California Lutheran University
The ABC Gang Intervention program is geared toward reducing cases of recidivism. Nonetheless, the number of gang members committing crimes, despite the availability of classes such as anger management and parenting, has increased. This begs the research question whether the ABC Gang Intervention Program lowers recidivism among released gang members in comparison to those who don’t participate in the program.
It is important that the variables for evaluating the study are clearly spelled out (Bernard, 2011). The significance of these factors in establishing how effective the ABC program is cannot be understated. The variables are either dependent or independent. Independent variables – those that stand alone and aren’t changed by other variables that are being measured (Bernard, 2011) – for this research include program enrollment, nature of the offense, prior offense, year in which the offender was released and demographic factors such as age, marital status and sex of the offender. The program enrollment as a variable can be further broken down into two dummy variables to give a clear picture of participation in the program, and completion of the program. “Y” indicates participation and completion of the program and “N” indicate non-participation or failure to complete.
On the other hand, the dependent variable – the variable that is dependent on other variables being measured – will be recidivism. The variable defines whether an individual previously in the program re-enters the program for the same reason within three years. The dependent variable is nominal and could have two values: “Y” and “N”. “Y” implies the number of offenders who reoffended and are readmitted to the program within three years of release and “N” represents the number that does not re-offend within the three years.
I propose a quasi-experimental design – a research method that stresses pre-established groups. A pre-test and post-test are conducted on the group subjected to the program and the comparison group (Bernard, 2011)– using a timeline of five years. The groups are gang members who chose to participate in the intervention program and those who don’t. Each group will be evaluated to see how long it takes for released gang members to fall into recidivism within the established timeline (some may not at all).
This design uses pre-formed, or pre-established, groups, which is a weakness since subjects wouldn’t be randomly assigned (Fowler, n.d.). Therefore, the motivation behind prisoners won’t be accounted for thereby leaving room for doubt as to whether a released gang member had no intention of reforming or would have reformed despite the intervention program. There will be no control group for this design to verify the motivation. On the other hand, the strength of this design is that it will follow subjects for five years. Also, the design includes several independent factors, which helps with external validity.
While conducting this research, it is important to keep internal and external validity in mind. Internal validity ensures multiple independent variables aren’t acting at the same time. Hence, I need to ensure I don’t allow independent variables such the nature of the offense and level of involvement/ enrollment with the program to confound. External validity is the level of applicability of the research results to the greater population (Thomas, Nelson & Silverman, n.d.). Thus, because the study covers several independent variables over a five-year span, the results can be applied to the greater population.
The primary method of evaluation will include observations. The subjects will be observed for their legal record, any court orders, their attendance and participation in ABC programs and services, and maintaining appointments relating to programs and services. In addition, the study will involve the use of questionnaire and interviews. The questionnaire with both open and closed questions about the variables under study will be used to collect data about the population under study (Thomas, Nelson & Silverman, n.d.).
My research staff will include sociologists to grasp the power of societal stresses and recidivism and individuals trained in social psychology. There will be three primary researchers. One will follow released gang members who took part in the intervention program, another will follow members who didn’t take part in the program, and the last one will combine the results. The research will require basic supplies and can be completed in about $10,000, which would include the compensation for staff members.
Bernard, H. (2011). Research methods in anthropology. Lanham, MD: AltaMira.
Fowler, F. Survey Research Methods.
Thomas, J., Nelson, J., & Silverman, S. Research methods in physical activity.