Free Essay About Proper Unbiased Interpretation Of Data
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Criminal Justice, Information, Interpretation, Communication, Art, Perception, Law, Observation
PROPER UNBIASED INTERPRETATION OF DATA
The great variety of research methods offer a wide range of conceptions to choose from, each of them is aimed at the reaching of unique and specific goals. Naturally, each method, which is applicable in the area of criminal research, has own strong sides as well as weaknesses, so the choice of a particular method should take into account all of them.
Despite the enormous amount of various methods, I am going to consider field research and highlight all the hazardous points of its applying in the light of the high risk of results’ misinterpretation. To begin with, the notion and desired goals of field research should be clearly defined.
It is commonly known that field research includes the scrupulous considerations of real-life, online situations, usually without specific scientific devices and means, which is the main difference in comparison with laboratory researches. In other words, it is an observation of key subjects/objects of our examination in their natural way of existence, with results, interpreted by the spectators themselves. Hence, in order to make a field research as efficient as possible, it is crucial to choose a proper time, place, an object of observation, its methods and strategies.
Is field research a practicable and advantageous method to be used in the area of criminal examination? Obviously, yes, as this relatively inexpensive method, which often does not demand extremely costly equipment, is the one and only appropriate strategy to be used in particular situations. For instance, it provides rich detail on the motives of offenders, how they select their targets, and what sort of things they are attended to as incidents unfold (Maxfield, 2014). So, it can be concluded that field researches are aimed at the receiving of information on current events in their natural settings without the help of special research equipment but human’s observance and attentiveness.
Any used method of research is possible to be considered in the light of its validity and reliability. These two criteria (the first one estimates how much the actual subject of research and its measurements do correspond to those, which have to be researched, whereas the second assesses its trustworthiness) reveal the efficiency of any method. At first sight, field research seemed to be both valid and reliable methods. It is accepted that validity is a particular strength of field research, as measurements based on surveys or simple counts of some phenomenon often give an incomplete picture (Maxfield, 2014). Simultaneously, field researches are rather personal, as we usually rely on our own experiences and backgrounds in interpreting what we see (Maxfield, 2014).
These considerations lead to extremely important conclusion that the data interpretation plays the crucial role for the results of whole research. The function of its interpretation is irreplaceable and is the most remarkable in the mere fact that interpretation defines the outcomes and the conclusions of the objective situation. For instance, absolutely the same facts, observed by different people and evaluated in accordance with his or her subjective system of values and beliefs, give opposite results. Moreover, the field of criminal law requires very specific and precise information, almost doubtless, as it usually concerns extremely important phenomena (human life, freedom etc).
All the advantages of field research may be easily transformed into disadvantages if the objective truth will not be struggling to reach for. Only this method allows an observer to use a wide range of approaches, apply his or her logic and acumen. As Freilich states, a researcher “is not a puppet programmed to follow automatically a plan of research operations but the information absorber, the information analyzer, the information synthesizer and the information interpreter” (Burgess, 2003).
Understanding such important role, well-qualified researcher should use his right to interpret data not as a privilege, but as duty to be completed scrupulously. However, the social research can never be totally objective, because researchers are humanly subjective, they should be eager to maintain objectivity and integrity in the conduct of criminal justice research (Bayens, 2011).
Having realized the crucial role of unbiased interpretation of research data, specific ways to accomplish this state are to be proposed. Fairly speaking, proper informed interpretation is not as complicated as it may seem at first glance. In fact, being neutral does not mean the renunciation of own values or views. The first mere thing, which is demanded, is the deprivation of own prejudices, which are not admissible to influence on the results of facts’ evaluation. Work, especially in such field, as criminal law, can be just enriched by personal experience, but not limited and blinded.
Secondly, the good habit is to consider one issue from different angles. Such simple practice will allow understand a particular phenomenon as common, but not a personal one. Moreover, it will automatically include the verification of a certain hypothesis, as being obsessed and blind with a wrong assumption is not a rarity, but rather an easy mistake to be made.
Last but not least way to avoid undue influences is to be in constant doubt regarding all possible theories, if they are nor approved with doubtless facts. In other words, intuition and the building of vague assumptions is workable only as a basis for further examination and research with other methods, but not as valid evidence.
Taking all these factors into account, the conclusion is that field research belongs to one of the most efficient methods. In spite of its considerable advantages, the key weakness is explained by unstable human nature, who is to decide and make conclusions while interpreting data. Consequently, mentioned interpretation of observation results should be unbiased and impaired in order to provide comprehensive and genuine results. Such neutrality is possible to be reached by sticking to comparatively simple rules.
1. Bayens, G. J., Roberson C. (2011) Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice, Second Edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
2. Burgess, R. G. (2003) Research Field Research: A Sourcebook and Field Manual. New York: Routledge.
3. Maxfield, M., Babbie E. (2014) Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology. Stamford: Cengage Learning.