By Hanan Selvin
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Extra resources for Delinquency Research: An Appraisal of Analytic Methods
It would be nihilistic to use this mutability of methodological criteria as an argument for doing away with all methodological judgments. At any given time one has to decide by the standards of that time. True, standards may change so as to redeem a study now considered unacceptable, but this has happened to few studies in the past. Change in the other direction, from acceptable to unacceptable, is the more usual course. This is a fact of life in all empirical sciences: Sooner or later, every generalization perishes.
These criteria and principles play a key part in assessing the work of empirical investigators and methodologists alike. Good criteria lead to useful criticism and better research. Bad criteria, such as those discussed in Chapter 8, result in pointless criticism and inhibit needed research. How, then, is one to know which criteria are good, acceptable, or valid, and which are bad, unacceptable, or invalid? Methodological Criteria Some criteria of adequacy rest on logical or mathematical reasoning.
13 The case of M. Jones is another matter. Since nothing is known about M. Jones's chances on parole, it is hardly fair to say that knowledge of J. Brown tells us nothing about M. Jones and then to use this as a criticism of statistical prediction techniques. 14 And his own critique demonstrates that, whether the data are quantitative or qualitative, it is easy to get lost in the gap between evidence and conclusions. What he has not done, however, is at least as impressive. He fails to demonstrate the superiority of any other kind of research, and he does not show that the alleged shortcomings of quantitative research stem from its use of one or another statistical technique.
Delinquency Research: An Appraisal of Analytic Methods by Hanan Selvin
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