Methodological Problems in Conducting a Longitudinal Self-Report Telephone Survey of Juvenile Justice Youth

Jessamyn Tracy, Florida State University
Christine Arazan, Florida State University
Thomas G. Blomberg, Forida State University

ABSTRACT
In much of the criminological literature, little attention is given to the gap between methodological theory and practical research. However, practical applications of these theories often highlight the sometimes imperfect fit between theory and practice. In the summer of 2001, the Juvenile Justice Educational Enhancement Program undertook a longitudinal self-report study to determine how youth released from Florida's juvenile justice facilities reintegrated into their communities, homes, schools, and work environments. Numerous obstacles to this research objective developed throughout the first year of this follow-up study. The primary problems identified were the study's organizational structure, an inability to obtain crucial contact information for the study's subjects, and the inability to research the sample subjects even when correct contact information was obtained.

This project is an illustration of the limitations and constraints of methodological theory when applied to actual research endeavors in the field. This paper serves as a case study of the numerous obstacles encountered in a longitudinal study and the subsequent attempts at overcoming these difficulties in an attempt to inform and improve future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006