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Replication and Research Integrity in Criminology: Introduction to the Special Issue

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... Attention to replication research in criminology is growing (Savolainen & VanEseltine, 2018). In a recent issue of The Criminologist, the American Society of Criminology's Vice President noted, "science is under attack more than ever, and we need to get our side of the street clean so that our evidence-based recommendations are generated from soundly scrutinized scholarship that was rigorously reviewed and replicated" (Dugan, 2020, p. 1). ...
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In 2014, Pickett and Baker cast doubt on the scholarly consensus that Americans are pragmatic about criminal justice. Previous research suggested this pragmaticism was evidenced by either null or positive relationships between seemingly opposite items (i.e., between dispositional and situational crime attributions and between punitiveness and rehabilitative policy support). Pickett and Baker argued that because these studies worded survey items in the same positive direction, respondents’ susceptibility to acquiescence bias led to artificially inflated positive correlations. Using a simple split-ballot experiment, they manipulated the direction of survey items and demonstrated bidirectional survey items resulted in negative relationships between attributions and between support for punitive and rehabilitative policies. We replicated Pickett and Baker’s methodology with a nationally representative sample of American respondents supplemented by a diverse student sample. Our results were generally consistent, and, in many cases, effect sizes were stronger than those observed in the original study. Americans appear much less pragmatic when survey items are bidirectional. Yet, we suggest the use of bidirectional over unidirectional survey items trades one set of problems for another. Instead, to reduce acquiescence bias and improve overall data quality, we encourage researchers to adopt item-specific questioning.
... Attention to replication research in criminology is growing (Savolainen & VanEseltine, 2018). In a recent issue of The Criminologist, the American Society of Criminology's Vice President noted, "science is under attack more than ever, and we need to get our side of the street clean so that our evidence-based recommendations are generated from soundly scrutinized scholarship that was rigorously reviewed and replicated" (Dugan, 2020, p. 1). ...
Article
Full-text available
In 2014, Pickett and Baker cast doubt on the scholarly consensus that Americans are pragmatic about criminal justice. Previous research suggested this pragmatism was evidenced by either null or positive relationships between seemingly opposite items (i.e., between dispositional and situational crime attributions and between punitiveness and rehabilitative policy support). Pickett and Baker (2014) argued that because these studies worded survey items in the same positive direction, respondents’ susceptibility to acquiescence bias led to artificially inflated positive correlations. Using a simple split-ballot experiment, they manipulated the direction of survey items and demonstrated bidirectional survey items resulted in negative relationships between attributions and between support for punitive and rehabilitative policies. We replicated Pickett and Baker’s (2014) methodology with a nationally representative sample of American respondents supplemented by a diverse student sample. Our results were generally consistent, and, in many cases, effect sizes were stronger than those observed in the original study. Americans appear much less pragmatic when survey items are bidirectional. Yet, we suggest the use of bidirectional over unidirectional survey items trades one set of problems for another. Instead, to reduce acquiescence bias and improve overall data quality, we encourage researchers to adopt item-specific questioning.
... First, we employ risk terrain models to examine how vacancy, a crime attractor implicated in recent research, contributes to the spatial concentration of homicides and aggravated assaults in the city of St. Louis, MO. In this effort, we answer recent calls to address the dearth of replication studies in the discipline (Pridemore et al., 2018;Savolainen & Van Eseltine, 2018) and further develop the nascent understanding of the relationship between vacancy and crime. Second, we extend prior research by examining whether the influence of vacancy on interpersonal violence varies between North and South St. Louis, long divided along racial and socioeconomic lines. ...
Article
This study employs risk terrain modeling to identify the spatial correlates of aggravated assault and homicide in St. Louis, MO. We build upon the empirical literature by (1) replicating recent research examining the role of vacancy in the concentration of criminal violence and (2) examining whether the environmental correlates of violence vary between north and south St. Louis, a boundary that has long divided the city along racial and socioeconomic lines. Our results indicate that vacancy presents a strong, consistent risk for both homicide and aggravated assault and that this pattern emerges most clearly in the northern part of the city which is majority African American and has suffered chronic disinvestment. The concentration of criminal violence in South City is driven primarily by public hubs including housing, transportation, and schools. Our results underscore the importance of vacancy as a driver of the spatial concentration of violent crime and point to potential heterogeneity in risk terrain modeling results when applied to large metropolitan areas. Situational crime prevention strategies would be well served to consider such spatial contingencies as the risk factors driving violent crime are neither uniformly distributed across space nor uniform in their impact on criminal violence.
... Thus, the spatial distribution of socio-economic disadvantage is not as pronounced in the European context as it is in the United States. Therefore, replicating the work by Graif (2015) and Vogel and South (2016) provides an important and conservative test of the generalizability of previous findings established primarily among American samples while also responding to more general calls from criminologists for replication research (Pridemore et al. 2018;Savolainen and Van Eseltine 2018). ...
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This study extends recent research on the spatial dynamics of neighbourhood disadvantage and youth offending. Data include self-reported offences from 794 Dutch adolescents and the socioeconomic status in their residential neighbourhood and the surrounding community. The findings reveal that youth engage in the highest levels of offending when they reside in disadvantaged neighbourhoods surrounded by neighbourhoods characterized by relative affluence. This spatial pattern is attributable to greater temptations to offend, reduced parental monitoring, and more frequent involvement in unstructured activities among youths who live in close proximity to neighbourhoods more affluent than their own. This study highlights the importance of criminogenic opportunities and parental monitoring for understanding the spatial dynamics of neighbourhood disadvantage on offending.
... Pre-registration has become a best practice recommended by researchers working in every area of psychological science. These include cognitive (de Groot, 2014), developmental (Donnellan, Lucas, Fraley, & Roisman, 2013), clinical (Tackett et al., 2017), social (van 't Veer & Giner-Sorolla, 2016, personality (Asendorpf et al., 2013), neuroscience (Poldrack et al., 2017), comparative (Stevens, 2017), relationships (Campbell, Loving, & Lebel, 2014), criminology (Savolainen & VanEseltine, 2018), aging (Isaacowitz & Lind, 2019), education (van der Zee & Reich, 2018), special education (Cook, Lloyd, Mellor, Nosek, & Therrien, 2018), human-computer interaction (Cockburn, Gutwin, & Dix, 2018), organizational psychology (Banks et al., 2019), health psychology (Hagger, 2019), and psychology and law (Irvine, Hoffman, & Wilkinson-Ryan, 2018). ...
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To ensure greater reproducibility, psychological scientists are taking steps toward greater research transparency. In this chapter, I outline six steps we can teach our students to improve their research transparency. These steps are relevant to undergraduates enrolled in their first research methods course and doctoral students embarking upon their dissertations. These steps include students (1) preregistering their studies' goals and analysis plans before conducting their studies to ensure they are testing predictions not postdictions; (2) posting their completed studies' research materials to public repositories; (3) uploading their studies' data and analysis scripts to public repositories; (4) writing transparent manuscripts; (5) uploading open access versions of their published articles; and (6) submitting their manuscripts to journals that accept registered reports. This chapter explains these steps and provides resources for teaching them.
... There has been increasing interest in replication within criminology (e.g. McNeeley and Warner 2015;Pridemore et al. 2018) and a special issue containing replications was recently published (Savolainen and VanEseltine 2018). However, there has been little attention paid to the causes of the replication crisis, whether criminology suffers from the same issues, and how to address such problems. ...
... There was modest evidence of within-individual change in impulsivity and sensation seeking during this timeframe suggesting that most individuals demonstrated relative stability in selfcontrol (Beaver, Wright, DeLisi, & Vaughn, 2008;Hay & Forrest, 2006;Jo & Bouffard, 2014;Ray, Jones, Loughran, & Jennings, 2013). In addition to providing support for the dual systems model of self-control (Steinberg, 2010) during a life course period characterized by profound neurobiological and environmental change, our findings offer empirical evidence of replication; a topic that has recently become increasingly important in criminology and other behavioral sciences (Savolainen & VanEseltine, 2018). Future research should seek to further replicate our findings using longitudinal prospective data with measures of impulsivity and sensation seeking to evaluate the external validity of observed trends among participants from the CNLSY. ...
Article
Purpose: Previous research has revealed that variation in levels of self-control is associated with violent victimization. Absent from this line of research is an evaluation of whether unique components of self-control, reflective of the dual-systems model, are uniquely associated with violent victimization from adolescence through young adulthood. Methods: The current study analyzed longitudinal data from a population-based sample of youth to assess bidirectional associations among impulsivity, sensation seeking, and violent criminal victimization from ages 16 to 23. Latent growth curve models were estimated to examine developmental trajectories of impulsivity and sensation seeking. Autoregressive cross-lagged models were used to assess the direction of effects between variables over time. Results: Evidence for the dual systems model of self-control was found with impulsivity and sensation seeking developing at different rates from adolescence into young adulthood. Changes in impulsivity were positively associated with changes in violent criminal victimization from adolescence through young adulthood. However, changes in sensation seeking were not associated with changes in victimization. Conclusions: Findings from the current study provide further evidence for the dual systems model of self-control and suggest that impulsivity may be a more potent risk factor for violent criminal victimization than for sensation seeking.
... Although replication research has always been an accepted feature of social science, an emerging consensus suggests that this line of inquiry has been neglected to the detriment of theoretical progress (Freese & Peterson, 2017;McNeeley & Warner, 2015;Savolainen & VanEseltine, 2018). A recent review of replication research in criminology found that only 0.45% of articles in the Web of Science database qualified as replications (Pridemore, Makel, & Plucker, 2018). ...
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This research revisited the claim that victim precipitation (VP) is especially prevalent in situations where women kill their male intimate partners. Using administrative data from the Finnish Homicide Monitor (N =1,494), we created a typology of homicide incidents to examine variation in VP across three factors: the gender of the offender, the gender of the victim, and the intimacy of the victim–offender relationship. The results from regression models demonstrated strong support for the assumption that killings by women of their male intimate partners are more likely to have been victim precipitated than other types of homicide. This homicide type stood out as having the strongest association with each measure of VP included in the analysis. We did not observe statistically significant differences in VP among other homicide types. For example, we did not observe gender differences in VP in homicides that did not involve intimate partners. This pattern of results contradicts prior evidence suggesting that VP is a general feature of female-perpetrated killings, independent of the gender of the victim and the intimacy of the victim–offender relationship. As such, the present study underscores the importance of replication in studies of interpersonal violence. Theoretically, the results support the gender–partner interaction hypothesis over gender differences hypothesis of VP.
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In ethics courses, students need to begin or continue their transformation from smart, motivated people to ethical, self-reflective professionals. This chapter focuses on some principles and strategies to achieve that goal, including backward design, developing an effective course atmosphere, the nature of teaching and learning ethics, and skill development. Rather than thinking first about classroom activities, reading assignments, and topics, instructors who use backward design start with consideration of the goals they wish their students to achieve, then move on to how they will assess whether students meet those goals. Only then can they design specific, effective activities and assignments for a course. We explore several other principles and assumptions relevant to the teaching of ethics. We do this by presenting an instructor’s observations and reflections on his graduate ethics course, followed by three graduate students’ views of (a) the course and (b) how the instructor attempted to actualize these principles.
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The article begins with a historical account of Hudson’s rural settlement theory and the various attempts to replicate Hudson’s research. Harvey’s exhortation “by our theories you shall know us” is discussed as a motivation for replication. Motivations not considered are the detection of fraud, mendacity, and incompetence, because these are the domain of reproducible research. Replication research in medicine, psychology, economics, and criminology is reviewed. The varying distinctions between replication and reproducible (R&R) research in each discipline are described. In each discipline the essential papers that have defined the “replication crisis” and the strategies that researchers have presented are discussed. These strategies include recommendations for systematic reviews and the standardization of research protocols, including the PRISMA and STROBE protocols that are now the accepted format for research in medicine. All four disciplines recommend the use of a formal meta-analysis following the systematic reviews of previous research contributions. There follows a brief discussion of a case study of a meta-analysis in geography that represents a model for others to follow and, second, the suggestion that geographically weighted regression analyses can be seen as a method for replicating the validity of a model across space. The article concludes with a review of the recently developed technology of computer and Jupyter Notebook as a way of facilitating research replication.
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Objectives Replicate previous experimental findings on the causal effect of deviant peer modeling and assess whether the gender of peer models is an important determinant of theft. Methods A randomized control trial (n = 329 university students) in which participants were randomly placed into one of four deviant peer modeling groups (control, verbal prompting, behavioral modeling, verbal prompting plus behavioral modeling) and one of three confederate gender similarity groups (same gender, different gender, mixed gender) (4 × 3 factorial design, equal randomization). The outcome was theft of a gift card. Each session included two confederates and a single participant. This feature reduced measurement error over more common approaches where groups of participants take part in the study at the same time and in which uncontrolled interactions and/or threshold effects may act as confounders. Results Participants were more likely to steal when exposed to confederates who behaviorally modeled theft (15.1% stole) or offered verbal support for theft and modeled it (11.1%) compared to controls (2.5%) or when confederates only talked about stealing (1.2%) (p = .001). Participants exposed to same-gender peers (7.3%) were as likely to steal as those exposed to different gender peers (5.5%) or mixed-gender peers (9.9%) (p = .464). Conclusions Behavioral modeling was found to be an important determinant of theft. This replicates previous research in the area and offers arguably the strongest support to date for the influence of deviant peer modeling. Peer gender, however, was not found to be an important etiological component of theft. External validity is a limitation.
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‘If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, to belittle them. it springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men.’
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We replicate Reinhart and Rogoff (2010A and 2010B) and find that selective exclusion of available data, coding errors and inappropriate weighting of summary statistics lead to serious miscalculations that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies. Over 1946–2009, countries with public debt/GDP ratios above 90% averaged 2.2% real annual GDP growth, not −0.1% as published. The published results for (i) median GDP growth rates for the 1946–2009 period and (ii) mean and median GDP growth figures over 1790–2009 are all distorted by similar methodological errors, although the magnitudes of the distortions are somewhat smaller than with the mean figures for 1946–2009. Contrary to Reinhart and Rogoff’s broader contentions, both mean and median GDP growth when public debt levels exceed 90% of GDP are not dramatically different from when the public debt/GDP ratios are lower. The relationship between public debt and GDP growth varies significantly by period and country. Our overall evidence refutes RR’s claim that public debt/GDP ratios above 90% consistently reduce a country’s GDP growth.
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Can a single conversation change minds on divisive social issues, such as same-sex marriage? A randomized placebo-controlled trial assessed whether gay (n = 22) or straight (n = 19) messengers were effective at encouraging voters (n = 972) to support same-sex marriage and whether attitude change persisted and spread to others in voters' social networks. The results, measured by an unrelated panel survey, show that both gay and straight canvassers produced large effects initially, but only gay canvassers' effects persisted in 3-week, 6-week, and 9-month follow-ups. We also find strong evidence of within-household transmission of opinion change, but only in the wake of conversations with gay canvassers. Contact with gay canvassers further caused substantial change in the ratings of gay men and lesbians more generally. These large, persistent, and contagious effects were confirmed by a follow-up experiment. Contact with minorities coupled with discussion of issues pertinent to them is capable of producing a cascade of opinion change. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Article
This paper is reminiscence and a critique of Robert K. Merton’s work in the sociology of science. The author got to know Merton very well as he served as his student, assistant, and colleague for 15 years from 1960. Merton’s works which are most discussed are his doctoral dissertation on Puritanism and science, his paper on scientific norms, and his paper ‘The Matthew Effect’. He is criticized for not generalizing far enough from his work on the Puritan thesis and for not paying close enough attention to the empirical data, which cast doubt on the validity of his theory of the Matthew Effect.
Article
Fraud in the form of data fabrication/manipulation by scientists, heretofore ignored owing to its presumed nonexistence, is discussed as an area of potential interest for the study of deviant behavior. By way if illustration, twelve recent cases of scientific fraud are described. These examples serve to highlight the question of prevalence as their existence is evidence that deviance in science exists, and belies the argument that the normative structure of science makes such acts unlikely. Primary attention was given to the problem of explaining this atypical form of deviant behavior. Current popular efforts tend to be either individualistic “bad apple” explanations, or indictments of the pressures to produce inherent in the structure of modern science. A sociology of scientific deviance 1s offered by reveiwing the potential contributions of anomie, interactionist, and conflict theories. All were found to have significant application to the study of scientific deviance as a number of questions for further research are suggested.
Article
The idea that waging war might increase the level of domestic violence in warring societies has occurred to many researchers. Discussions of this possibility have been limited to a very small number of case studies--often as limited as the experience of a single nation in a single war. A major obstacle to the general investigation of this question has been the unavailability of comparative data on homicide rates. Over a three-year period, a Comparative Crime Data File was assembled. The file includes time-series rates of homicide for roughly 110 nations beginning in about 1900. Postwar rather than wartime homicide rates were analyzed, since postwar data appear much less problematic and are likely to be affected by artifacts in only a conservative direction. The homicide data were analyzed to: (1) determine if postwar increases did occur and (2) identify which of seven competing theoretical models appeared to offer the most adequate explanation. The homicide rate changes after 50 "nation-wars" were compared with the changes experienced by 30 control nations. The major finding of the study was that most of the nation-wars in the study did experience substantial postwar increases in their rates of homicide. These increases were pervasive, and occurred after large wars and smaller wars, with several types of homicide rate indicators, in victorious as well as defeated nations, in nations with both improved and worsened postwar economies, among both men and women offenders and among offenders of several age groups. Homicide rate increases occurred with particular consistency among nations with large numbers of combat deaths. Using homicide and other data, it was possible to disconfirm or demonstrate the insufficiency of six of the seven explanatory models.
Article
Despite widespread belief that violence begets violence, methodological problems substantially restrict knowledge of the long-term consequences of childhood victimization. Empirical evidence for this cycle of violence has been examined. Findings from a cohort study show that being abused or neglected as a child increases one's risk for delinquency, adult criminal behavior, and violent criminal behavior. However, the majority of abused and neglected children do not become delinquent, criminal, or violent. Caveats in interpreting these findings and their implications are discussed in this article.
Article
It is hypothesized that collective efficacy, defined as social cohesion among neighbors combined with their willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good, is linked to reduced violence. This hypothesis was tested on a 1995 survey of 8782 residents of 343 neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois. Multilevel analyses showed that a measure of collective efficacy yields a high between-neighborhood reliability and is negatively associated with variations in violence, when individual-level characteristics, measurement error, and prior violence are controlled. Associations of concentrated disadvantage and residential instability with violence are largely mediated by collective efficacy.
The garden of forking paths: Why multiple comparisons can be a problem, even when there is no “fishing expedition” or “p-hacking” and the research hypothesis was posited ahead of time. Department of Statistics, Columbia University
  • A Gelman
  • E Loken
The replication and verification policy at the American Journal of Political Science
  • W G Jacoby
Political persuasion and attitude change study: The Los Angeles longitudinal field experiments
  • M J Lacour
National Institute of Justice: Access and secondary analysis
  • J H Garner
Crime diversity: Verified and replicated
  • T S Lentz