The theoretical frameworks that guide empirical research



we considered foundations of science: the theoretical frameworks that guide empirical research; the necessity of clear, specific, and logical hypotheses about effects; and the three elements (empirical association, time-order, and non-spuriousness) required to establish causality between variables. Hopefully you also had a chance to review the assigned journal article on neighborhood watch, which offers us a common frame of reference to talk about.

In this week’s discussion, reflect a bit on the application of our scientific foundations on the “problem” of neighborhood watch (NW). Why might different theoretical frameworks suggest different approaches to studying NW programs? Where might hypothesized NW effects differ, or even contradict one another? What, exactly, are we attempting to study, and what evidence would support or fail to support our hypotheses?

For the purpose of this discussion, it’s not necessary that you adhere strictly to the content of the assigned article, nor do you need to know the status of knowledge on neighborhood watch programs. It’s just an exercise to get us thinking about the translation of these abstract ideas to real-world criminal justice examples.



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