Criminal Justice Terminologies In Research


There are certain research terminologies that students doing criminal justice should know. These are terminologies that are associated with the criminal justice. It is hard to read a criminal justice report without first understanding the terms that have been used in the report. Research usually has its own language, and when studied and applied, it makes it easy to read the report. There are certain terms that a research should be aware of that might have different meanings when conducting research in the field of criminal justice (Hagan, 2009). Research methods play a significant role in criminal justice where effective research methods have the ability of opening and closing cases. This paper will focus on explaining new terminologies that are learnt from the reading, how the terminologies apply in criminal justice, and the effects of not knowing the proper terminologies when conducting criminal justice research.


Knowing the terminologies in criminal justice is extremely essential as these terminologies help the criminal justice system to run in a smooth manner. When the terminologies are not known well, this is likely going to cause damage to the career of an individual. Writing the incorrect information in the research can cause a negative impact to the outcome (Hagan, 2009). When the research has information that is inaccurate, the research tends to decrease its credibility. Understanding the terms and completing research appropriately help an individual in the field of criminal justice to complete their job effectively and in the highest standards possible. Some of the terminologies that were learnt during the reading include pure research, methodology, applied research, qualitative research, quantitative, operationalization, research shock, Lucifer effect, and shield laws.

 Shield laws

Shield law is described as the law that is set in place so that to protect the writers from disclosing confidential information from the source. It constitutes governmental immunity from prosecution. This law offers an enormous advantage to reporters as they cannot be subpoenaed by a court to testifying about information that is recovered for a new story. The writer usually has the right of not answering questions which may compromise the information source. According to the shield law, it protects the writer and the reporter and also the source of information.

Lucifer effect

Lucifer effect can be described as the point when a normal person crosses the boundary that exists between evil and good in engaging in an evil action. This term refers to the transformation of the character of a person which causes the good people to engage in evil actions.

Research shock

Research shock is explained as a sense of disorientation that is experienced by a person when they are suddenly confronted with unfamiliar style of research language and presentation. This usually happen when an individual, is exposed to foreign language meaning is essential for an individual to understand a second language of the culture that you might have or have contact with.

 Problem formulation

This is a style or a way of solving issues. The formulation of a problem is usually guided by personal experience, which is a problem at the back of the mind where a person wonders about. Problem formulation in the field of criminal justice can be crime related, how to improve problems, or how a crime can be solved. A best way in which a research can be conducted is through finding gaps in the data from the previous year and then making a conclusion which will correct the data.


This term defines concepts through describing the way they will be measured or be expressed in a quantitative manner. Operational or working definitions are some other terms that can be used to refer to the process (Hagan, 2009). The term of operationalization is defined in the response of a statement like “I measured it by.” When this sentence is completed, it tends to constitute the concept of operationalization.

 Qualitative research

Qualitative research is the concept that is viewed as sensitizing terms and ideas which enhance understanding. This research emphasis’s the qualitative approach of understanding the reality which is being investigated.

Quantitative research

This is a concept that is assigned to numerical values. The concepts in this research are usually assigned numerical values, which are to have a better understanding about a large organization or group (Bennett, et al 2003). This is a research which is flexible as it can adjust to the settings and later adjustments can be made to the research.

 Applied research

This is a practical research that is concerned with correcting immediate policy problems in order to change a policy or a product. An applied research is about taking information or more sources and putting them together in order to find the changes that need to be made.

Pure research

This is a slow process, and it might take years or months. It is about finding information that teaches, shows, and creates a discovery (Hagan, 2009). This is considered as the main foundation of a new research. An example is in doing a DNA research which started many years ago.


This is a method that involves the collection of accurate data and facts that regard to the nature of criminal justice policy or crime. In the field of criminal justice, the methodology is usually used in researching, solving of crimes, and laying out of facts. It also helps in presenting information in the court. The method that is used in the research normally assists the criminal justice system in investigating and getting a better understanding of a certain crime.

How the terminologies apply in criminal justice

These terminologies are incredibly helpful in the field of criminal justice, and they aid in the specialty that a person is taking. These terminologies are helpful to a person who is doing research as they are able to understand the several, performance of research and the terminologies can be applied in the performance of an individual’s job duties. With these terminologies, they provide a person with a better understanding of research and ways the research should be carried to assist them. Having knowledge about these terminologies helps a person to have a better understanding about issues in the field of criminal justice.

Effect of not knowing terminologies

Lack of knowledge about the terminologies, when doing a research in criminal justice, can result to a person not using the correct information. Providing information that is not correct can have a negative impact to the outcome of the research. People who are working in the field of criminal justice should understand that a lot of people depend on them when need understands. The criminal justice system has control of the lives of people, and it can determine what will happen next. Lack of knowledge on proper terminologies can affect the life of a person, and it may even cause death. For instance, a detective should know how to handle evidence and laws so that to provide proper support.

Knowing the terms can be an asset

When a person participates in the field of criminal justice, knowing the terminologies indicate that a person understands the proper use of research and how they should conduct their job in this field. When writing a detailed report, it is essential to use data which shows the outcomes of the crime or incidents. This will have an enormous impact to the department and also to the individual. Having the ability to show creditable information in the research that a person has conducted possesses an incredible look on a person. Showing the fact that a person is knowledgeable in whatever they are doing tend to open doors for more work at higher levels. This indicates to the superiors that you are knowledgeable and understands what you are doing and that the work is credible which makes you a criminal justice system asset.


Doing research in the field of criminal justice tend to have exceedingly many areas and having knowledge about the avenues tend to make a person an asset. Showing that one understands their work and can back it up with relevant information results to a positive impact in a person’s career. Lack of knowledge about the proper terminologies in a certain field can make a person not to understand what they are supposed to discover in a certain research.


Hagan, F (2009). Research methods in criminal justice and criminology Prentice Hall

Triola, M Briggs, W & Bennett, J (2003). Statistical reasoning for everyday life Addison Wesley Longman


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