Dr. Eric Metchik
Office: 333 Meier Hall - Phone: (978)-542-6460
E-mail address:

Purpose of the CourseText  | Course Requirements  | Course Schedule
Purpose of the Course
This course will analyze different approaches to conducting social science research. It will introduce the student to the requirements for "good" research - how to plan it, do it and understand its findings. The material is all taught with a special focus on the criminal justice system, and examples will frequently be taken from actual criminal justice research.



Maxfield, Michael G. and Babbie, Earl (1998). ResearchMethods for Criminal Justice and Criminology. Second Edition. (California: Wadsworth Publishing Company)

Course Requirements:

1. Class attendance: All students must come to class regularly and be on time. Each lecture in the course builds on all previous lectures and so the student will be at a loss if even one class is missed. In addition, the lectures are sometimes only loosely related to the assigned reading for a particular class, and all lecture materials may be tested on the midterm and final examination. If a student misses more than three classes during the semester without a valid medical or other acceptable excuse, this will affect the "participation" component of the final course grade.

2. Class participation and related assignments: This course raises many issues that may not be familiar to you from your prior studies. You are encouraged to give your opinions and ask questions at any point---do not feel you have to wait until the end of the class. Please be sure to do all the assigned readings before each class since this is the only way to stay "on top" of the material. Your active participation in class will be evaluated as part of the final course grade.

3. Tests: There will be three examinations given in this course, two quizzes and a final. All students are expected to take these exams when scheduled. Unless extreme circumstances (supported by a letter or other appropriate documentation) force a student to fail to appear for an exam, all those who miss it will receive a "0" grade for that component of the course. Even under extreme circumstances, the student must take an alternate form of the original test within 48 hours of the original test date.

4. Semester work group: All students are required to participate in a semester-long work group which will use the materials taught and skills developed in this course to complete different exercises. A separate handout will be distributed that explains the semester workgroup requirement in greater detail. 

5. Final grade breakdown:

Quizzes 25%
Final 35%
Semester work group 30%
Class participation 10% 
Academic Dishonesty: Any form of academic dishonesty is regarded as a very serious violation of college regulations. Any student suspected of engaging in such activity will be subject to the full set of procedures outlined on pp. 266-269 of the 1998-2000 College Catalog.
Handicapped Students: Students who are handicapped should notify the professor at the beginning of the semester if any modifications in the course requirements are necessary.


Topic  Assignment (pages)
Introduction 1-24; *H 3-13 
Theory and Research 25-45; *H 15-40; 66-70
Field Research 261-290
Causation 46-55; 61-65; *H 79-81 
Research Design 68-92; 389-411
Conceptualization, Operationalization and Measurement 55-61; 93-128
*H 90-96 
Survey Research 128-145; 231-260
Sampling 204-230; *H 96-101
Experiments 146-174
Unobtrusive Measures  196-204; 291-318
Evaluation Research 320-352
Ethics 175-193; *H 130-136
Review for Final 
* Also - reserve reading assignment - In Kenneth R. Hoover, The Elements of Social Scientific Thinking. (1992, St. Martin's Press: New York)
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