RA: Annotated Bibliography


Assignment 2: RA: Annotated Bibliography

The foundation of a research study comes from an understanding of the theory and from knowledge that is set forth by the literature in the field. Before a researcher can develop a sound and needed research design, he or she must first determine what is already known, how the topic has previously been studied, and where there are gaps in the knowledge and/or techniques that have been used to study the research problem.

In this module, you will further explore the research topic that you chose in M1 Assignment 2. Additionally, this will be the time to make any needed changes to your research question before you submit your proposal in M5 Assignment 2 RA 2. For this assignment, you will create a 3- to 4-page document following the directions given below.

Sample paper

RA: Annotated Bibliography

Falco, D. L., & Freiburger, T. L. (2011). Public opinion and the death penalty: A qualitative             approach. The Qualitative Report, 16(3), 830-847.

The duo examines the cost impacts of the death penalty with regard to its use across various states. Specifically, the study examines the public’s opinions concerning the suitability of the death penalty in the criminal justice system. The duo asserts that a strong public opinion in support of the death penalty is the main reason why some states continue to hand a death sentence to murder convicts. The study utilizes a qualitative approach in examining the public support for death penalty in the United States. The study utilizes focus groups as the primary strategy for data collection. Six focus groups were conducted in an effort to examine their attitudes and opinions concerning the death penalty. Participants in the focus groups were required to state their basic concerns about the death penalty, respond to past studies concerning the issue, and to analyze particular scenarios identified by the researchers. The research employs factor analysis as the key data analysis tool. Factor analysis is commonly used where there are multiple items in the data collected. The findings indicate that majority of participants identified cost and lengthy appeal process as the greatest flaws with the death penalty. The research also identifies complexities regarding the issue of whether the death penalty should continue or not. In particular, opinions given greatly varied basing on the nature of the offense or the offender characteristics. This article supports my proposed study by highlighting the impact of various individual characteristics such as ethnicity, sex, employment, and religion to the attitudes regarding the death penalty.

Jolie, M. (2014). The price of justice: interest-convergence, cost, and the anti-death penalty          movement. Northwestern University Law Review, 108(2) 675-710.

This study examines the death penalty debate from a legal viewpoint. The study looks at the historical development of the death sentence, and cross-examines this with modern policies regarding to death penalty across various states. The rationale of the study is to establish why the anti-death penalty advocates have largely gained prominence and much success in the modern period. This study adopts a theoretical approach in examining the success of the anti-death penalty movement across various states in the United States. The study adopts the “interest-convergence” theory as the key to establishing the success of the anti-death penalty movement. The interest-convergence theory stipulates that the abolishment of the death penalty in majority states is the result of the convergence the interests of white policymakers and those of African Americans. The study employs document analysis as the main strategy for data collection. The study draws data from General Assembly Office, field polls, and from a number of organizations. Data analysis was conducted through extensive sifting, coding, and sorting of data collected from a variety of sources. The findings support other studies that indicate high costs associated with the death penalty. The findings also indicate that anti-death penalty movements have been able to garner much support through pushing the interest-convergence story. The anti-death penalty advocates highlight the high costs of death penalty as the greatest factor to consider. In addition, they argue that the death penalty creates great inefficiencies that lawmakers ought to consider. This study is important since it introduces a theoretical approach to the death penalty debate. Specifically, the study helps in identifying the reasons for the increased popularity of anti-death penalty laws in various states.



Kevin, B., Mario, D., Ross, S. P., (2008). Racial different in public support for the death penalty:             can the racist sentiment and core values explain the racial divide? American Journal of           Criminal Justice, 33(2): 151-165.

Kevin, Mario, and Ross (2008) assess the racial differences that exist with regard to public opinion of the death penalty. The major goal of this study is to analyze the specific processes that contribute to differences in attitudes among various racial groups. The study also explores the values of patriotism, authoritarianism, individualism, and egalitarianism and their impacts on racial sentiments among individuals. This article notes that a number of past studies have identified a racial divide that exists, but fail to investigate the specific processes or factors contributing to the racial divide. The study utilizes quantitative as well as qualitative approaches to investigate the various issues relating to the racial divide and death penalty. The primary data collection method was the survey method. Data was obtained from the analysis of National Election Study held in 2004. The survey included respondents of African and White descent. The study utilizes regression models as the main method of data analysis. Regression model helps in analyzing the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables in research. The dependent variable in the research is support for death penalty. A number of independent variables were also established. The regression models indicate that there is a strong link between race and an individual’s attitude towards the death penalty. This research is important since it will assist me in assessing how races and other factors affect one’s attitude towards the death penalty.

Petersen, N., & Lynch, M. (2012). Prosecutorial discretion, hidden costs, and the death penalty:   the case of Los Angeles County. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102(4):   1233-1244.

This study examines the time-costs involved in processing of murder cases in the county of Los Angeles 1996 and 2008, and evaluates the manner in which prosecutorial discretion is applied in homicide cases. The study explores the possibility of capital filings and the time it takes to resolve such filings, noting the costs associated in such. The study notes that capital filings with various special circumstances are likely to take a significantly longer period compared to capital filings with only a single special circumstance. The duo investigates the research problem by utilizing a quantitative approach. A document review was used as the primary data collection strategy. Review of criminal records provides robust insights into the costs associated with the death penalty. The study employs regression analysis as the key data analysis tool. Regression analysis involves assessing whether one variable, the predictor variable, prescribes the outcome of another variable. The study uses a logistic regression model to analyze capital-filing notices among all cases involving the death penalty. The dependent variable used in the study is the time taken for a capital filing to be resolved. A number of independent variables were also selected for the study. The main independent variables were capital cases and special circumstance case. The findings from the first model used indicate that prosecutors are highly likely to push for death notices in cases with high volume of circumstance allegations. The findings also indicate that capital cases take significantly longer time to solve, hence leading to high costs in the criminal justice system. This study supports my hypothesis concerning the high costs of the death penalty. In addition, the study sheds light on special circumstance filings and their true nature.

Roman, J. K., Chalfin, A. J., & Knight, C. R. (2009). Reassessing the cost of the death penalty     using quasi-experimental methods: evidence from Maryland. American Law and          Economics Review, 11(2): 530-574.

The trio examines the cost of the death penalty in the State of Maryland. The article argues that existing literature is skewed in that it fails to input adequate statistical controls or that it contains inherent limitations to the sampling frame. The study utilizes data drawn from the State of Maryland and involving capital offenses to identify any extra costs incurred in filing for a death notice. The study employs multivariate models to check on the capital offense case selections and hidden costs that may be involved in the process. A quantitative approach is used to examine the costs of the death penalty. Specifically, the study utilizes quasi-experimental methods, which lack the aspect of random assignment of the subjects. Data collection involved document reviews of records detailing first-degree and second-degree murders from 1978 to 1999 and committed in the state of Maryland. A total 1311 cases were identified for the study. Of these cases, 1227 cases were identified as a suitable subsample for the study. The data analysis tool used in the study is multiple regression analysis. This tool enables the researcher to examine several variables with regard to a particular outcome. The article finds overwhelming evidence concerning the high costs of the death penalty. For any single death notice filed in Maryland, there is an addition $1 million in costs. This article helps support my hypothesis that higher costs are involved in the death penalty compared to a life sentence. The article is particularly useful since it controls for a number key competing costs that other researches fail to take into consideration.

Worthen, M. F., Rodgers, F. R., & Sharp, S. F. (2014). Expanding the spectrum of attitudes         toward the death penalty: how nondichotomous response options affect our      understandings of death penalty attitudes. Criminal Justice Review, 39(2): 160-181.

Worthen, Rodgers, and Sharp (2014) examine individual attitudes towards the death penalty in the United States. It is worth noting that the attitude held by the public greatly helps in shaping public policy towards the death penalty sentence. This study aims at developing an in-depth analysis of the attitudes that majority of Americans hold towards the death penalty. The study goes beyond what majority of available studies examine by investigating response patters. Majority of studies available seek for yes/no responses, which provides fewer details. The trio employs a qualitative approach in examining people’s attitude towards the death penalty in the U.S. The data collection strategy employed is the use of surveys. Paper-and-pencil surveys were conducted on a group of college students pursuing a degree in sociology. Those involved in the survey voluntarily participated in the research. The study utilizes a number of data analysis tools including analysis of variance, t-test, and regression analysis. T-tests were used to make comparisons among four death penalty groups that were part of the study. Variance helped in examining the religiousness of the respondents. Regression analysis was used to establish the probability of an individual belonging to any one group in the study. The findings indicate that conservative political beliefs have a strong impact in influencing an individual’s perceptions concerning the death penalty. The findings also indicate that knowledge of the Bible among individuals have little impact on the attitude that one holds towards the death penalty, contrary to earlier studies. This study is important since it will help in identifying the major factors that influence individual attitudes towards the death penalty in the United States.


Quantitative vs Qualitative Research