Travers and Newton

A widely different understanding about criminal justice research has been presented by Michelle Newton-Francis and Max Travers in their respective articles. Michelle Newton-Francis’s article is rather short and focused when compared to the in-depth detailed structure of the article written by Max Travers, while discussing components related to the criminal justice field. While the former article presents its statements directly, Max Travers’s intended points have to be interpreted.

Travers article on understanding comparison in criminal research examines and presents the “interpretive philosophies of social sciences”. These philosophical interpretations developed by Max Weber aim to explore comparative research in the field of criminal justice. The articles also demonstrated the comparative field between that of philosophy and criminology and how the two have been synchronized to work in the present legal system. Both positive and interpretive understandings of comparison have been described.

Positivism approach of finding laws by conducting experimentation is somewhat similar to the methodological approach in the natural science studies, where the view of the researcher is almost negligible and the ultimate outcome depends solely on the results. On the other hand, the article also describes the interpretive approach that relies more on human interpretation based on free will. Thereby, positivism believes in laws that constraint human behavior, while interpretive approach does not.

The key perspective of the interpretive philosophy is that the experimentation validated in natural sciences cannot be used for the criminal justice field, because even when comparing two societies with almost same values, there have been problems with the concept of understanding comparison. It cannot be nullified using measurements and assumptions or by accounting for variables. Criminologists who have an interpretive approach do face complications, and the details pertaining to it have been described in details in Travers’s article.

What I derive from the article is that in criminal justice field of comparative research, researchers follow either of the two models, positivism or interpretive model. However, no such methodology or approach has been described in Newton Francis’s article, which directly gets down to discussing and identifying the different components that could be used in the criminal justice field. The article presents and demonstrates criminal justice research methods in three different portions. The three portions are: ways to enquire, enquirers and sites to enquire. In the first portion, the writer says that enquiry should be based on “marginalized voices”. In the second portion of enquirers, the writer demonstrates the need of diversity in the field for an effective client-based relation. He also describes the need for inclusion of women or minorities, thereby giving a feminist approach to the methodology. This portion demonstrates the effectiveness of feminist-based approaches in a field that is widely dependent on quantitative-based approach. The last part deals with “intersectionality with gender” and uses a gender-based approach in the field. This part talks about the effectiveness of gender-based diversity that could bring about change in the present society. Thus, this particular article on whole gives an insight into the field.

When both of the articles are placed in juxtaposition, visible differences and contrasts are noticed in the points and objectives presented in either of the articles, even though both aim to discuss thoroughly the techniques and methods used in criminal justice research. Newton Francis’s article deals with a portion on feminist method, whereas Travers’s article does not. The former deals with need of variability and diversity, whereas the latter concentrates on two widely followed research methods and has no explanation for the effectiveness of feminist approach or effect of diversity in the field. It is an obvious fact that Travers’s article presents the current scenario of the system, whereas Newton Francis concentrates on less followed methods, but very much effective in certain situations.

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