Criminological theory often focuses on the offenses for which you can be arrested. However there are offenses, such as traffic violations, that are still against the law even though people are not arrested for them. Data collection is an important aspect in reducing both types of offenses, as well as community complaints. There are several methods that can be used to collect data:
- Surveys: Oftentimes, a public service organization will send out surveys on a particular issue to collect information from the surrounding community. This is a great way to gather an unbiased opinion based on random polling methods.
- Audits on Organizational Reports: Audits can be performed on a search to see how many traffic citations were written during a specific time period.
- Sampling: With any data collection method, it is important to verify that the sample is an accurate representation of the larger population. Sampling occurs when data is collected from a small portion of the general population. Verifying that the sample reflects unbiased results ensures valid findings.
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Review the different collection methods identified in this module. Select one collection method addressed in this course and discuss how it can inform and impact your decision-making process.