DATE OF LAST UPDATE: 12/20/05 - 9 am

CJ 160 SECTION 001

FALL 2005

R. B. Taylor

Main Course Page:

Instructor Home Page:

All users : See LEGAL link below.





Is THIS a science project, following sound research methods guidelines?

CLICK HERE if you need ANOTHER copy of the in-class, mass questionnaire you and your colleagues completed

CLICK HERE for group results on hypothesis testing

Class Bulletin Board Important information will be posted here

12/20 - more detailed final grade spreadsheet posted - go to memos


- final grades posted -go to memos

- Test 4 results posted - go to memos

12/16/05 CLICK HERE for grades to date - email me at if there are questions

12/12/05 - review sheet answers for test 4 - CLICK HERE

11/28/05 - last extra credit option and outside speaker on 12/5 - go to memos

11/28/05 - if you missed class last Wednesday - to go memos


11/14/05 - please bring your copy of Brady research paper to class

11/14/05 - test and paper grades to date posted - check memos or CLICK HERE

11/14/05 - PAPER 1 - results - including adjusted grade - CLICK HERE

11/14/05 - TEST 3 results along with keys and questions posted - go to memos or CLICK HERE

11/9/05 - new ethics readings uploaded - go to sequence page - go to memos to see questions to go with readings or CLICK HERE


10/19/05 - IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR TURNING IN PAPER 1 - also info on how to check Test 2 questions - CLICK HERE

10/13/05 - Memo posted on Test 2 - go to Memos or CLICK HERE

10/10/05 - PAPER 1 assignment posted. Due 10/20. Go to papers.\

10/2/05 - memo posted about test 2 CLICK HERE or go to memos

9/25 - handout posted CLICK HERE or go to memos - to fill out in class on MOnday 9/26

9/23 - full list of questions to accompany RMCJ readings now available. Recommended!

9/22 - CLICK HERE to get a handout for class on Friday (9/23) and Monday (9/26)
9/22 - CLICK HERE if you need a copy of the "fill in the blanks" worksheet used in class 9/21 and 9/23

9/20/05 -  HANDOUT for class on 9/21 - go to memos or CLICK HERE

9/20/05 - test 1 grades are posted - go to memos or CLICK HERE

9/20/05 -  HANDOUT for class on 9/21 - go to memos or CLICK HERE

9/15/05 TEST 1 FRIDAY 9/16 CLICK HERE for a memo that answers some of your questions

9/11/05 RMCJ pages 77-94 and 111-118 have been moved to AFTER Test 1

1.Guidelines for class discussion posted. These will be distributed in class tomorrow. CLICK HERE to view
2. On the sequence of topics pages, at the top, is a link to questions/terms to think about as you read the RMCJ pages



Instructor R. B. Taylor (GH 536-7)
Teaching Assistant Marie Garcia (GH 517)
Time and Place MWF 10:40 - 11:30 AL 7
Office Hours INSTRUCTOR: Monday 12-2 or by appointment

TA:  Tuesday and Thursday, 1 - 3 pm, or by appointment GH 517


TEL: 215.204.7169 (v). You also can ring 1-7918 and ask Ms. Salerno if we need to chat and the phone is not being picked up.
TEL: 215.204.9180 (v)

Special Services

Students who may require special services should notify the instructor at the earliest opportunity, and I will put you into contact with the Office of Disability Resources and Services at Temple (  ; 215.204.1280). You may require special services if you are sight or hearing impaired, or if you wish to register for gaining extra time for taking exams.

Books and Readings


 James B. Jacobs.(2002) Can gun control work? New York: Oxford University Press. PAPERBACK EDITION 

James B. Jacobs. (1989). Drunk driving: An American Dilemma. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. PAPERBACK EDITION

Taylor, R. B. (1994). Research methods in criminal justice. New York: McGraw Hill. DO NOT BUY - ONLY READING SELECT PAGES - COPIES ON 2 HOUR RESERVE IN PALEY - Pages also available via pdf files, online, see below

VARIOUS articles which will be attached to the main course website or which you will be instructed to retrieve


Provost, G. 1994. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing. New York: Signet.

Strunk, W., and White, E.B. (1972) The Elements of Style (2nd Ed.). New York: MacMillan.

OF COURSE I recommend Temple University Bookstore as your official source of all in the world of textbooks and Temple sweatshirts. The above prices are provided just for comparison purposes. I am not officially affiliated with AMAZON.COM nor do I recommend them in any manner shape or form.

For information purposes, there are also a number of places where you can access used books, included and - I do not officially recommend those either, of course. If YOU choose to go with an on-line book seller, REMEMBER there is a lag in delivery time - I don't want to hear any crying as we are coming up to the first exam -- and that delivery charges are extra.


Criminal justice is a lot of things. Most importantly, however, it is a liberal arts, social science discipline.

Liberal arts. Because it is a liberal arts discipline its purpose is to encourage all of us -- you, your fellow students, and me the instructor -- to think more deeply about, and reflect seriously on, a range of problems, institutions, and principles that are woven into the deepest core of our society.

The problems relevant to criminal justice sprawl as endlessly as runaway growth in Chester County. In this course you are going to learn a little bit about two of these topics - drunk driving and guns. You will learn what some of the big issues and questions are. Even thought this is a research methods course we can get interested in and informed about these problems.

As we think hard about these matters we will be sharing opinions and listening to one another. Hopefully, we can do so in a productive manner. See the guidelines on classroom decorum .

Social Science . But criminal justice is also a social science. That means to help us answer questions we rely upon sound social science data. There are some things that we can quantify and study so as to learn more about them. If we ban assault weapons, will the murder rate go down?  If we have police crack down on drunk drivers, will we have fewer DUIs?

You might respond: aren't individual scientific studies useless because either a) they are "biased:"; or b) you can always find one study whose results contradict another study?; or c) you can make numbers say anything you want?

These are tough questions. The short answer is a) yes studies are limited but good quality studies can help us answer specific questions; b) yes, studies sometimes contradict one another but when you look at them as a group, usually the weight of the evidence swings one way or another and c) no; good quality studies follow prescribed guidelines about what data to get how to get it how to handle and analyze it and how to report it. In this course you will be learning how to tell a good quality study from a bad one, and how to "dissect" a research publication, so you can decide how much weight to give that study.

But it certainly IS true that there are some questions and answers that CANNOT be definitively answered with social science data either because the problem or question is too huge, or the ethical and societal constraints against doing the studies we need are so strong that we can not do the studies in question, or the question is framed too broadly. Examples of some questions we will not be able to answer:

When questions like these arise, I will try and work with you to see if we can reframe them to make them more answerable, or think about the data we would need to really answer them.

You are all entitled to your opinions on big questions like these, and I look forward to our sharing them. Part of reflecting more deeply on the topic - the liberal arts part - is listening to one another. But opinions only get us so far, even when those opinions are grounded in personal experience.  Those experiences are valid, and I do not seek to deny them. But I do hope this course will give you a more general picture, based both on data and principles and reasoning, that helps you put your personal experience in a broader context.

This class is a success if, by the end of the semester you can:

A Revised Approach for Undergraduate Research Methods

I have been teaching research methods since 1985. Prior to 1999, the course has included three major sections: the logic of scientific inquiry (how do we frame an investigation?); benchmarks of scientific quality (how do I know if a particular study, or a particular piece of empirical information, is any good?); and the different types of tools available to researchers for collecting information (surveys, experiments, quasi-experiments, content analyses, simulations, and so on).

Since 1999  I have spent more in-class time, and devoted more class readings to learning about two particular problems, and evaluating data about those problems. Empirical research on teaching effectiveness has argued for a closer integration of research methods with content and policy issues. (See, for example: Gulley (1982) in Teaching Sociology 10 65-70; or Johnson and Steward (1997) Teaching Sociology 25 168-175). In addition, articles on the teaching of research methods has argued for involving students in specific research projects. Although enrollments in 160 have typically been too large to devote students to individual research projects, I have in the past attempted to involve students in small scale In addition, I have attempted to more closely focus the course by focusing on two specific issues that have both theoretical and policy relevance.

I have chosen two topics for the focus: drunk driving, and guns. Students in past semesters have been  generally positive to the approach, and found learning about these problems to be an interesting endeavour. To learn more about their reactions you can see: Taylor, R. B., Anderson, T., and McConnell, P. (2003). Competencies and interest in a problem-focused undergraduate research methods criminal justice course: Two assessments. Journal of Criminal Justice Education 14 133-148. 

I am continuing with that approach this semester. We are going to work our way through these two different problems that are important to the criminal justice system and for the larger society. I will spend a lot of time

The Web represents increasingly an important source of information. If you go on to work in the field, and do not go to graduate school, you are more likely to use the Web to help you make a decision related to your job, than you are to look up a journal article in the library. I am not saying this trend is good or bad, it's just what's happening. Therefore, I think it is important for you to be able to learn how to find and evaluate web sources. We will spend some time learning about evaluating web sites.

Guidelines on Classroom Expectations and Decorum

From the Professor


I expect you to strive to arrive in class on or before the stated starting time. Late entries disturb everyone. I expect you to be in class for the duration; if it is absolutely essential that you must leave before class ends, please let me know before class starts.

If you are arriving more than five minutes after the scheduled class starting time, PLEASE DO NOT COME IN. If you have another instructor who is holding you over, please speak with him/her at your earliest convenience and tell him/her you need to leave promptly at 12:50

PLEASE NOTE: On many days the participation point cards are BOTH distributed and collected within the first five minutes of class time.

Special Dates

There will be some "special" class dates that we will announce as the semester progresses. On these dates we may have any of the following: an in-class video, a portion of a movie, or an in-class speaker. You need to regularly check the memos section to keep posted about these dates. I will try to let you know a week in advance. If you miss class on these dates you may miss information that is crucial to a paper or a test or a participation point. You can check the memos section at

Cell phones, calculators, palm pilots, pagers and plain old newspapers

Turn these off before you come to class. These are enormously disturbing to your colleagues. If by chance you forget to turn it off, and your phone or pager rings, I expect you to turn it off immediately. I do not expect you to answer it.

If I see that you are on the phone -- this includes doing text messaging -- for any reason whatsoever, I will probably ask you to leave the classroom and not return for the rest of the semester. When you are in class I expect you to be paying attention to what is happening.

I do not want people to be on their palm pilots in class. If you must use your palm pilot to take notes, then you should speak to me individually before you start doing this so you can explain your situation.

If, during an in-class examination, I see you consulting with or using any of these devices, I will ask you for your test, which will be assigned a failing grade, and you and I will speak further about how to proceed from that point.

I do NOT expect you to be reading the newspaper, or a trade magazine, during class. This "sends a message" that you would just as soon be somewhere else and is disrespectful to the instructor.

Handing in Papers

Given the size of this class, I am PRETTY SURE I will  be asking you to turn in papers using the course BLACKBOARD site using TURNITIN. I will be checking to be sure this system continues to work but at this juncture you should plan on submitting ALL PAPERS ELECTRONICALLY through the BLACKBOARD site. At this point we are NOT accepting papers submitted sent to our EMAIL addresses.  


Although  many of you have classes both before and after this one, but please try to avoid bringing food to class; it is oftentimes disturbing to others. A soda or a cup of coffee is fine if you REALLY NEED IT - but please DO NOT BRING FOOD. PLUS: this room was redone just two years ago.

How I "Count" Participation

As you can see from the course requirements, there is a participation portion. Here is how that is calculated. On different days in class you will be asked to fill something out. Sometimes I ask for your name, sometimes I do NOT ask for your name. I will collect these during class, or at the end of class be sure to get the form or card you filled out to Ms. Garcia. We keep track of these when we ask for names on them. At the end of the semester we count up the proportion of times you completed these.

I will probably ask you to fill these out with names about 10 - 12 times, but maybe more, during the semester.

Going In and Out of "Buzz" Groups

We will be breaking out into small discussion or "buzz" groups of no more than five students. When we come out of these groups we can lose a lot of time unless we really make an effort to re-focus on what is happening in the larger classroom. Please try to help rather than slow down this transition

From the Students: Finding the Bounds of Civil Discourse

In this class we will spend a lot of time on topics that are highly controversial and emotionally charged. We will only be able to discuss these topics if we can agree on how to speak to one another and how to listen to one another

As a class you will spend time in small groups suggesting guidelines for class discussion. These guidelines will cover how you talk to and listen to each other, and other expectations as well. Once those guidelines are defined you will receive a copy, and I will post them on the web site.

GUIDELINES (not completed yet)

The Class Survey and Class Differences

We can learn the most when we strive to listen to views different from our own, and phrase our own views so that they can be understood by others with different perspectives. You will probably find in this class when you express an point of view  that some agree with you, and others disagree with you. I hope that as this class evolves you all will feel comfortable about contributing and will see these differences as a learning opportunity rather than a hindrance.

We can learn the most when we strive to listen to views different from our own, and phrase our own views so that they can be understood by others with different perspectives. You will probably find in this class when you express an opinion that some agree with you, and others disagree with you. To help you get a better sense of these differences, I will provide you with some information documenting these differences. You will complete an in-class questionnaire very early in the semester. We will use this information so that we can better understand how we are different from each other on topics related to class material and criminal justice more generally.

 Grades and Grading Policies

Your grade is based in the following:

60%  Average grade on all four tests.
30% Average grade on ALL paper assignments. Currently we plan to have anywhere from 1 - 3 short papers. There may be more, there may be fewer. You will receive detailed instructions on completing each paper at least a week before it is due. These are SHORT papers. Sometimes they are limited to just one page. Sometimes they are up to five pages.
10% Participation. Some days when we complete in-class work I will ask you to turn something in with your name on it. I then add these up.
NOTE. YOU WILL RECEIVE A FAILING GRADE IF YOU DO NOT: complete at least all four tests and turn in all papers
NOTE: See grading policies for guidelines on late and missed exams, late papers, and how not to lose points with your papers.

Grading Policies

Academic Misconduct - see College Statement

We will discuss in class the nature of academic misconduct, including plagiarism. You are responsible for understanding the different varieties of academic misconduct. If I encounter solid evidence of academic misconduct I will discuss the matter with you, and then deliver the consequence I deem appropriate. Possible consequences include: failure on the assignment in question (i.e., a 0); assigning a failing grade for the course; or attempting to have you expelled from Temple University. Should you wish to contest a decision I make on academic misconduct, I will inform you of the procedures to follow. The department and the college have fully specified grievance procedures.

 Makeup Policy

There will be no makeups for missed quizzes or exams unless
* you notify me before the missed event
* and you have a reason for missing the quiz or exam that I find valid (e.g., car accident) (I no longer accept excuses like your friend's grandmother dying.)
* and I have something in writing, for my records, verifying the nature of the problem.

All these matters should be taken up with the instructor, not the TA.

 Late Assignments

     Assignments are due on the date indicated. I reserve the right to lower the grade for assignments that are handed in late. The amount the grade is lowered increases the longer the delay before turning in the assignment. Depending on the assignment, the grade may be lowered 1% to 10% a day.
     If you have an excuse for a late assignment I will take this in to account only if you notify me beforehand about the problem and I find your excuse for the delay to be a valid one and I have something in writing. Again, a friend's grandfather's death may be questionable.

 Regrading policy

     You have the right to submit any assignment for regrading. I do not pretend to be a perfect grader. If you wish to submit an assignment for regrading proceed as follows:

  1. Prepare a written statement explaining why the assignment should be regraded. This applies to written assignments, essay exams, and multiple choice exam questions where you think there was more than one correct answer. Be specific about why what I thought was the wrong answer you thought was right, or explain how I missed an important point you were making.

  2. On a cover sheet print your name, last six digits of your SSN, name of the assignment or test, date of the assignment or test, and the date you submitted the assignment for regrading.

  3. Staple the cover sheet to your written rationale and to the original assignment; return all of this to me.

I will review your request for regrading. I will consult with other faculty if I deem that appropriate. As a result of your request for regrading the grade on your original assignment may stay the same, or it may go up, or it may go down.

Special Note About Assigned Readings and In-class coverage

It is not possible to cover all the important points of an assigned reading during classroom time. Class time will be devoted to covering some but not all the important topics in the reading. Class time also serves to cover additional topics outside of the assigned reading, and to carry out demonstrations, class exercises and group work that – hopefully – facilitate your learning of important points.

Consequently, it is your responsibility to bring to my attention points that you think deserve further coverage. You may do this by posing focused questions about a reading at the beginning of class, meeting with me during office hours, or setting up a special time to see me and go over the material.

I suggest that you adopt the following strategies for doing the readings:

A Split Web Personality

This course uses both a dedicated website AND Blackboard (CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH - CJ 160 - SEC 001) . You need to be able to navigate your way around both of these.

I will try to put all the major class materials - assignments, instructions, and so on - out on the main class website. This is found at:

There are a NUMBER of resources on my web page; you should take time to familiarize yourself with them. Most pertinent to this class is the social science link page

and the webliography on guns and DUI (see link at top of page)

COURSE DETAILS AND SCHEDULED EVENTS MAY CHANGE. Check back frequently to the main course web page; in the update box I will let you know about:

Right now the SEQUENCE OF TOPICS AND READINGS is TENTATIVE  so be sure to check that regularly for changes.

You will be using BLACKBOARD's TURNITIN procedure to turn in your papers. Instructions to follow.