Gangs and Community-Based Organizations in Chicago

Plan of Study

In the research concerned with the contributions of Chicago Gangs and Community Development Organizations to the urban community, I pursue the following objectives. First of all, I plan to attract more public attention and make society more aware of the burning issue, as Wyrick & Howell (2004) argue, of gang-related illegal activities, i. e. actions contradicting the federal and the state laws, which are on the rise in Chicago urban areas today, according to the Journal of Gang Research (2008). Secondly, my objective is to focus social scientists, public and state activists on the issues, widely explored in Gangs: A Community Response (2003), of negativity that gangs and youth’s affiliation with them bring to society. Finally, my main objective is to make officials of all levels pay attention to the social issues and start working on their elimination and improvement of public wellbeing. The plan of the study will include:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Literature Review
  4. Methodology
  5. Results
  6. Analysis
  7. Discussion
  8. Conclusions and Recommendations
  9. References

Drawing from this, the relevance of the topic of my study is obvious. Modern society has been experiencing the rise of gang violence and other gang-related negative influences that are widely disputed by scholars including Wyrick & Howell (2004), Journal of Gang Research (2008), etc. What is the most dangerous is that the modern youth, as the Journal of Gang Research (2008) argues, constitutes the bulk of new gang affiliates. Accordingly, considerable attention of authorities and the public is demanded to consider and solve this problem. The dissertation dedicated to the role of Chicago Gangs and Community Development Organizations in the urban community can be a considerable impact in raising public awareness on the issue. Therefore, the topic of my dissertation is considerably relevant, especially for the youth and the authorities of the country, and I think it is able to change the situation.


As Krueger and King (1998) argue, the methodology is vital for the research design and success. However, Ader and Mellenberg (1999) view choosing the right method as a difficult task, depending on the topic of study and its objectives. In this research, I will use two major methods – qualitative and quantitative research. Taking into consideration the topic of this study, i. e. community development, I will need to implement methods to find out the most necessary data fitting my research topic. Moreover, I will take into consideration the specificity of data in community development study, as well as the ways, in which I will analyze and synthesize the data obtained from interviews, surveys, and literature reviews into respective conclusions.

Accordingly, I will use the quantitative method in this study to carry out the analysis of numerical survey results. I will use the qualitative method, as contrasted, to inquire about underlying, implicit phenomena of gang-related community phenomena and answer a variety of questions that will arise during my research. The topic of this study presupposes numerous ambiguities in data and judgements, and the qualitative method will be the most fitting to it. Thus, I will use mainly the qualitative method of research in order to see the reasons for the development of gangs and community organizations and to assess their impact on the community.

Annotated Bibliography

Ader, Herman J. and Gideon J. Mellenberg (eds.). (1999). Research Methodology in the Social, Behavioural and Life Sciences. London, UK: SAGE Publications.

The book was written by the two recognized specialists in the field of research methodology and experimental design, Research Methodology in the Social, Behavioural and Life Sciences is a perfect source of information about the most appropriate methods that one can implement while writing a dissertation. Ader and Gideon (1999) argue that the quantitative method of research is the most fitting one for experimental work in the area of social and community studies. The authors also show the unified system of notions and supplementary methods that the quantitative research can use. The support of the argument by Ader and Gideon (1999) is carried out through exemplifying it by experimental design types possible to carry out with the help of the qualitative method, clinical trials, etc.

Barbour, Rosaline S. and Jenny Kitzinger (eds.). (1999). Developing Focus Group Research. Politics, Theory and Practice. London, UK: SAGE Publications.

The book by Barbour and Kitzinger (1999) is a brilliant source of data concerning the research method that acquires more and more popular today, i. e. focus groups. The major purpose of the book, according to the editors, is to increase the public awareness concerning focus groups and explain the implications of the usage of this research method in practice. Among the variety of other issues, such points are considered in the book as the importance of research sampling and setting on the preciseness of its data, the possibility of using the focus group method in combination with other methods, the appropriateness of this method to the research involving minority or discriminated groups, the implications for software usage during focus group research procedures, etc.

Bringberg, David and Joseph E. McGrath. (1985). Validity and the Research Process. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publications.

Validity is another controversial aspect in the sphere of social and community-related research. Therefore, Bringberg and McGrath (1985) are concerned with this topic in their book. The main ida of the latter is to bring clarity to the debate over validity, define this term and make sure it’s understandable for any researchers. To achieve this, Bringberg and McGrath (1985) develop the idea of Validity Network Schema (VNS) based on their logical considerations and experimentally proved knowledge from social psychology, organizational studies, etc. The authors consider the substantive, conceptual, and logical areas of research process and connect them with the three meanings of validity – the ones of value, correspondence, and robustness respectively. To make sure that the terminology is comprehensible, every book chapter has a glossary.

Holloway, Immy and Jan Walker. (2000). Getting a PhD in Health and Social Care. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science.

Holloway and Walker (2000) present a comprehensive and rather detailed book for the students busy with getting their PhD Degrees. In more detail, the book is subdivided into two major sections that deal with the process of continuing the postgraduate education and receiving the PhD Degree. The first section explains the ways in which the enrollment procedure should be carried out with the special emphasis on the bureaucratic peculiarities of the latter. The second section advices students on the practical steps they should take to succeed during their postgraduate study. The use of this book for my research topic is evident in its comprehensive character that allows me to choose the most adequate research methods to use.

Hox, J.J. and J. de Jong-Gierveld (eds.). (1990). Operationalization and Research Strategy. Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.

This book reports the results of the scientific symposium that took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on September 8 – 9, 1988, and established the new universally accepted values and research directions in the areas of research design, methodology, conceptualization, and logic. The points presented in the book are agreed with the International Sociological Association and are compared to the traditional views of researchers on the methods used in their work and their efficiency. Among others, rational choice theory, deductive-nomological, and nomological network theories are considered by Hox and de Jong-Gierveld (1990) in order to offer the new view of the auxiliary measurement theories and facilitate the development of the new progressive research strategies in the modern world. My research will benefit from using this book as it can shape the research methodology and guide the work.

Krueger, Richard A. and Jean A. King. (1998). Involving Community Members in Focus Groups. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

The topic of research carried out through the method of focus groups is elaborated on by Krueger and King (1998) in their brilliant book explaining the basics of the focus groups interviewing process. An interesting feature of the book is that it is applicable to researchers and ordinary people trying to gather certain data about their local community, etc. One of the main points of Involving Community Members in Focus Groups is that volunteers can benefit from any social science research works more than professionals usually do. Nevertheless, it is the task of specialists to prepare the volunteers and focus them on the research aims. The book is of great value for my research as I also plan to involve volunteers in the information gathering process, and this book will guide me in this step.

Noble, Keith A. (1994). Changing Doctoral Degrees. An International Perspective. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

The book by Noble (1994) deals with the topic of studying the historical development and the modern position of the doctoral degrees and all the phenomena associated with them. Addressing the examples from the past, like the notice of the first doctoral degree to have ever been conferred in France in 1150, Noble (1994) develops his argument to the modern American, Canadian, Australian, etc. systems of education. Considering the examples of 67 scientists from various countries, Noble (1994) comes to the conclusion that doctoral degrees, ways of their obtaining them, and the procedures connected with them today will soon change due to the necessity of modernization. This book is valuable for my research as PhD Degree is what I pursue by my dissertation.

Scioli, Frank P. and Thomas J. Cook (eds.). (1975). Methodologies for Analyzing Public Policies. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

Scioli and Cook (1975) consider the variety of issues that the modern methodology of analysis and research faces. The consideration of the pros and cons of the two major research methodologies, I. e. qualitative and quantitative, is one of the main points of the book. Considerable attention is also paid by Scioli and Cook (1975) to the usage of focus group method in various kinds of social analysis and public policy studies. Therefore, the value of this book for my research is evident. The properly structure methodology is the basis of the successful work, and this book is of considerable help in the methodology development.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. (1999). The Clockwork Muse. A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The essence of this book is to show the writers of dissertations, theses, and other major works, how they might structure their work, distribute their time and outline their writing objectives so that to adjust to any possible working or study schedule and still have some private time every day. The concept of a block is one of the centers of the book by Zerubavel (1999), who argues that irrespective of the circumstances, the writer should first of all structure his or her time to be able to meet their dissertation/thesis deadlines. “Methodicalness and routinization” are also crucial for writing as they allow the writer to acquire considerable self-discipline and high-quality writing.