Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Research Proposal on Animal Cruelty and Poor Social Bonds as a Predicting Factor of Adolescent Criminal Activity

By: Erica Hutton

Abstract

The following paper represents a proposal advocating further research to take place in regards to the effects of participating in childhood animal cruelty among the population of adolescents. This proposal presents the problematic concerns associated to the current research available on this subject and identifies the theoretical framework that will be utilized to support the association of animal abuse as a precursor to future criminal activity in adolescents. The methodology selected for this research proposal is introduced in its entirety and justified as similarities and differences between quantitative and qualitative methodologies are also presented.








A Research Proposal on Animal Cruelty and Poor Social Bonds as a Predicting Factor of
Adolescent Criminal Activity

Previous research conducted on the topic of animal abuse that takes place during childhood has been grounded on the premise that animal abusers have the propensity to graduate in regards to the level of violence incorporated into harming others (Hensley & Tallichet, 2007). This concept is referred to as the violence graduation hypothesis which best explicates the association in which animal cruelty and abuse is one of many predicting factors related to the interpersonal violence demonstrated later in one’s life. Arluke et al., (1999) attribute animal abuse to be one of many forms of antisocial behavior that initiates in childhood as a precursor to participation in deviant behavior. Prevalent theoretical perspectives correlating to animal abuse and violence within individuals include The Strain Theory, Social Learning Theory, and The Graduation Hypothesis (Petersen & Farrington, 2007).

Problem Statement

The problem statement for this research proposal considers the concept that animal abuse has dominated discussions among factors predicting adolescent criminal behavior. However, further research is required to examine the elements associated to why individuals participate in childhood animal cruelty and what are the behavioral and social aspects related to this type of behavior. Hirschi’s social bonding theory is implemented into this study as a means to address social bonds during childhood and their overall importance in relation to developing antisocial behavioral characteristics.

The theoretical perspective of this research assignment from a qualitative standpoint will consider the integration of a phenomenological study to examine the viewpoints of adolescents in regards to animal abuse as a predicting factor of adolescent criminal behavior. If animal abuse and social bonding does have an influence over whether or not an adolescent will participate in future criminal acts of violence, research will prove that one’s history of animal abuse, neglect, or disregard, social interactions, immediate social subsystem, and social constructs are sufficient predictors of delinquency.

Social Bonding Theory

Travis Hirschi’s (1969) social control theory is known as the social bonding theory in which a collaboration of elements interact with one another in consideration of one’s bond to society in relation to the participation of deviant behavior (as cited by Akers & Sellers, 2009). The social bonding theory was founded upon the theory of social disorganization, which originated within the study of ecology and contemplates the correlation between individuals and their environment (Thabit, 2006).

The ecological school is comprised of professors affiliated with the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago from 1920 to 1932, and is representative of the Chicago School of Sociology (Thabit, 2006). There are several fundamental assumptions of criminology employed by The Chicago School that concentrate on the precept of environmental determinism and positivism. According to this perspective, criminal behavior is primarily positivistic in nature, focusing on the causation of criminal behavior versus the prevention of crime (Akers & Sellers, 2009). This view holds that deviant behavior is primarily caused by social factors and when various components and social structures prove to be conflicting in nature, social disorganization is the result (Thabit, 2006).

Philosophical Assumptions

The ontological assumptions of phenomenology are contemplative in nature, espousing substantial significance in the examination of knowledge that has been experienced (Laverty, 2003). Husserlian terminology associates phenomenology with the goal of establishing the meaning associated to a particular phenomenon, revealing the correlation of this interpretation to life experiences (Wimpenny & Gass, 2000). Deviance as a norm violation is directly correlated to the manner in which the behavior of an individual infringes upon social rules and those who typically contravene these expectations (Liska & Messner, 1999). Travis Hirschi’s (1969) social bonding theory integrates social control in relation to the attachment associated with an organization and the overall relationship between an individual and society (Liska & Messner, 1999). Hirschi purported that the majority of individuals would participate in unlawful conduct if there were no consternation involved in relation to penalty or repercussion of one’s actions (Lanier & Henry, 2004). This theory emphasizes the correlation between substandard social bonds in the causation of criminal behavior by examining the parental socialization practices and the social bonds that form with unconventional or conventional systems of society. This theory also examines the lack of control a person has in relation to society and attributes deviant behavior to the strength of one’s social bonding (Snedker & Herting, 2003).

Hirschi’s social bonding theory is comprised of four specific elements in relation to the process of comprehending the association of social bonding to that of deviant behavior. In relation to delinquency, Hirschi proposed that the act of delinquent behavior was significantly reduced when juveniles were able to emotionally bond to others. This is the process of attachment. The attachment process examines the relationship between the opinions of others toward an individual and the level of sensitivity associated with status and conformity (Liska & Messner, 1999). There is also a correlation to the participation of deviant behavior based upon one’s level of commitment to goals. The commitment towards social bonding signifies the conformity present within social groups and examines the correlation of risks and benefits associated with deviant behavior. The process of belief embraces the concept of conforming to conventional norms that are internalized and it is believed that those who hold high regard to morality have a significantly lower level of propensity to violate norms and partake in unconventional acts of behavior (Liska & Messner, 1999). The final concept is that of involvement. Conventional activities and the level of involvement an individual chooses to participate in these activities is directly associated with the level of deviant behavior as well as the opportunity to contribute to deviant acts (Liska & Messner, 1999). Attachment, commitment, belief, and involvement are the four elements that formulate the social bonding theory.

Research Questions

If this study were a quantitative analysis, the research question would be: What is the correlation between the abuse of animals in childhood and poor social bonding to adolescent criminal behavior? This research question pertains to a quantitative analysis due to the fact that cause and effect are considered in the analysis of the prediction in behavior. Within quantitative research studies, a theory is presented and eventually a hypothesis that will back up the viewpoint until data is analyzed to either confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis that is presented. This form of research is therefore quantifiable and measureable, pertaining to the epistemological paradigm of logical positivism. It is possible to quantify the correlation between the frequency and occurrence of adolescent deviants participating in animal abuse as a child and to correlate this aspect to their behavior and demeanor. An example of such a study was conducted by utilizing a developmental model of antisocial behavior while considering various factors that may influence this behavior such as parent criminality, social and economic status, temperamental factors, and marital discord within the immediate environment (Reid & Patterson, 2006). Within the quantitative research question presented above, the independent variable is the abuse of animals and poor social bonds and the dependent variable is the occurrence of adolescent criminal behavior.

If this study were to wear a qualitative lens, the research question would be: How do adolescents describe their participation in animal abuse as a child and their social bonds to others as a predicting factor of adolescent criminal behavior? This epistemological paradigm is guided by interpretation and exploratory research methodology. Research questions that pertain to qualitative studies tend to examine how a phenomenon is going to be explored and interpreted by the researcher with an elimination of a given theory or a hypothesis. Research questions pertaining to quantitative research tend to relate to a particular theory about the topic and identify an independent and dependent variable in the research question so that the audience is able to see what variables are being manipulated within the study.

Literature Review

Hensley and Tallichet (2009) assessed the association between childhood and adolescent acts of animal cruelty in relation to interpersonal violence towards humans that takes place later in life. Mead (1964) asserted that there was a correlation between children who participate in acts of animal cruelty to that of assaultive character disorder (as cited by Hensley & Tallichet, 2009). This behavioral hypothesis contemplated how children could be assisted by early diagnosis when demonstrating this type of maladjusted behavior in which may aid in preventing further involvement in interpersonal violence and murder in the future. The research question within this study addressed a correlation between the types of animal torture to best predict later interpersonal violence in adults. The form of animal torture that was considered by the researchers included acts of animal cruelty such as: 1) Drowning, 2) Hitting, 3) Kicking, 4) Shooting, 5) Choking, 6) Burning, and 7) Having sexual relations with the animals (Hensley & Tallichet, 2009).

Hensley and Tallichet (2007) purport that there is indeed a correlation between the history of childhood acts of animal abuse and cruelty to the participation of criminal acts of violence that include assault, rape, and murder. Wright and Hensley (2003) asserted that individuals who have a history of participating in abusive acts towards animals that consisted of sexually abusing or torturing or even killing animals was a precursor for this form of violent behavior to occur with humans at a later time (as cited by Hensley & Tallichet, 2007). The research question within this study considered how inmates’ reported to have participated in animal abuse in the past and the overall identification of the motivating factor in their participation and how this correlates to the number of personal crimes in which they were convicted of (Hensley & Tallichet, 2007). A similar study completed by Hensley and Tallichet (2005) revealed that inmates within both a medium and maximum-security prison reported to have hurt or killed animals alone and were actually more inclined to participate in this act out of anger and not through the act of impressing others or being intimidated by others, or to have sexual relations (as cited by Hensley & Tallichet, 2009).

The research method utilized in this study represented a quantitative analysis in which the independent variables included: 1) Why you participated in hurting or killing animals? (For fun, out of anger, out of dislike for animals, or for intimidation purposes, 2) How many times have you participated in abusing animals as a child and/or adolescent?, and 3) How old were you when you participated in these acts of cruelty? Hensley & Tallichet). The dependent variable in the research study included the overall score of the questionnaire provided to the inmates that considered the following variables: 1) Have you ever been convicted of murder or attempted murder?, 2) Have you ever been convicted of rape or attempted rape?, and 3) Have you ever been convicted of aggravated assault? (Hensley and Tallichet, 2009). The link between the research conducted in this study and the methodology is evident in the identification of the various methods of motivation in relation to participating in animal cruelty and the conviction of certain criminal offenses.

Therefore, this analysis incorporated a correlational design in which a quantitative analysis would best assess the correlation between the identified variables. The research method in particular integrated the method of questionnaires into the process of data collection in which a multiple regression analysis was performed to reveal that inmates who participated in the acts of animal cruelty had various motivating factors behind these actions. The results revealed that approximately 48% participated in animal cruelty out of anger, 38% were cruel to animals who were motivated by fun, 22% of inmates revealed that they participated in this behavior because they disliked the animal, and 15% of inmates were motivated by intimidation (Hensley & Tallichet, 2007). In summation, those inmates who claimed to have participated in acts of animal cruelty primarily out of fun, were also inclined to have been convicted of repeated acts of interpersonal violence as well (Hensley & Tallichet, 2007).

It is suggested that serial murderers initially participate in killing animals that are unable to help themselves; this process of domination signifies authority over another while causing significant pain and suffering to a defenseless being. These individuals may graduate in their killings and move from hunting animals to that of hunting humans (Wright & Hensley, 2003). According to Arluke and Lockwood (1997) and the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (2001), when individuals express cruelty to animals, they are more susceptible to becoming somewhat desensitized to violent behavior and learn to appreciate the ability to administer pain and suffering to others (as cited by Wright & Hensley, 2003). Yin (1994) purports that case studies are helpful to researchers and provide a means to examine participants through literature; this form of data collection accommodates the identification and classification of themes (as cited by Wright & Hensley, 2003).
Humiliation, frustration, and anger are predominant characteristics that drive children to abuse animals with the purpose of regaining a sense of self (Amsel, 1958; Hale, 1993) and retribution for their own hurting (as cited by Wright & Hensley, 2003). Case study analyses are very limited methods of data collection; however, it is impossible to conduct a quantitative study on serial murderers that are incarcerated or even deceased and this is why the researchers chose to conduct a qualitative analysis (Wright & Hensley, 2003). Within this form of research, patterns are prevalent as the researchers collect and sift through data; however, this study was not able to provide statistical information pertaining to childhood animal abuse and serial killers.

Overall, current research purports a substantial correlation between the acts of animal cruelty to the occurrence of violent criminal behavior. However, further research is necessary to consider the many factors associated with this form of behavior and clarification is mandatory in collecting information that is not biased. It is also imperative to restructure the method in which samples are controlled in a much better fashion; this may be done by conducting a longitudinal study and focusing on the developmental aspects of antisocial behavioral characteristics (Petersen & Farrington, 2007). The research studies integrated into the literature review above were illustrative of a quantitative and qualitative research methodology. This research proposal will implement a qualitative perspective into researching how the participation in animal cruelty and poor social bonds are associated to adolescent criminal behavior.

Selected Methodology: Qualitative Analysis

Within the realm of social science research, researchers typically integrate a qualitative analysis design to increase overall comprehensiveness into the area of human and social interaction, with the goal of applying meaning to these concepts in the construction and validation of human knowledge. The interpretivist framework supports the principle of multiple realities that are ultimately constructed and modified by each individual. Creswell (2009) purports that in qualitative research studies, the researcher is the key instrument in data collection. This is done by either collecting the data themselves, examining documents, observing first-handedly, interviewing participants, and even administering an instrument to receive data. Most researchers that employ a qualitative method of research into their study, refrain from utilizing one method of data collection (Creswell, 2009). There are five categories of data collection recommended with utilizing the qualitative method: 1) Narrative, 2) Phenomenology, 3) Ethnography, 4) Case Study, and 5) Grounded Theory (Creswell, 2009).

Qualitative Research Question

The research question considered within this study is: How do adolescents describe their participation in animal abuse as a child and their social bonds to others as a predicting factor of adolescent criminal behavior? This research question is best associated with qualitative methods of data collection due to the fact that it is relying on the interpretivism/constructionism aspect of one’s behavior in relation to the animal abuse and social bonds as a child. This epistemological paradigm is therefore guided by interpretation and exploratory research methodology. According to Creswell (2009), qualitative research is exploratory in nature and the researcher is unaware of the importance that the variables will end up playing within the research study.

The philosophical assumptions of this research study from a qualitative standpoint, will consider the integration of a phenomenological study to examine the viewpoints of adolescents in regards to their participation in animal abuse and poor social bonding as predicting factors of adolescent criminal behavior and conduct disorder. From the interpretive epistemological perspective, knowledge is multifaceted in nature, establishing research methods that reveal the expressions of the participant’s social reality. This framework supports the principle of multiple realities that are ultimately constructed and modified by each individual. The ontological assumptions of phenomenology are contemplative in nature, espousing substantial significance in the examination of knowledge that has been experienced (Laverty, 2003). The axiological assumptions of phenomenology embrace the subjectivity associated with research, epistemology, and the overall intentionality (Edie, 1987) to the perspective of the participant’s structures of conscious awareness (as cited by Laverty, 2003). In other words, the predominant element prevalent within the study of phenomenology incorporates the recognition, appreciation, and comprehension of worth associated to the human experiences lived. The phenomenological approach embraces the characteristics pertaining to knowledge itself in relation to existence, interpretation, and conceptualization.

Sample Criteria

The subjects for this analysis will consist of juvenile delinquents residing within the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center. Juveniles that currently reside within Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center between the ages of 10-18 are typically held less than 21 days at a time (VBJDC, 2009). However, there are dedicated programs that hold certain juveniles for up to six months at a time and can extend to 36 months as well, while serving a sentence imposed by a Judge (VDJJ, 2009). The juveniles that are residing within this detention facility have been admitted due to participation in either a felony or by joining in activity that results in four misdemeanors (VDJJ, 2009).

Sampling Procedure

The predicted method in sampling will consist of a single stage sampling procedure with nonprobability sampling in which the subject population will be comprised of juveniles who reside within this facility that choose to voluntarily participate in this research study. The sampling element will concentrate on animal abuse during childhood and one’s social bonds as a precursor for participating in criminal behavior as an adolescent. A nonprobability sampling method will be incorporated into the research study as the researcher utilizes purposive sampling to elicit deviant cases among this population that can offer subjective feedback to the researcher (Doherty, 1994). The method of recruitment will include a file review of intake/admission information provided by the facility that will provide the researcher with critical background and history of the juveniles. The goal of this document search is to locate juveniles who have a reported history of participating in acts of animal cruelty. Subsequent to establishing a list of 10 participants, a face-to-face interview will be conducted in which the researcher will discuss the framework of this study and the value in comprehending the subjectivity associated to participating in animal abuse and forming poor social bonds in childhood on adolescent criminal behavior and conduct disorder.

This research study will aim at discovering the association of animal abuse and cruelty to animals as a precursor to participating in delinquent behavior by evaluation of interpretations of the subjects’ participation in this form of behavior. This is also a form of criterion sampling in that there are only certain participants that will be considered within this research study upon meeting specific criteria. This sampling design will be beneficial in comprehending the many elements pertaining to delinquent behavior, but in particular whether or not the phenomena of animal abuse and social bonds are valuable precursors to the future occurrence of criminal behavior among the adolescent population.

Sample Size

Permission supplied by the Administrator of the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center will consist of a list of juveniles aged between 10-18 years old that have been committed to this facility for participating in deviant behavior on a misdemeanor or felonious account. Ten juveniles will be selected from the document analysis and must meet the requirement of participating in animal cruelty prior to their incarceration.

Phenomena or Focal Elements

This research study places emphasis on the experiences of juvenile delinquents through the notation of their participation in abusing animals. The subjects for this analysis will consist of juvenile delinquents residing within the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center. In regards to the sampling design chosen for this phenomenological study, the experiences of adolescents that have a history of participating in delinquent behavior are considered a vital ingredient in comprehending their personal experience and history in participating in acts of animal abuse. The predicted method of sampling will consist of a single stage sampling procedure in which approximately 10 participants will be selected from the juvenile detention facility that have a history in participating in animal cruelty or abuse in the past. Participants will be selected through a purposive sampling method, which is a form of non-probability sampling. The researcher will purposely select 10 individuals who demonstrate antisocial behavioral characteristics and report a history of participating in animal abuse. To gather these individuals to contribute to the study, an interview with the facility Administrator will be held in regards to having access to admittance files on the juveniles so that the research may select members of the population that are best appropriated for this particular study.

Definitions of Constructs

This section will address the constructs and the definitions of these constructs that pertain to criminal offenses and animal cruelty within the study. The goal of this research study is to examine the subjective perceptions of adolescents who have a criminal history of participating in either a misdemeanor or felony offense and who have also previously reported participation in an act of animal cruelty or animal abuse. According to J.B. Thomas and Associates (2009), a misdemeanor is an offense that is typically classified a as less serious crime in which there are four individual classifications. These classifications range from the most serious to most frequent and may include petty larceny, serious traffic violations, possession of cannabis, or even an assault and battery charge (Thomas, 2009). A felony is defined as a criminal offense in which the crime pertains to murder, malicious wounding, armed robbery, grand larceny, or possession of lethal narcotics (Thomas, 2009). The second characteristic necessary for each participant pertains to their overall history of participating in acts of animal cruelty or animal abuse.

According to Merez-Perez and Heide (2004) animal cruelty in and of itself is a generalized concept in that one must consider the context associated to cultural diversity and the interpretation of this term to appropriately apply it to research. MacDonald (1963) implemented animal cruelty into what is known as the MacDonald Triad, in which sadistic individuals were typically familiar with bedwetting, firesetting, and torturing animals (as cited by Merez-Perez & Heide, 2004). According to a study performed by Kellert and Felthous (1985), humans participate in animal cruelty to: 1) Control the animal, 2) Express aggression through the animal, 3) Enhancing personal aggressiveness, 4) Find amusement by shocking others from their actions, 5) To retaliate against another individual, 6) In displacement of hostility from a person towards an animal, and 7) Nonspecific sadism (as cited by Merez-Perez & Heide, 2004).
Animal cruelty is a term utilized to describe a variety of behaviors that are harmful to animals. These behaviors may be intentional and unintentional and include maliciousness in acts of torture. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2009), animal cruelty/neglect is considered to be a crime in every state and in some states this offense is classified as a felony. There are only six states that do not recognize the act of animal cruelty to be a felonious offense and they are Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota (The Humane Society, 2009).
Plans for Collecting and Managing Data
Prior to the process of data collection, the research will meet with each participant selected to discuss the purpose of this study in its entirety and to ensure appropriate consent is received from each. Due to the fact that these participants are underage, informed consent is provided to the Administrator of the detention facility as well as to the parents of each subject. The researcher will address how the subjects were selected in addition to addressing the sampling element associated with this study. The rights of the participants will be addressed to inform each of the right to withdraw from the research process at any time. The researcher will address the conveniences associated to participating in this research analysis in that the juvenile will be able to participate while residing within the detention center and that the researcher will commute to the center to conduct research and gather the appropriate data from them that will not interfere with their schooling, recreational, or therapeutic activities. It is important for the researcher to explain that the privacy of each participant will be protected and his or her names will not be exposed at any time during the process of data collection or publication.

In regards to collecting data within a qualitative study, the researcher tends to concentrate on the participants’ meanings associated to the phenomenon being studied (Creswell, 2009). According to Maxwell (2004), the meanings and perspectives of the participants within a study represent the key components of data collection and interpretation. The process of data collection within this study will initiate in the document analysis to select 10 appropriate subjects to participate in the study that have a history of committing a misdemeanor or felonious offense and a history of committing an act of animal cruelty. The document analysis will provide crucial information regarding the background and prior criminal behavior of each subject. Once 10 are selected, the researcher will conduct one-on-one interviews with each subject and will implement an open-ended question format to obtain detailed information associated to their experiences. These interviews will be recorded through an audio recording device and later transcribed and placed into a file for each participant. It is vital for the researcher to maintain superior and efficient records of the data collected throughout the research process to ensure accurate information is interpreted and that the researcher does not implement bias into the process data analysis (Creswell, 2009). However, it should be noted that a certain degree of bias is required in this type of research, for the researcher is selecting a topic worthy of study in addition to the identification of the parameters and specific elements necessary to conduct the study.

Upon completion of the interviews, the group of juveniles will then participate in focus groups for six weeks in which the discussion of prior childhood animal cruelty and childhood social bonds are assessed. Each week will address a different topic to include: 1) The underlying motivation to commit the offense, 2) The type of abuse that was committed, 3) The frequency of the offense, 4) Any emotional or psychological aspects associated to remorse or empathy for the animal subsequent to the offense, 5) Description of one’s social bonds with peers, and 6) Description of one’s social bonds with parental figures. All of topics will be addressed within the focus groups each week in relation to participation in criminal behavior as an adolescent. These sessions will be recorded and transcribed at a later time to decipher the opinions and personal experiences of each participant. According to Ryan and Bernard (n.d.), the identification of themes within qualitative research is a vital element in data interpretation. The researcher will not be aware of the themes within the study until the data is completely collected and examined to assess the themes and subthemes prevalent within the data analysis (Ryan & Bernard, n.d.). Subsequent to the data interpretation, the researcher will identify predominant and repetitive themes within the data that will aid in presenting the information accurately, solely based on the subjective perception and interpretations of the participants themselves.
It is important for the researcher to maintain an objective stance in regards to effectively managing the data collected within this study. Two criticisms that are predominantly addressed within qualitative studies include the fact that researchers are subjected to being bias within their studies and that there is also a poor rate of reproductability associated with qualitative studies (Mays & Pope, 1995). Within this particular study, the role of the researcher within a qualitative analysis will be evaluative in aiming to comprehend the social phenomena and interpretations associated to the subjects perspective of participating in animal cruelty and assessing the dynamics pertaining to social bonding during childhood.

Budgetary Analysis

In the qualitative research study that is exploratory, the researcher will be participating in a field study with the goal of understanding the framework that is prevalent within the participants’ interpretations of their own history of animal abuse in regards to their future participation in criminal behavior. Qualitative research tends to be comprised of a much smaller population than quantitative research but can take longer to gather information from personal observations or in-depth interviewing. The data will be collected at the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center and analyzed elsewhere; the cost analysis in this research study includes that of time, transportation, supplies, and materials to effectively obtain the data in an orderly fashion and to interpret and analyze the results accurately.

Analysis and Justification

This research proposal will integrate a qualitative methodology into the research process for collecting data from the participants that is based on their subjective perceptions and interpretations of animal abuse and poor social bonds as factor associated to their participation in adolescent criminal behavior. Much of the research pertaining to this subject matter is quantitative rather than qualitative and this is one of the fundamental reasons that a qualitative research methodology was selected, to add to the literature and current research on this topic. Although a quantitative analysis was not selected for this research proposal, this methodology may be different from a qualitative study, but there are distinct similarities between these methodologies as well.

Similarities and Differences

Creswell (2009) purports that in qualitative research studies, the researcher is the key instrument in data collection. This is done by either collecting the data themselves, examining documents, observing behavior first-handedly, interviewing participants, and even administering an instrument to receive data (Creswell, 2009). Most researchers that employ a qualitative method of research into their study, refrain from utilizing one method of data collection (Creswell, 2009). Quantitative studies implement a statistical analysis that examines the coefficients and the relationship between the variables being contemplated. Quantitative analysis may be perceived to be much more worthy of attention due to the variety of statistical analysis that researchers implement into the data analysis that examines in particular the relationship between variables. One may also support this form of research over qualitative studies, due to the level of generalizability, reliability, and validity that is typically contemplated. Quantitative methods of data analysis include descriptive analyses of data based on inferential questions of the variables contemplated into the study as well as interpretation of the results through statistical testing and comparisons of data (Creswell, 2009).

According to Creswell (2009), qualitative data analysis includes the coding, generating of categories, development of themes from material collected, and organization of these elements into reports and meaningful units. Due to the fact that qualitative statistical analysis tends to be exploratory in nature, this may be perceived to be a weakness within the realm of research because there is a certain level of ambiguity associated to the research process. The researchers at times are unaware of what exactly will surface within the study and therefore there is not necessarily a hypothesis or certain variables that are manipulated within this form of research. On the other hand, quantitative research may be costly in relation to statistical analysis, but also provides a quicker turnaround in relation to the results of the assessments administered.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper guides the framework of a qualitative research study and addresses the research questions and epistemological paradigms associated to both qualitative and quantitative analysis. There is a need to conduct further research in the ambiguous area of what motivates one to participate in animal cruelty and the relationship that these actions have towards deviant activity in the future. This proposal also addresses one’s childhood social bonds between peers and parental figures as well as a factor that may be associated with the development of antisocial behavioral characteristics. Qualitative research utilizes the epistemological paradigm of interpretivism in data analysis and can provide great insight into identifying elements associated to experience.






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