Research Methodology and School Shootings
Four women hug one another in a school parking lot.On January 14, 2014, parents console one another while waiting for news after a shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, New Mexico. Image retrieved Jan. 16, 2014 from huffpost.com.
As we watch the news, we find that stories of school shootings are being reported more frequently. Read the following journal article entitled: Expressions and Projections of Evil in Mass Violence, by Nurmi and Oksanen (2013). The authors conducted a study after two school shootings in Finland. They were interested in the perception of neighboring residents and how residents tried to explain/rationalize the actions of the shooter.
One of the most important aspects of any journal article is to understand the way in which the data were collected. If we understand the methodology, we will know whether the results are reliable, valid and credible. After you read this article, do the following:
1. Critique the authors’ work – list strengths and weaknesses of the argument and of their method of studying the problem
2. Give your opinion on the findings (were they important, useful, in what way? was the study worthless? interesting? how? etc.)
3. Since there have been a number of additional cases of mass shootings in the U.S., such as the one in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the arguments about gun safety have become even more intense.
What does social science research indicate about these arguments? Does the research evidence support some arguments more than others? Which ones and how?