Exam 2 – Importance of Evaluation Research in Criminology/ Intervening Variable and an Extraneous Variable. (CCJ 5705 – Research Methods in Criminology).

Criminal Justice

Exam 2 – Importance of Evaluation Research in Criminology/ Intervening Variable and an Extraneous Variable. (CCJ 5705 – Research Methods in Criminology).

1. Discuss the importance of evaluation research to criminology. Choose one public policy or
crime-control program and describe the steps that you would take to evaluate the effectiveness of
that policy or program.

2. Compare and contrast an intervening variable and an extraneous variable. Describe two
examples of an intervening variable and two examples of an extraneous variable. How do these
types of variables affect criminological research?

Importance of Evaluation Research in Criminology

             Evaluation research is important in criminology as it strengthens the feedback loop through conducting of credible analysis of the program operations and outcomes (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  Criminological work is further strengthened through the feedback loop inclusion of connections to parties outside of the program itself.  A research on the government program may include the outside experts who are not necessarily part of the program itself.  Evaluation research in criminology helps in answering the question of why does the program do what it does. It is a pertinent question in determination of the impact of programs in criminology.

            Bachman and Schutt, (2020) indicates that evaluation research in criminology helps in needs assessment. It determines the perception that aptly describes the shape of the need and what programs should be put in place so as to address the need.  Needs assessment in criminology is vital for the development of programs that address the need (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  During implementation of programs, problems are encountered if the program did not fully address the need in the organization. Bachman and Schutt,( 2020) gives an example of a social program developed to deal with juvenile crime in Midwest community , since it was termed as a national social problem. However, during its implementation, it was discovered that the juvenile delinquency is not a social problem in that particular area.

             In criminology, evaluation of a program is an important component. Once the program has been rolled out, there is need for evaluation of whether the program is reaching the intended audience ,whether the programs is functioning as expected , and whether the program is spending resources as  expected (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  Process evaluation helps in program evaluation, through incorporation of a systematic way of assessing the program coverage and the delivery(Bachman and Schutt, 2020). Assessing coverage helps in dealing with the extent in which the program covers in regards to reaching its target audience. On the other hand, the evaluation of the program delivery looks into ways in which there is degree of congruence between what the program is meant to achieve and what it actually does achieve in the organization.

             In determination of whether  the ppppp crime control program in Florida  is working, the first step would be to carry a process evaluation. The process evaluation will help determine the extent in implementation of the program in the organization is happening as it was already programmed.  The process evaluation shall be through a series of surveys taken to the target audience in an inquiry on what has the program done so far in changing  the perceived social problem. The survey will determine whether the program is meeting its objective or not. Additionally, the evaluation of the program would be additionally undertaken through a quantitative data study. The quantitative data emanates from the application forms, receipts, invoices, and stock inventories.

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             Ppppp shall be evaluated through qualitative data such as through anonymous questionnaires to the intended audience. The questionnaire will help in determining whether a program functions as expected and brings in new ideas from the audience on how the program can be improved.  Ultimately, once the program is complete, an impact analysis can be performed to measure the extent of the research study. Impact analysis helps in describing whether the program outcomes and determination of its efficiencies (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).

 Differences between Intervening Variable and an Extraneous Variable

            During the research study, associations are important in helping determine the causal effect in the perpetration of a specific crime. For instance, Bachman and Schutt (2000) describes the causal effect as important in determination of whether there is any association between the people who watch the Dexter series and the crimes committed.  The causal effect can be connected to an existing dependent variable such as watching the series or an independent variable that is the crime committed. Extraneous variable refers to the variable that has an influence in both the dependent and the independent variable and that the influence disappears once the extraneous variable is controlled (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  For instance, the influence of someone committing murder after watching the Dexter series may have emanated from the violent feelings one harbored before even watching the series. In this instance, the violent feelings are the extraneous variable.

            Intervening variable is a variable that gets influenced by the independent variable, and ultimately causes the variation in the dependent variable thus leading to the varying relationships between the two variables (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).   Intervening variable helps in causal relationships where the extent of the influence in the independent variable helps in determination of the case study. For instance, in the determination of the structural disadvantage in the family structures it might help in realization of the influence of lower family structures in determination of the social behavior amongst the children (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  However, there is need of a determination of more than one intervening variable so as to conclude that indeed the chosen intervening variable has a causal effect on the dependent and independent variable.

             Comparison between Intervening Variable and an Extraneous Variable

             The major connection between the Intervening Variable and an Extraneous Variable is that theirs is a manner in which the relationship between the independent and the dependent variables is affected. Extraneous variable has an impact on the variation in both the dependent and the independent variable. However, upon control, the impact on the variables is controlled for. On the other hand, intervening variable has a causal relationship with the independent variable ultimately impacting the dependent variable.

Intervening Variable Examples

             Informal social control is an instance of an intervening variable(Bachman and Schutt, 2020). It is directly linked with structural disadvantage and influences the relationship with the occurrence of juvenile delinquency.  Informal social control is characterized by the low parent- child attachment. The parents might be too involved in work related activities leaving little time for bonding with their children.  The parents may offer harsh and erratic discipline to the children.  Often, the children forms aggressive behavior and may commit crimes in an effort of self-expression. The intervening variable of social control is important in criminological research as it helps in determination of the causal effects of juvenile crime. A child may connect with criminal gang in seeking for the affection that they may have missed in their homes. 

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             Low self-control is an additional variable that can be influential in causing crime to happen in poor households.  Poverty may cause children to have poor socialization in the early years hence inhibiting the formation of the virtue of self-control (Bachman and Schutt, 2020). Offense happens as children can no longer restrain themselves from certain actions.  The behavior may ascend into adolescence and adulthood resulting in individuals who can barely restrain themselves from crime related activities. The intervening variable of less of self-control is important in criminological activities as it helps in determination of the correctional activity that may best benefit the offender and reduce recidivism.

Extraneous Variable Examples

            Extraneous variable helps in determination of the extent in which the dependent and the independent variable are influenced.  Highly aggression trait is an extraneous variable that can lead one to watch a serial killer series and eventually committing murder(Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  Highly aggressive individuals are predisposed into crime activities as compared to the low aggressive persons. Eventually, the extraneous trait helps in implementation of the rehabilitative program that will prove helpful in correction of the offenders. The therapy accorded to such people shall look into ways in which the individuals get triggered into violent behavior and how those triggers can be managed.

            Extraneous variable of drug use can be linked with the violent behaviors among young men who are still in college.  Before exhibiting violent behavior, the young men are used to consume of illegal substances such as Cocaine which alters with the perception of issues and overall functionality (Bachman and Schutt, 2020).  The violent behavior is connected with drug use therefore causing the crime perpetrator to act in illegal ways such as disruption of normal actives in an academic setting or a home setting.  The extraneous variable is important in criminological research as it helps in the determination of the kind of therapy needed for the offender in an effort to address recidivism.


Bachman, R., & Schutt, R. K.(2020).The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice (7th Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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