Methodical Review


Assignment 1: A Methodical Review

Using the Argosy University online library resources, locate a research study related to forensic psychology. Present an analysis of the article by addressing the following points:

Provide a brief overview of the problem being studied, the research design, and the participants being used for the study and the general findings of the study.

Identify the research question, independent variable, and dependent variable.

If you were the researcher conducting this study and found that you were not familiar with the particular research population, what steps would you take to prepare yourself to conduct the research with this population?

Was any deception used in this study? If so, why was this deception necessary? If not, do you think that the study would have benefited from any kind of deception?

What steps did the researcher take to protect his or her participants?

What are the limitations of the study’s design and/or implementation?

If you were the researcher, would you have conducted this study the same way in relation to ethics and protection of the participants? If not, what changes would you make?

Sample paper

Methodical Review

Mulder, Brand, Bullens, and van Marle (2011) examine the risk factors associated with increased likelihood of recidivism among juvenile offenders with serious crimes. The study also analyzes the degree of recidivism each of the risk factors may induce among serious juvenile offenders. This study is a retrospective cohort study of the factors that increase the risk of recidivism among juvenile offende. The researchers explore a cohort of juvenile offenders between 1995 and 2004. The participants ranged between 12 – 22 years. However, all participants were minors at the time of committing the offence. The findings indicate that overall recidivism rate is about 80%. In addition, the study finds that the nature of the family in terms of criminal activities, the ability of the juvenile offender to cope with challenges, and adherence to treatment were the major factors determining the degree of recidivism.

The research question seeks to identify the range of risk factors that increase the likelihood of recidivism among juvenile offenders who complete their sentence. The dependent variable in the study is the degree of recidivism among juvenile offenders. The study seeks to analyze the impact of various risk factors on the degree of recidivism that may occur. A number of independent variables were also identified in the study. These include poor parenting skills, lack of victim empathy, the number of past offenses, lack of coping strategies, history of criminal behavior in the family, and among others.

If I were not familiar with the particular research population, it would be prudent to conduct a literature review of existing studies detailing the particular prison population. A literature review can enable a researcher identify key issues that he/she is likely to encounter in the study of the particular population. For instance, the researcher can be able to learn about the various limitations encountered by previous researchers. The researcher can thus plan in order to avoid such limitations.

The study did not involve any form of deception. The study could not have benefited from deception because the responses required from participants could not be used to incriminate any of them. The participants were basically required to score an instrument without having to answer serious questions such as other form of crimes they have committed. In order to protect participants, the researchers sought the approval of Medical Ethical Commission of Erasmus University Medical Center to conduct the study. The university medical center provided guidelines for conducting the research. In addition, the researchers maintain confidentiality by not revealing any information that may reveal the true identify of the participants.

The study utilized a retrospective design. The information obtained from the study was obtained from official records or files. A major limitation of this type of study is that information was obtained only from files. Obtaining information from other sources such as parents could provide robust data. If I were the researcher, I would most likely conduct the study in the same way, especially with regard to ethics and protection of participants. This is because the researchers in the study seek the approval of relevant body in order to conduct the research. The researchers also follow the outlined guidelines in conducting the study.


Mulder, E., Brand, E., Bullens, R., & van Marle, H. (2011). Risk factors for overall recidivism     and severity of recidivism in serious juvenile offenders. International Journal of Offender        Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 55(1), 118-135. Retrieved from