Social Construct Theory/ Sampling Techniques – Criminology Research Methods

Criminal Justice

Social Construct Theory/ Sampling Techniques – Criminology Research Methods

Social Construct Theory

The conceptual basis of the social construct theory is that man lived in a state of nature where there was no law or a government that governed the activities of human beings. Laskar (2013) posits that the quest for security of property and lives coupled with the hardships in some parts of the society led to human beings surrendering part of their rights to a government.  Social construct describes the process through which the civil society and laws were formed. The human beings renounced their natural rights to the state and the state gainfully acquired the task of protection of properties and lives.

Measures of testing Social Construct Theory

 The Social Construct theories need to be tested to ascertain its assertions. There are various steps that shall be incorporated in testing the social construct theory. Initially, the concept of social construct theory needs to be defined (Bachman, & Schutt, 2013).   Conceptualization in social Construct theory shall look at the explanation of the theory based on  different theorists perspectives.  The first question shall be, what is social construct theory according to John Locke? Locke describes Social construct theory as existence in pre-political era (Laskar, 2013). Human beings coexisted peacefully in the pre-political period where each person was esteemed as equal in society. However, Locke describes the absence of the law, absence of impartial judge and   lack of natural power to execute the natural laws as a basis for the formation of the social construct law ( Laskar, 2013).  Locke outlines that the social construct law as a surrender of the rights over life and property to the reigning government.

             The second question for testing the social construct law shall be, What is social construct law according to  Jean Jacques Rousseau ? Elahi (2014) describes the social construct theory in the perspective of constructive reason.  Rosseau describes the states existence prior to the formation of the social construct as a harmonious co-existence. However, the surging human population posited new challenged on the means of existence and what human beings could do to survive. Thus, Elahi (2014) describes the formation of a social construct theory as important in the governance of private property. It would help in the limitation as to how much an individual person could use the natural existing resources to make wealth.  Rosseau conceptualization of the social construct theory was that the human beings freely surrendered their rights to property to the state (Elahi, 2014). Therefore, the  formation of the  laws to govern the human beings existence in society was discarded if it violated the free will that human beings enjoyed and the liberties there in.

 The Third question for testing the Social Construct theory Shall be , what pre-existing conditions lead to the development of the social construct theory? Hobbes Social Construct Theory developed as an aftermath of the Civil Law in Britain.  Hobbes describes man initial state of occurrence as one based on constant fears and insecurities (Elahi, 2014).  Human beings had a natural quest for security and order. Hobbes, unlike Rousseau and Lockes, posits that man surrendered all their rights to a governing authority so as to dwell in security and in order.  The construction of the Social Construct Theory emerged as an additional basis for countering the   natural state that lacked laws and security . Hobbes Social construct theory is based on absolutism where the individual person is fully submitted to the governing authority.

 The consistencies of the Social Construct theories shall also be tested.   Validity in  the concepts being discussed shall be measured in specific ways. To begin with, the face validity of the social construct theory shall be determined. Bachman, & Schutt, (2013) describes the face value as the ability of a concept to measure a value that it’s intended to be measuring.  For instance, the social construct theories by different philosophers should offer an explanation to the manner in which the criminal law was formed to ensure that the individuals living in the state coexist harmoniously.  

 The logical constructs in which a theory supposedly holds shall be determined through assessment of the content validity.  Koller, Levenson and Gluk (2017) describes the content validity as a measure of the extent in which a measure of examination such as the  social construct theory represents fully the objects it’s supposed to represent and  covers all the areas of examination in a clear manner and fully understandable language. In the case of the criminal social construct theory, the theory should fully explain how it helps in maintenance of order in the society through a protection of the property and the lives of individual people. All concepts in the social construct theory shall be fully explained (Koller, Levenson and Gluk ,2017) , such as the formation of the civic governments as well as how much liberty does the individuals within a specific location still holds.

 Criterion Validity shall be established in the research on the social construct theory. Bachman, & Schutt, (2013), describe criterion validity as the ability to achieve similar results when measuring the different variables on the same phenomenon.  The theories on the social construct theory should bring out the same results on the basis of formation. For instance, a comparison of the Locke’s and Rousseau’s Social Contract Theory aims at bringing out protection of the property and lives within a specific location.  Despite the different basis for the social construct theory, the two philosophers agree on the limited power that the government has been given by the residents of a given state and the liberties that people still hold.

             Construct validity of the social construct theory shall additionally be established. It entails the description of the relation of the various elements as described in the   Social Construct theory (Bachman, & Schutt, 2013). The construct validity expounds on the manner in which human beings existence in the natural state of being gave rise to the Social Construct theory. Also, it relates concepts such as the surging human population complicated the process of acquisition of private property. Construct validity verifies why a particular concept had to be included in the formation of the theory. For example, in the social construct law, the need for the law was necessitated by the surging populations against limited national properties.

 Reliability of the Social construct theories shall additionally be determined. Bachman, & Schutt, (2013) explains reliability as a measure of determination that the similar phenomenon could yield the same results after testing. The different measures used in explaining the formation of the social construct theory should lead to the same basis. Just as the previous discussion described the formation of the social construct theory as emanating from the  need to regulate the manner in which private property acquisition was taking place in the society.  Human beings felt the need  to have an impartial judge that could limit the extent to which one individual’s acquisition of private property could limit the  prosperity of others.

 Since the research entails the Social Construct Theory, test and retest reliability method shall be used in determination of the validity of the research concepts.  The methodology entails testing of a concept and then performing a similar test on the concept months later to ensure that the same results in the research questions are acquired (Bachman, & Schutt, 2013). The test and retest methodology encompasses the  study of various philosophers description of the Social Construct Theory and  the  basis behind the formation  quest for civic governance as a basis of an impartial judge on human beings existence.

 The testing methods and the measures of the validity and reliability shall help in understanding what a particular philosopher considered in the formation of the social construct theory. It eliminates the biasness that could be if one just presented data in the manner in which it had been presented in the society.

Sampling Techniques for a rural community and the rationale

American Rural Community

Criminologists would be interested in rural communities since for a long time they have crime related issues and little research of criminologist on the rural communities have been done.  Hollis and Hankhouse (2019) states that the over 97% of the land in the USA is rural. The communities occupying the rural areas accounts for approximately 19.3% of the entire population of USA.  There are a limited number of researches on the difference in criminological activities between the rural and urban areas in terms of disparities in crime, crime perpetrators victimization, and the activities of the criminal justice system (Hollis and Hankhouse, 2019).  

Sampling Technique

 Several Sampling techniques can be used to draw a sample from the rural community.  The researcher shall use the Random Sampling technique as a means of generating the target sample.  Random sampling is akin to the flipping or tossing a coin to get the target population ( Taherdoost 2016).  Random sampling does entail the picking up of random samples in the population to fill up the  targets for the research methods.  Taherdoost ( 2016) describes the Random Sampling technique as advantageous as each element   of the population has got an equal chance of being represented.  In the Simple random sampling technique the researcher may assign numbers to specific search items. Eventually, the researchers may only use specific numbers as part of the research project.  The frames in the sampling population can be used where the researcher has already decided on whom to include in the search process such as the entire population.  Simple Random sampling can entail the lottery technique where only an individual number is picked representing the target population.  Here, the researcher might need an additional help  in picking out the samples or choose to conduct the process electronically through random selection of the lottery. For instance, the first result in the search engine could be used in the determination of the sample target.  The calculation in the Simple random sampling technique is easy to calculate the elements in each of the frame.

 In contrast to the Random Sampling Technique, the Systematic Random technique can be used in the rural population in a bid to determine the kind of samples in the target population.  Taherdoost (2016) describes the systematic sampling technique as a means in which the researcher picks out specific samples from the entire population where the samples are arranged in a sequential manner. The convenience of the systematic sampling is the short span of time involved in selection of the samples for the target population.  There is ease in determination of the target population in the random sampling techniques since the computerized methods helps in determination of the sample selected. For instance, every third entry in the frames is selected as the target population.

 Stratified Random Sampling technique is used in the population where the entire population of the target location is known (Bachman, & Schutt, 2013).  The elements in the sample frame are assigned distinguishing traits and classified into different elements.  The items are randomly sampled from the strata.  For instance, in the American rural Population, the victimization of criminal offenders might be prevalent in a specific race. As such, the stratified Random Sampling might only be undertaken in the distinct population portion.

Rationale for Random Sampling in the Target Population

 Random Sampling is the best sampling technique in the rural target population since each sample in the target population has a chance of being equally represented.  The little population occupying a vast amount of land is indicative of a sparsely populated area. The efficiency in the study of the criminology activities lay in the ability of the distinct elements of the population being adequately described in the research process.  Random sampling technique ensures there is no bias between the researcher and the target population.

Multistage Cluster Sampling

  The researcher may use this method in the determination of a sample from the target population. Bachman, & Schutt, (2013) states that little prior information is required for the development of the sample in multi stage Cluster sampling. The technique comprises of a series of stages for development of the research target. The first stage is the random selection of samples that are naturally occurring in the environment.  A researcher could pick out specific age groups or race in establishing the disparities in crime among the different sets. Also, the researcher could pick out ladies of different races to ascertain the victimization levels and the gender based criminal justice.  The second step entails the selection of individual persons within a sample in determination of the target element. The individual persons could be based on specific traits such as working class or the other occupations. The third Stage comprises specific traits on the sample population such as the determination of the specific location of the target population that would bring forth the maximum information on the target population. The fourth stage would be a blend of the entire research characteristic in determination of the target population.

Rationale of the Multi-stage Sampling technique

 As earlier mentioned, the rural population in America is sparsely populated. As such, the selection of the target sample may be a tedious process.  The Multi-stage  sampling technique would help in the  elimination of samples that are deemed as  irrelevant in the study of the target population. The researcher gets an opportunity to learn additional components of the study population. Such components may include the prevalence of crime in a particular population and  the kinds of criminal acts that are prevalent in the population.

Non- Probability Sampling Techniques

Convenience Sampling

 Convenience Sampling is ideal for a population that is widely  distributed  in a given location and where the researcher has a limited time frame.  Elfil and Negida (2017) describes the convenience sampling as a non-probability sampling methodology where the target samples are selected on the basis of their availability and accessibility.  The researcher may use data from previous researcher studies to determine the kind of the users that are available and accessible for the research study. For instance, the researcher may use data on the previous crime related activities to determine whether the specific target from the population has the  required traits to conclusively contribute to the research process.   The researcher may fill  require potential sample target population to fill up data concerning the study on social media sites such as Facebook. The results of such elements of the  research could be used in drawing conclusions on the research sample population.

Snow Ball Sampling Technique

Snowballing Sampling technique is ideal in locations where the individual persons are asked for information on their colleagues or peers that are not easily available.  Elfil and Negida (2017) describes the snowballing non-probability sampling technique as ideal for the determination of the target population in a sparsely populated area. The information acquired in the target population is mainly acquired on referral basis. As such, the researcher relies on the willingness of the respondents to give information concerning their peers and in how much information on the peers that they have. Bachman, & Schutt, (2013) describes snowballing as a technique where the target sample keeps on increasing unlike previous methodologies where the sample keeps on shrinking to get the target population.

Rationale of the Non-probability Sampling techniques

  The Snow Ball Sampling technique is ideal for the large area of study. It might not be economical for the researcher to travels in the vast region and meet the individual persons to collect data on the research. The Snow balling technique and the availability sampling technique will help the respondents in accessing the large area in a short time span. Additionally, criminology related research process may consist of engagement of respondents who might be hard to find or unwilling to respond to the questions posed to them. The snow ball and the availability research techniques helps in accessing vast amount of information through only engaging a limited number of people.


 The selection of a target population sample is an exercise that can determine whether the research process is fruitful or not.  The choice of the non-probability and probability sampling techniques helps in cutting the costs involved in the research process and coming up with credible information. The researcher can further choose to combine any two methodologies to achieve a more specific sample target.  Research in the criminologists related areas  may have unwilling respondents hence the higher affinity for the non-probability sampling techniques.


Bachman, R., & Schutt, R. K.(2013).The practice of research in criminology and criminal justice. Sage.

Elahi, M.(2014). What is social contract theory. Philosophy Archives, SophiaOmni. www. sophiaomni. org.

Elfil, M., & Negida, A.(2017). Sampling methods in clinical research;an educational review. Emergency, 5(1).

Hollis, M. E., & Hankhouse, S. (2019). The growth of rural criminology: introduction to the special issue.

Koller, I., Levenson, M. R., & Glück, J.(2017). What do you think you are measuring?A mixed-methods procedure for assessing the content validity of test items and theory-based scaling. Frontiers in psychology,8, 126.

Laskar, M. (2013).Summary of social contract theory by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Locke and Rousseau (April 4, 2013).

Taherdoost, H. (2016). Samplingmethods in research methodology; how to choose a sampling technique for research. How to Choose a Sampling Technique for Research(April 10, 2016).

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