ERIC Number: ED172342
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Models and Muddles in Human Ecology: An Examination of High School Crime Rates. Report No. 255.
Gottfredson, Gary D.
Recent research in the human ecological tradition has made increasing use of causal modeling in the search for understanding of aggregate-level social processes. This approach has great appeal because it helps make hypotheses explicit, provides a convenient way to structure the application of statistical controls, allows the representation of complexity in the relations among variables, and if some strong assumptions are plausible, it makes possible weak probes of causal hypotheses using only correlational evidence. The present report critically examines the utility of the path analytic approach in human ecology by using the rate of high school crimes reported to the police as an example and providing some tests of the plausibility of the underlying assumptions of this research strategy. It is concluded that in studies like the one exemplified here it is difficult to have confidence in the interpretation of results, and that alternative approaches may be more fruitful. These alternative approaches should be given attention by research policy-makers. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD. Center for the Study of Social Organization of Schools.