Research Methodology

Part of the Studies of Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 2)


Organize Crime Organize Crime Group Internal Revenue Service Syndicate Crime Philadelphia Inquirer 
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  1. 1.
    Alan A. Block, East Side-West Side: Organizing Crime in New York, 1930–1950 (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1983), p. 12.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Alan A. Block, The Business of Crime (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1991), pp. 20–21.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    S.A. Paolantonio, Frank Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America (Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1993), p. 95.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
  5. 6.
    See, for example, Kenneth O’Reilly, Racial Matters: The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960–1972 (New York: The Free Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Bruce DiChristina, “The Quantitative Emphasis in Criminal Justice Education,” Journal of Criminal Justice Education vol. 8, no. 2 (Fall 1997), p. 189.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation (NJCI), Afro-Lineal Organized Crime (Trenton, NJ: NJCI, 1991). Pennsylvania Crime Commission (PCC) reports reviewed for this study include the following; A Decade of Organized Crime in Pennsylvania: 1980 Report; Annual Report (1988); Organized Crime in Pennsylvania: 1990 Report; Annual Report (1991). Conshohocken, PA: PCC.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Though interviews are not extensively utilized in the study, I should note attention was paid to “traditional” methodological field interviewing concerns. See William Foote Whyte, “Interviewing in Field Research,” in Richard N. Adams and Jack J. Preiss (eds.), Human Organization Research (Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press, 1960), pp. 352–374. This was particularly true regarding the motivations of interview subjects. The multi-method approach, cross-referencing interview data with information gleaned in other manners, including document research, helped reduce these potential problems.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Annelise Graebner Anderson, The Business of Organized Crime: A Cosa Nostra Family (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1979), p. 6.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Jack D. Fitzgerald and Steven M. Cox, Research Methods in Criminal Justice: An Introduction (Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1994), p. 103.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Humbert S. Nelli, The Business of Crime: Italians and Syndicate Crime in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976). Nelli’s study exemplified “how a judicious search for reliable material can produce a first-rate history of even the most sensational American syndicate criminals.” James A. Inciardi, Alan A. Block and Lyle A. Hallowell, Historical Approaches to Crime: Research Strategies and Issues (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1977), p. 178. Two other noteworthy studies of organized crime are also grounded on intelligence and other documents, though these also incorporate interviews of relevant parties. I have thus also consulted Anderson’s The Business of Crime and Alan A. Block’s Master of Paradise: Organized Crime and the Internal Revenue Service in the Bahamas (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1991).Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    John F. Galliher and James A Cain, “Citation Support for the Mafia Myth in Criminology Textbooks,” American Sociologist, vol. 9 (May 1974), pp. 68–74.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Nelli p. 305Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Because these reporters used their contacts within and without law enforcement agencies, they often developed a fuller picture of the events than if they had merely relied upon intelligence documents. Nevertheless, the possibility of “blowback” can’t be ruled out entirely. R. Thomas Naylor, “Mafias, Myths, and Markets: On the Theory and Practice of Enterprise Crime,” Transnational Organized Crime vol. 3, no. 3 (Autumn 1997), pp. 1–2, detailed the risks inherent in the study of organized crime based on these data: Faulty information, which an informant may genuinely believe, might be accepted in good faith by the police. It is then taken up by the media which simplifies and exaggerates to feed the public’s insatiable appetite for crime stories. That misleading intelligence, sometimes ‘confirmed’ by criminologists, cannot only re-enter and shape the criminal culture itself, but also influences police efforts in ways that reinforce the original misinformation. This danger is all the greater the more limited are resources, and therefore the more selective enforcement must be. If the justice system believes a particular type of crime or criminal is an especially major threat, there will be more investigations, and likely more cases dealing with that particular type of crime or criminal. The numbers then serve to verify the original hypothesis.Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    “‘Richly Detailed’ Obits Win Prize,” Philadelphia Daily News, March 2, 1987, Local, p.6. Nicholson retired from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel in Feb. 2002 after a lengthy career in military intelligence. He retired from the Daily News May 30, 2001. Nicholson is currently a contractor and working as a senior analyst ona Department of Defense counterterrorism task force in Washington, D.C. Personal communications with Jim Nicholson, October 17, 2002 and November 17, 2002.Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Steven M. Cox, Research Methods in Criminal Justice: An Introduction (Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1994) Fitzgerald and Cox, p. 103.Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    See James D. Calder, “Al Capone and the Internal Revenue Service: State-sanctioned Criminology of Organized Crime,” Crime, Law and Social Change, vol. 17, no. 1 (1992), pp. 1–23, in which Cal argues that what we know about gangsters, like Capone, is what the government permits us to know. He further demonstrates how the media and academicians have been used to promote political agendas through the selective dissemination of documents.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 21.
    Jeffrey Scott McIllwain, “From Tong War to Organized Crime: Revising the Historical Perception of Violence in Chinatown,” Justice Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 1 (March 1997), p. 32. McIllwain is paraphrasing Kenneth D. Bailey, Methods of Social Research (New York: Free Press, 1987), pp. 269–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 22.
    Steven M. Cox, Research Methods in Criminal Justice: An Introduction (Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1994) Fitzgerald and Cox, p. 106.Google Scholar

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