SAGE Journal Articles
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Meldrum, Ryan Charles and Alex R. Piquero. On the Potential Implications of Reports of Fictitious Drug Use for Survey Research on Juvenile Delinquency. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 59*9): 986-1005.
A variety of methodological issues have been raised over self-reports of delinquency and its correlates. In this study, we call attention to the provision of untruthful information and provide an investigation of this issue using a survey item that assesses a respondent’s use of a fictitious drug in relation to reports of delinquency and traditional criminological correlates. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted based on data drawn from a probability sample of middle and high school students in Florida. Results show (a) there are important differences on key criminological variables between respondents who report use of a fictitious drug and those who do not; (b) the internal consistency of a variety index of delinquency is particularly sensitive to the inclusion of respondents reporting the use of a fictitious drug; and (c) the effect size of some criminological variables on delinquency may be sensitive to controlling for reports of fictitious drug use. Overall, the inclusion of fictitious drug use items within etiological models may serve as a useful approach to further establishing the reliability and validity of information provided by survey respondents.
Crime victimization surveys are important sources of trend information and provide data for basic criminological research. In recent years, victim surveys have proliferated and their strengths are well known. The aim of this study is to increase the methodological literature on victim surveys by analysing framing effects, defined as the way the survey instrument communicates its topic and aim, especially in terms of the gendered nature of violence. Three experimental frames were applied to independent, random samples of the adult Finnish population: male-to-male violence frame, female-to-male violence frame, and male-to-female violence frame. The impacts of these frames were analysed in relation to two outcome variables: self-assessed propensity to report hypothetical borderline incidents in a victim survey and reporting of prior personal violent victimization. Thus, we utilized measures of both intended survey reporting behaviour and real survey reporting behaviour. The findings indicate that the male-to-female violence frame increases the willingness of the respondents to report borderline cases to survey researchers, regardless of other factors. It also increases the prevalence of reported prior victimizations. The female-to-male frame has a similar but weaker framing effect. The findings are discussed from the point of view of the ‘conversation’ paradigm of survey methods research.
Violence and victimization inside the prison setting are accepted as facts, although the facts about their prevalence remain uncertain. Variation in the methods used to estimate rates of sexual and physical victimization contribute to the wide range in estimates appearing in the prison literature. This article focuses on the questions used in the prison victimization literature to elicit information on victimization from inmates, compared to questions used in the general victimization literature. The questions used in the National Violence Against Women and Men Surveys are used to estimate sexual and physical victimization rates for an entire prison system. Rates of victimization were found to vary significantly by specificity of the question, definition of perpetrator, and clustering of behaviors. Facts about victimization inside prison will become more certain when the methodology becomes more standardized and consistent with definitions of victimization.