Criminal Justice

In their work, Ebensen et al. (2011) used an experimental longitudinal panel design. As the researcher gathers data, the participants in this research design are monitored throughout a specific time period at predetermined intervals. Notably, parts of their research plan comply with the standards for a traditional experiment. True experiments, in the opinion of Maxfeild and Babbie (2017), must demonstrate that the observed association between the cause and effect is not due to a third variable. The study by Ebensen et al. satisfies the initial requirement of a traditional experiment, which is to identify the dependent and independent variables. The success of the GREAT program serves as the study's dependent variable. The independent variables, on the other hand, include attitudes about police, gangs, use of refusal skills, resistance to peer pressure and rate of gang members (Ebensen et al., 2011). Further, the researcher also provides operational definitions for each of variables so as to establish a causal relationship.

Additionally, the other criterion that the research design meets is pretest and posttest which provides a comparison between the measurements. According to Ebensen et al (2011) pretests and posttests were conducted during the experiment on the effectiveness of the GREAT program. Furthermore, the design also had an experimental and control group; out of the 195 students who participated in the experiment 102 were included in the experimental group while 93 were included in the control group. The experimental group was included in the GREAT program while the control group was not so as to provide a basis for comparison. Additionally, there is also an aspect the double-blind experiments as none of the participants knew who was in the control or experimental group.

Additionally, the other aspect of the design that qualifies it as a classical experiment is the selection of subjects. The researcher ensured that before any student was included in the study; their parents had to provide informed consent. Students and teachers also received incentives to return the consent forms from the parents. Lastly, there is the aspect of randomization whereby out of the 4905 students who qualified to take part in the study, only 195 were randomly selected to participate. In general, the research design adopted for this study meets the criteria for classical experiments.

Question Two

The study tested two hypotheses on the evaluation of the GREAT program. The first hypothesis was that the GREAT program helps students avoid gang membership; desist from violence as well as criminal activity. This hypothesis was based on the fact that when the students are taught about the effects of gang membership along with the consequences of criminal activity, they tend not to participate in crime. As one of the primary goals of the program, the researchers had to hypothesize that the GREAT program played a significant role in reduction of crime. The other hypothesis from the study is that the GREAT program helped developing a positive relationship with law enforcement. The program provided lessons on how to relate with the police (Ebensen et al., 2011).

Question Three

The important variables in the study include the evaluation of the GREAT program. The other important variables include attitudes towards police, gang affiliation, peer pressure and use of refusal skills. The first way in which the authors operationalized these variables was by looking at various aspects such as core curriculum; in this instance, the authors examined the contents of the GREAT program. Moreover, the authors also operationalized this variable by looking at the aspect of officer training as well as classroom delivery. In terms of measurement, the researcher used group administered questionnaires and fllow-up surveys to collect data that was used to arrive at the results (Ebensen et al., 2011). In essence, these important variables were operationalized in such a way that the provided reliable data for the study.

Question Four

Ebensen et al (2011) included nine independent variables in their study. These variables included attitudes about police, attitude about gangs, refusal skills, peer pressure, and association with delinquent peers. These variables are designated as independent variables as they tend to affect the overall effectiveness of the GREAT program. For example, when students are educated about refusal skills through the GREAT program, they are less likely to associate with gangs. Moreover, when students do not associate with delinquent peers, they are less likely to join gangs. The dependent variable in this study is the effectiveness of the GREAT program. Indeed, the effectiveness of the program depends on independent factors such as improved attitudes towards the police and use of refusal skills when the urge to join a gang arises. In essence, through this study, the authors sought to demonstrate that the effectiveness of the GREAT program was dependent on various factors such as peer pressure.

Question Five

According to Maxfeild and Babbie (2017), one of the main threats to validity in classical experiment is the occurrence of historical events during the course of the study. In the case of the study in question, this was a threat to validity as four annual follow-up surveys were conducted. For example, some of the participants in the experiment went through various issues that affected the results of the experiment. The other threat to validity in the current study is maturation; this is whereby people and change over the course of the experiment. In this case, the students who participated in the experiments had grown and their views on the experiment may have changed. Besides, there is also the threat of selection biases whereby the characteristics and of the experimental and control group differ. In the case of this study, the schools selected to participate in the study differed in terms of location and student population. The students also differed in terms of race and ethnicity and this could affect the results of the study. Furthermore, there was also a threat of instrumentation in this study as the questionnaires and follow-up surveys were used to collect data. In general, these threats to validity should be addressed to enhance the overall reliability of the study.

Question Six

There are several ethics associated with the current study. Firstly, there is the ethical issue of informed consent; this is whereby the researchers have to provide the details of the study to the participants so that they can decide on whether to participate in the study or not (Dantzker, Hunter, & Quinn, 2016). In the case of this study, the students were minors hence they could not provide informed consent. However, the researchers ensured that parental consent was obtained before any student was included to participate in the study. Additionally, there is also the aspect of confidentiality and privacy; indeed, the authors took various measures to ensure that the participants were protected, and that the data provided was only used for the study. Furthermore, there is also the use of incentives in the study whereby the researchers’ rewarded the teachers and students so as to get the consent forms. This may have someone be unethical as some of the participants took part in the study without proper consent from their parents.

Question Seven

The major conclusions drawn from this study include the fact that the GREAT program has short-term effects as the intended goals were achieved. Indeed, Ebensen et al (2011) note that the program reduced gang activity among the students, but had a minimal impact of delinquency. The other conclusion from the study is that youth-police relations also improved through the program. Furthermore, there was also no difference between the experimental and control groups of the study. In general, the results of the study show that out of the nine variables, only five had a significant effect on the GREAT program.

Question Eight

One of the implications of this study is that researchers need to collaborate with GREAT policy makers, law enforcement agencies and schools so as to improve the overall effects of the program. The other implication is that the risk factors that lead to delinquency and gang membership should be addressed. In my estimation, I believe that the GREAT program should continue as its short-term effects are notable. Moreover, the program should be spread to other schools which do not already have it so that the overall benefits can be felt across the country. However, some changes should be made to the curriculum of the program so that more students can benefit.


Dantzker, M. L., Hunter, R. D., & Quinn, S. T. (2016). Research methods for criminology and criminal justice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Esbensen, F. A., Peterson, D., Taylor, T. J., Freng, A., Osgood, D. W., Carson, D. C., & Matsuda, K. N. (2011). Evaluation and evolution of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program. Journal of School Violence, 10(1), 53-70.

Maxfield, M. G., & Babbie, E. R. (2017). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Nelson Education.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price