Instructions How to Write

Effect of Gang Membership

You should need no more than 200 words to answer each question. You will be tempted to include write a much longer answer than is necessary. What I'm looking for is your being able to provide a thoughtful, concise, and informative answer. This is not easy to do and will likely require you to write several drafts of your answer before you get it right. Some questions below will ask you to identify information in the research study. These are relatively simple questions, as they only require recognition and descripton. Other questions, however, require you to critique parts of the research study. This is much more difficult to do. It requires the ability to apply your knowledge in a critical manner, going beyond the information presented to you in class and in your readings to identify flaws in the study, as well as recommendations for improvement. The critiques are challenging assignments but they will help you to learn the material at a deeper level. I recommend that you begin working on your critique as soon as possible to give you enough time to provide substantive and insightful answers. Do not quote from the article in your answers. Find a way to summarize the information in your own words. For this article review, read and answer the questions about the following article: Barnes, J. C., Beaver, K. M., & Miller, M. (2010). Estimating the effect of gang membership on nonviolent and violent delinquency: A counterfactual analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 437-51.

1. The researchers identify several causal factors of gang membership. Name and describe five of them. Indicate whether the effect is thought to be positive or negative with signs next to the arrows. Indicate whether or not you think the factors are related to one another with arrows that connect the related causes.

2. List the three hypotheses introduced by the researchers. Illustrate the causal effects in these hypotheses using diagrams like those in your book. Each of these hypotheses should produce a different diagram.

3. For the five causes of gang membership that you identified, what evidence of causation exists, according to the material presented in the article (hint: see pages 358-361). What evidence of causation is missing?

4. Pick one of the causes of gang membership that you identified. Can you think of another explanation for the correlation between that cause and gang membership?

5. Describe the counterfactual in this research study. What do the findings regarding this counterfactual allow us to conclude about which of the hypotheses is the best one? How does the counterfactual allow us to draw these conclusions?

6. Critique the conclusions about causal relationships between delinquency and gang membership that were found in this study.

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