client
behavior such as new arrests and EM
infractions. Pos were not catching
Agency records
If unexpected patterns appear,
review data collection procedures
(i.e., 1% violation rate)
Example from drug rehab facility
New data collected by staff
Adding a question onto an existing
Drug Forecasting, ADAM (arrestee
drug abuse monitoring system)
Supplementary interviews
Cooperation of staff: how intrusive
is the data collection?
Agency data is a function of offender
behavior, organization’s ability to
detect behavior, and decisions about
how to respond to behavior
Agency data are not always designed
for research, but rather for legal
mandates, and specific personnel
Erasing of records (computer tape
Backlogging old records
Example of judge vs. jury sentencing
Records sometimes do not “match
Might be better to maintain records
on individuals rather than incidents,
but this is not always done
Clerical errors
Content analysis
Study of messages and the meaning
of those messages
Can be applied to any form of
Books, magazines, movies, songs,
speeches, TV programs, letters,
laws, constitutions
TV program example
Content analysis
See p. 340
Open ended and close ended coding
Manifest and latent content
Crimes reported in newspapers
TV and crime
Content analysis
Showing content to criminals and
obtaining their reactions as to
Assault example
Burglary example
Gang related homicides—had to
classify information in homicide files,
need for reliability checks, interrater
Secondary analysis
Interuniversity consortium for
Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
National Youth Survey (NYS)
National Archive of Criminal Justice
Data, established by the BJS and