Research Critique

Guerette, Rob T. (2007). “Immigration Policy, Border Security and Migrant Deaths: An Impact Evaluation of Life Saving Efforts under the Border Safety Initiative.”

Criminology & Public Policy, 6(2): 201-222. This is a quantitative research as it is based upon the use and analysis of numbers. The type of research design used is descriptive as it involves investigating variables of interest and conducting trend analysis. There is bias observed in this study in which there is the problem of non-randomness. The study was unbalanced as the treatment group is composed of one area, the control has three areas whereas the buffer is composed of four areas. Qualitative type of data was collected from the treatment, control, and buffer areas of study. The type of data used in this study was made up of both dependent variables and independent variables. The source of data was reliable because it could be verified by the reader. In addition the data could also be compared with other data for verification. The dependent variables used were data obtained from the frequency of individual migrant deaths which had been gathered from multiple sources. Independent variables on the other hand include undocumented migrant flows, mechanisms of BSI interventions, and demographic and other situational variables.

The sampling procedure employed involved drawing the control area from El Centro followed by designating the buffer areas which were used to determine the displacement of benefit while rates were averaged to produce individual composite measure of the death rate in the control area. The sampling procedure was appropriate for this study since adequate sample was gathered.  In addition the sampling procedure followed the basic tradition of carrying out a research. Dependent variable of the study included data gathered from multiple sources. These sources include: state and national vital registration and BSI tracking system. The dependent variable was used to evaluate the impact of BSI.  These dependent variables enhanced the results of the research as they were directly related to the study. They enhanced the rigor of the research hence the results obtained could be trusted because they were worthwhile.

The key findings of the study include two assessments namely; aggregate assessment and borstar assessment. In aggregate assessment, the rates of migrant deaths before implementation of the BSI program was declining after the 1988 peak up to 1998 when BSI was implemented. There are a lot of differences in the trend of lines of pre- and post-periods. The pre-time period has a negative slope while the post- BSI period possesses a positive slope. The aggregate assessment found that, by accepting apprehensions as a proxy measure of border activity then BSI has not reduced the overall migrant deaths. Borstar assessment found a significant reduction of deaths when a BORSTAR agent responds to a distressed migrant. The findings of the research can be trusted since the source of data was reliable. In addition the research followed the basic tradition of carrying out a research. This research has a number of limitations which include: the current policy and practice have been dismantled and disaggregation of migrant deaths by month would result into faulty interpretation of data leading to ineffectiveness. This would threaten validity of the findings. Identifying border patrol efforts as the specific cause for any lives saved would be hard due to the several other groups being active in campaign for saving life along the border. This would threaten the reliability of the results.


D’Alessio, S; Stolzenberg, L., and Terry, W. Clinton III (1999). “Eyes on the Street”:

The Impact of Tennessee’s Emergency Cellular Telephone Program on Alcohol-related

Fatal Crashes.” Crime and Delinquency, 45(4): 453- 466. The type of research design employed in this research report is causal design. This is because the problem being addressed by the research studies the accidents that lead to deaths and injuries as a result of driving when driving. The researcher is assessing if an emergency cellular telephone program that had been established could help in reducing the cases of drunkardness in highways. A multiple time-series research design has been used in this study. The multiple time series research design is proper for non-experimental studies such as this causal study. The cellular telephone program employed use of cell phones to contact the police regarding the drivers driving under the influence of alcohol. The research design was appropriate for this kind of study as passengers are the only ones who can help to control or end the highway accidents due to drunkardness by reporting to the police who in turn arrest the involved party.

The kind of data used for the research is longitudinal data obtained from Tennessee’s fatality analysis reporting system. This reporting system possesses a database that has all fatal accidents that happen in the United States. The longitudinal type of data used for this study is reliable and valid. This is because the source of the data is verifiable in addition to being rich due to the many cases that are reported hence the researcher is able to collect sufficient data. The data is sufficient and seems appropriate for the study thereby enhancing the rigor of the research. The sampling procedure employed in this study involved the use of cellular phones to report those involved in driving under the influence of alcohol. The participants were issued cell phones for reporting those they identify driving recklessly. Numbered signs were also used to mark the roads so as to help motorists locate their exact location. The cellular users could call the police who could either follow the case or call the nearby agency. The sampling procedure was simple and proper for the study although there was a possibility of bias.

In analyzing the study, two dependent variables were employed. These two variables include: the high-way alcohol-related fatal crash rate which operationalized as a percentage of the monthly interstates fatal clashes and the second dependent variable was the non alcohol-related fatal crash rate. The second variable was taken as the monthly percentage of all fatal accidents occurring in municipal roads and involving single vehicles in addition the accident has to happen between 8 pm and 8 am. The major findings of the research revealed a 2.5 % decrease in the fatal road accidents on the roads serviced by the program. On the roads where the program was implemented, there was no significant change in the number of accidents observed. The cellular method used for the study promise road safety in addition to being efficient since the procedure is simple. The study is exposed to threats to validity since the source of the data could be distorted during storage. In addition, the reliability of the results is threatened because it is impossible to tell if the cellular program was responsible for the reduction of the crashes or the reduction was due to a reduction trend that was bound to happen irrespective of program implementation. This calls for further empirical evidence. The research question was also limited

Kovandzic, T., Sloan, J., and Vieraitis, L. (2004). “’Striking Out’ as Crime Reduction

Policy: The Impact of ‘Three Strikes’ Laws on Crime Rates in U.S. Cities.” Justice Quarterly, 21(2): 207-239. The research study employed the use of a multiple time series design which is appropriate for causal analysis. The research design is causal because it examines the causes crimes and how they can be reduced using the strikers’ law. The research report is analyzing the effectiveness of the strikers’ law in reducing crime. The study is aimed at checking if strikers’ law is the cause of crime reduction. The research design is appropriate for the study and enhances the rigor of the research. This type of research design is in consistence with the tradition of carrying out research. This is a non-experimental study hence the research design used is appropriate and enhances the trustworthiness of the findings. The kind of data used for the research is time-series cross-sectional data and was UCR data obtained from 188 cities with 100,000 populations or more for the two decades starting from 1980 to 2000. The data obtained for this study which is cross-sectional type of data is reliable and valid. This is because the source of the data is verifiable in addition to being rich due to the many cases that are reported hence the researcher is able to collect sufficient data. The data is sufficient and seems appropriate for the study thereby enhancing the rigor of the research.

The sampling procedure involved identification of the sample which was the city since it was the smallest unit available in addition to being the most internally homogeneous unit for which the UCR crime data was available for a large national sample of geographical areas. Other basic models were employed for collecting the sample using the time-series cross-sectional data method. The sampling procedure for this study was appropriate since adequate sample was gathered. The sampling procedure was not simple although the methodology of running this procedure is defined by the research tradition. The sampling procedure is reliable since it follows the research paradigm. The research tradition is also adhered to when carrying out the procedure. The dependent variables used in this study include: stickers’ law related crime change and non-strikers law related crime changes. The dependent variables were used to analyze the case in which some relationship of crime reduction with implementation of striker’s law was found. The research depends on these variables to examine the causal-effect relationship. The variables examine the difference between crime reduction when the law is implemented and when it’s absent. The dependent variables were reliable and appropriate for the study. The study found significant variability between the crime reduction brought about when the law is implemented and when it’s not.

The research found out that three strikers' law is associated positively with homicide rates in cities in three strikers' states. The study revealed that the cities in three strikers' states did not witness significant crime reduction. The research did not find any statistical evidence of crime reduction by the three strikers' law. The research had some limitations related with using data from the states which could result into aggregation bias. This could threaten the validity of the data. In addition standard errors were inevitable causing threats to the reliability of the research findings. The research found little evidence in the results obtained; this would make the study questionable and hence not trustworthy.

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