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Quality of Academic Survey Research

Competencies Addressed in This Discussion

  • Competency 1: Differentiate research methods used by criminal justice agencies.
  • Competency 3: Contrast the research methods used by criminal justice agencies and scholar-practitioners.


In critiquing survey research in existing literature, it is important to focus on the quality of the surveys reported in academic journals that present survey data on criminology/criminal justice-related topics. Specific items to consider include the sampling design, manner of administration, response rate, and number of surveys completed, as well as the key findings of a study. Some of the attraction for survey research is its versatility because they can be used to explore almost any topic. Surveys are efficient in that more data can be collected at a lower cost, and relatively quickly, compared to other research methods. Surveys can have high generalizability as they lend themselves to probability sampling from large populations.

The purpose of this discussion is to gain a deeper understanding of the function and utility of surveys as a viable research method. For this discussion, use your library research skills to locate a research article in an academic journal that presents survey data on a criminology/criminal justice-related topic and address the following in your main post:

  1. Explain the sampling design, manner of administration, response rate, and number of surveys completed for the survey selected based on the information presented in the methods section of the article selected.
  2. Analyze the key findings of the study, as stated in the abstract (or in the absence of the abstract, in the findings section of the article), in the context of the study’s problem statement.
  3. Explore the generalizability of the findings based on the survey.
  4. Determine whether there are any potential problems for generalizability based on response rates for each survey.

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