SAGE Journal Articles

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Polkinghorne, Donald E. Validity Issues in Narrative Research. Validity Issues in Narrative Research 13(4): 471-486.

Attention to the judgments about the validity of research-generated knowledge claims is integral to all social science research. During the past several decades, knowledge development has been split into two communities: conventional researchers and reformist researchers. Narrative research is positioned within the reformist community. The two communities use different kinds of data and employ different analytic processes. In both communities, researchers develop arguments to convince readers of the validity of their knowledge claims. Both need to respond to threats to validity inherent in their designs. The threats particular to narrative research relate to two areas: the differences in people's experienced meaning and the stories they tell about this meaning and the connections between storied texts and the interpretations of those texts.

Perez, Deanna M. and Eric D. Wish. Gender Differences in the Validity of the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory-3 (SASSI-3) With a Criminal Justice Population. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 55(3): 476-491.

The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory—3 is a brief, self-administered screening tool designed to measure the probability of having a substance dependence disorder. The present study assessed the validity of this instrument with an inmate population using a DSM-IV diagnosis of substance dependence as the criterion measure. The study also examined instrument validity by gender. Findings revealed differences in the prediction of dependence between male and female inmates. The advantages and shortcomings of the instrument are discussed in light of these findings, and suggestions for future research are advanced.

Decker, Scott H. and David C. Pyrooz. On the Validity and Reliability of Gang Homicide: A Comparison of Disparate Sources. Homicide Studies 14(4): 359-376.

One of the vexing problems of criminology is the search for valid and reliable measures of offending and victimization. Gang research has been plagued by similar concerns. This article provides an assessment of the reliability and validity of measures of gang homicide using police and survey reports collected from different sources over five annual points in time (2002-2006). Given public and political claims about the role of gangs in crime, assessing the validity of such measures is of critical importance to research and policy. Using data gathered from Uniform Crime Reports, Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR), and National Gang Center (NGC), the results indicated that gang homicide data were found to meet tests of reliability and validity. Supplementary analyses, however, revealed that the specialized measurement system (NGC) outperformed the generalized measurement system (SHR). The results provide strong support for the use of NGC measures of gang homicide, but not SHR measures of gang homicide, in cross-sectional and time-series research. We conclude by offering suggestions for future research.

Johnson, Bruce D., Angela Taylor, and Andrew Golub. Research Note: How Accurate are Arrestees' Self-Reports of Their Criminal Justice Histories? Justice Research and Policy 7(1): 81-101.

This research note addresses the accuracy of arrestees' self-reports of contacts with the criminal justice system as a means of exploring the relative importance of various sources of inaccurate responding. Erroneous self-report of sensitive behaviors has been linked to deception, memory problems, and faulty criterion measures, among other things. However, the existent literature provides limited guidance for investigating the relative importance of these factors in a given study. Further, variations in the amount and types of inaccuracy cannot be distinguished by commonly used summary agreement statistics, such as kappa. These issues were examined using data from the Policing Project, a National Institute of Justice-funded research study designed to explore new means of evaluating police behavior. The project interviewed 892 New York City arrestees during the second half of 1999. Subjects were asked about several forms of criminal justice system contact, and gave informed consent for researchers to obtain their official criminal histories, which were acquired from the state agency as an anonymous data set. A key finding was that the accuracy of arrestee self-reports compared to official criminal histories varied according to specific measures. Agreement regarding arrest in the prior six months was substantial, but other measures were less accurate. Overreporting was about equal to underreporting of criminal justice contacts across several measures. We conclude that arrestee self-reports continue to be valuable for criminological research. While arrestee self-reports may lack the precision and accuracy that criminal justice practitioners might prefer, the limitations of official records contribute substantially to inaccuracies between self-reports and criminal histories.