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Quantitative Research Design

Vital in the conducting a research study is eliciting knowledge of the different designs and having the ability to choose the most practical design deviated by the research question.  Quantitative research designs aim to establish the relationship between an independent and dependent variable within a population by gathering data to classify and count features and construct statistical models as an effort to explain observations (University of Southern California, 2016).   Quantitative research designs are either descriptive, with measurements of subjects taken once and only establishes associations between variables, or experimental, with measurements taken before and after treatment establishing causation (University of Southern California, 2016).  Quantitative research deals with logic, numbers and taking an objective stance by focusing on numeric and detailed and convergent reasoning to generate a variety of ideologies about a research problem (University of Southern California, 2016). Among the quantitative design lies methods including experimental and quasi-experimental methods as discussed below. 
Experimental Method

Experimental research envelops the scientific method to objectively establish a cause and effect relationship among variables involved in a study (“Baltimore County Public Schools,” 2015).   The use of manipulation and control of variables establishes the cause and effect relationships that exist among the variables (“Baltimore County Public Schools,” 2015).  The independent variable is manipulated to determine the effect on the dependent variable, or the variable responding to the manipulation (“Baltimore County Public Schools,” 2015).    The controlled variable is constant in the experiment and is responsible for responses from external stimuli (“Baltimore County Public Schools,” 2015).   For example, criminologists may study the relationship between impulsivity and criminal behavior (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016).  In the example the independent variable is impulsivity, and criminal behavior is the dependent variable (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016).  Researchers would develop a scale of impulsivity that serves as a predictor of criminal behavior (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016). 

  Experimental research should consist of two comparison groups, a varied “independent variable before assessment of change in the dependent variable, and random assignment of at least two comparison groups” (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016). A pre-test would measure the dependent variable before the intervention, and the post-test would measure the variable outcome after intervention (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016).  Random assignment allows for identification of the effect of intervention while reducing bias during group selection (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016).  For example, researchers may aim to identify the most efficient treatment for domestic violence offenders.  Randomly assigning offenders to different intervention programs, allows control over the type of intervention used for each offender.  Upon entrance, the offenders undergo assessment and anger measurement.  After completing the programs, the reassessment and analysis of anger levels allow for comparison of data to occur (“Law.jrank.org”, 2016).  The treatment program which yielded the highest desired result would be identified as the more efficient treatment program.  From the different programs, researchers could draw what parts elicited the highest desired result and combine them together to develop the most effective program, after repeating the experiment with the new program.

Quasi-Experimental Method

Similar to the experimental method, the quasi-experimental method also aims to establish a cause and effect relationship among variables (“Baltimore County Public Schools”, 2015).   However, the quasi-experimental method exists in acknowledgment that rarely is it possible to implement perfect control in real world experiments as implementing control may violate the ethics codes of psychologists (Brown & Sleath, 2016).  For instance, when measuring the cause and effect relationship among violence and the community ethical boundaries may be violated as inflicting harm to an individual is against the APA Code of Ethics (American Psychological Association, n.d.).  Quasi-experimental methods identify the independent variable but do not manipulate it, rather the effects the independent variable causes to the dependent variable is measured (“Baltimore County Public Schools”, 2015).   Additionally, random assignment does not occur in quasi-experimental research as in experimental studies (“Baltimore County Public Schools”, 2015).   Instead, groups are pre-existing and naturally formed (“Baltimore County Public Schools”, 2015), such as studying a community or certain culture.  Control groups are identified and exposed to intervention and then a comparison is made between the control and groups who are not exposed (“Baltimore County Public Schools”, 2015).   Since the independent variable is not manipulated and there is no set of “forced” control, the data must be measured carefully, as external variables both identified and unidentified may impact the outcome (“Baltimore County Public Schools”, 2015).   

When evaluating the implementation of an intervention and its effects, quasi-experimentation occurs.  For instance, when evaluating an implemented domestic violence intervention, the intervention is given to survivors or offenders who relate in the experience of domestic violence but may be void of any other similarities.  Since the intervention is assigned to a group with different backgrounds, the only control that can be elicited would be the implementation of the intervention.  After observing the outcome of those receiving the intervention, the data is compared to those who have domestic violence experience but did not receive the intervention.  The differences or similarities in the outcome explain the effect of the intervention.

Personal Research Project

Hypothesis:  Early intervention for at-risk youth families will mediate family dysfunction and reduce negative behavior that leads juveniles to the corruption of detention facilities and promotes positive behavior modification that restores dysfunction and creates a positive environment which supports juveniles in maximizing potential in adulthood.  The goal of the research is finding the effect of early intervention on at-risk youth.  The research will yield two results:  the correlation of early intervention programs and the juvenile crime rate as well as the relationship between interventions and the juvenile recidivism rate.  The aim is to prove without intervention, at-risk youth continue the cycle of criminal behavior and violent tendencies, higher rates of recidivism in youth and adulthood, and maintain a higher potential of adulthood incarceration.  Additionally, the research will prove with intervention, negative (criminal and violent) behavior is deterred and modified which decreases recidivism for incarcerated youth and reduces the potential of adulthood incarceration, developing into a positive and active member of society.  However, interventions should be imposed early as possible in childhood to maximize the potential effect of the intervention.

The study sample will consist of youth from broken or dysfunctional homes riddled with poverty or low-income socioeconomic status who have had exposure to violence, abuse of all natures (sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, etc.), lower education levels, and substance abuse exposure.  The sample subjects will be studied through interviews, observation, and incarceration rate statistical analysis over a five-year period with half given intervention before or after the first incarceration.  The second sample will be studied in the same manner, but void of the interventions.  Due to the nature of the sample, randomization would not be sufficient as control would be difficult.  Therefore, the quasi-experimental design via control group time series, in a sense.  The control group will be youth not receiving interventions, and the effect of the intervention of the other group will be compared to the control to establish the actual effect of the intervention methods.   
References
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Ethical principles of psychologists and

           code of conduct including 2010 amendments. Retrieved from http://www.apa.

           org/ethics/code/principles.pdf

Baltimore County Public Schools. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/researchcourse/develop_quantitative.html

Brown, S., & Sleath, E. (2016). Research methods for forensic psychologists a guide to completing your research project. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=JtEBCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT52&lpg=PT52&dq=example+of+quasi-experimental+research+in+forensic+psychology+.&source=bl&ots=s2FEFa9LGx&sig=aC9lmmFvq5Mcb-TlCeK5rmpNq7E&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXlKi6kPrPAhVljVQKHYPACbYQ6AEIczAR#v=onepage&q=example%20of%20quasi-experimental%20research%20in%20forensic%20psychology%20.&f=false.

law.jrank.org. (2016). Retrieved from http://<a href=”http://law.jrank.org/pages/923/Criminology-Criminal-Justice-Research-Methods-Quantitative-research-methods.html”>Criminology and Criminal Justice Research: Methods – Quantitative Research Methods</a>

University of Southern California, (2016). USCLibraries. Retrieved from http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/quantitative

  

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