Research terminology is important to the criminal justice professional and will aid him or her to better understanding of terminology and how to conduct oneself. Criminal justice professionals will be able to obtain an articulate information that is obtained from their research because they will understand the language, circumstances, and terminology that is within their profession.
Terminology that a criminal justice professional should be aware of, understand, and be able to explain would be theory, paradigm, methodology, replication, and operationalization. Other terminology in the criminal justice profession that should be fully understood should include scientism, concepts, quantitative research, qualitative research, and applied research. Having knowledge of these words and the in-depth definitions of them would aid in a career in criminal justice because they pertain to research. Knowing that theory is defined in our reading as “an attempt to develop plausible explanations of reality” (Frank E. Hagan, 2010, p.7) is not enough as there are many terms that are more in-depth and require more reading to fully understand them. Terms like paradigm can be more confusing as this is not a term most people use on a daily basis yet means a body of intertwined methodological and theoretical beliefs that permit evaluation, criticism, and selection.
Other terms that should be known by the criminal justice professional should be applied research because this is practical research that is concerned with immediately solving policy problems. Because policies are so important this term is one that should be fully understood and used to ensure policies are being understood and any problems are being fixed. Some terms can also be mistaken if overlooked such as quantitative research and qualitative research which have different but equally important meanings in the criminal justice profession. Quantitative research is concepts that are assigned numerical value whereas in qualitative research the concepts are viewed as “sensitizing ideas or terms that enhance our understanding” (Frank E. Hagan, 2010, p.14). Knowing the proper terms for what information a criminal justice professional is trying to relay is very important and can keep people from misinterpreting the information at hand.
After reading the first two chapters in Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology, I have a better understanding of some of the terms that are used within the criminal justice system and research. Knowing these terms and also more about the research involved in the criminal justice system is important in understanding how everything works and comes together to make understanding people, situations, variables, and outcomes within the justice system. Understanding and having the knowledge of these terms and research methods will help me to better understand how the justice system works on a deeper level than before. Knowing that some meanings of words are different is very important because I have one idea of what a word means yet within each profession these terms vary and change to accompany the field in with the term is being used.
Assuming or not knowing the proper terminology in the correct field can lead to being confused and receiving or giving out bad information. Knowing that a term means a certain definition with in the justice system helps to pass information correctly to another person or persons and without this knowledge a person can give information that can lead to misinterpretation and could ruin results or lead to false interpretations and limitations. Having a professional within any field who does not know the proper terminology in his or her field means that the person is not a professional in his or her field because a person should know and be able to properly identify the terms needed to succeed and excel in their profession.
Knowing these terms and also understanding these terms and other terms will help assist me in not only understanding the data and other information that is giving to me, but also to help me in giving data and information to other people. Not knowing the proper terms can lead me to confuse other people in my field in which may or may not cause a waste in time, conclusion that are not correct, and information that can be lost when misunderstood. Knowing the proper terminology in the criminal justice field will help me also to succeed and further my career without having problems or wasting time on trying to figure out what I am reading or how to write and talk to other professionals. Evaluations in research of criminal justice policies also require that I fully understand the terminology because knowing what certain words mean is very important in relaying these messages and policies to other people within the department and also to anyone else who request this type of information.