In general, criminology is a scientific approach to the study of criminal behavior. One of the first scientific approaches in criminology was the work of Cesare Beccaria in 1764 related to torture and the death penalty. Quantitative methods based on empirical data in criminology were developed in the 19th century by sociologist Émile Durkheim in his famous research project titled Suicide, which was published in 1897 and considered suicide rates across different populations.

According to R. K. Schutt and R. Bachman (2008), those interested in the study of criminology and criminal justice have at their disposal a wide range of research methods. Deciding which of the particular research methods to use is entirely contingent upon the question being studied. Research questions typically fall into four categories ...

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