Conducting Research in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Settings

ISBN : 9780199782857

Michael G. Vaughn; Carrie Pettus-Davis; Jeffrey J. Shook
184 Pages
141 x 216 mm
Pub date
May 2012
Pocket Guide to Social Work Research Methods
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There has been a surge of recent interest by social work researchers in conducting research in criminal and juvenile justice settings. This is largely fueled by the tremendous increase in incarceration over the last several decades, with millions more in probation or parole at any given time. Rising expenditures strain state and local budgets and many individuals are spending much of their adolescence and young adulthood in correctional facilities. Despite the profound impact that the criminal justice system has on client populations served by social workers and related professions, there are few practical resources available to guide research in these settings. This Pocket Guide fills a critical gap in the literature by providing state-of-the-art techniques for researchers, graduate students, and agency administrators. Research in criminal justice settings represents unique challenges that require rigorous designs and a suite of methods, as well as the tools to navigate a complex system. With this accessible and practical guide, readers will encounter a wide range of study types and data sources, along with strengths and weaknesses to consider with each as they conceptualize, implement, and analyze their research. Crucially, the authors also provide advice on how to gain and manage access to these settings, as well as templates for preparing a successful Institutional Review Board application. Step-by-step procedures elucidate the use of extant and administrative data, and practical case examples, sample forms, and measures will help researchers implement their studies quickly and effectively.


1. Field Research in Juvenile Justice Settings
2. Using Extant Research on Juveniles
3. Administrative Data on Juveniles
4. Field Research with Adults in the Criminal Justice System
5. Using Extant Research on Adults
6. Administrative Data on Adults
- Stages of Formulating a Justice-Based Research Based Project
- Flow Chart of Juvenile and Criminal Justice System in the United States
- Essential Components in Human Subjects Applications
- Resources
- Excerpts from an Institutional Review Board Study
- Excerpt from a Consent for a Trial of a Social Support Intervention

About the author: 

Michael G. Vaughn, PhD, is Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, Saint Louis University. Carrie Pettus-Davis, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. Jeffrey J. Shook, PhD, is Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh.

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