Capital Punishment Knowledge and Support Correlation


The research will focus on the correlation between knowledge and support of capital punishment. It is no doubt that whenever the issue of capital punishment is brought to public debate, there will be always two major sides: the opposers and supporters. It is worth noting that both sides do have very strong arguments for their case. In the United States, capital punishment has applied to aggravated murder as well as on some occasion’s felony murder (Cochran, 2006). It is worth noting that the practice was in the societies that were there before and the same was channeled into the country’s current constitution through the laws of the mother country.

The applicability of the punishment does vary with jurisdictions.32 states have banned it; some states have suspended its application while others are seeking to expand its applicability. By 2008, the number of execution stood at 37 this being the lowest since 1994 and in 2010 the number went up to 46. Methods uses include an electric chair, firing, and lethal injection. As stated previously, capital punishment has been a bone of contention in the United States of America. Traditionally, a larger proportion of Americans were in full support of capital punishment in issues relating to murder. However, with time it is worth noting that there have been varying proportions of Americans that support it seeing to it that the numbers of an American public that strongly oppose the punishment is surging. It is acknowledged that although those in support of capital punishment currently are lower in percentage than their counterparts in the 1980s through 1990s there have not been tremendous changes on the same in the recent past. A poll carried out by Gallup in 2010 depicts this; it revealed that 64.0% and 29.0% of Americans were in favor and opposition of capital punishment respectively.

Capital punishment has been thought of as a lawful infliction of death as a punishment. Since ancient times, it has been applied to a number of offenses “treason, murder, larceny, burglary, rape, and arson.” The Bible also recommends death for cases including murder plus other crimes such as abducting and witchcraft. Generally speaking, research by Lambert and Clarke, 2001 seeking to explain the variation of support as well as opposition for death penalty established that “emotional retribution, emotional opposition, morality and law, and order” are the reasons that were statistically significant with the degree of support or opposition for capital punishment. The research will thus seek to establish the relationship that exists between knowledge acquisition with support for or opposition against capital punishment (Cochran, 2006).

Problem statement

Currently, Americans have found themselves in endless debates on whether or not society should continue with capital punishment application on a number of offenses. In the last sixty years or so, various scholars and organizations according to Durham et al., 1996 have conducted polling research to find out the views of Americans on capital punishment. Most results show that the support that capital punishment enjoyed has tremendously gone down from about 80.0% in 1989 to about 64.0% in 2001.

Although the views opposing it are of significance, there is no clear explanation on why there is a differing opinion of the same from the public. It is no doubt that the reasons brought forth as to supporting or opposing the death penalty are of importance to various stakeholders in American societies which include policymakers, politicians, scholars in sociology, criminology, proponents as well as abolitionists.

Based on the argument voiced by (Rankin, 1979 that considering the two issues, literal life, and death sentence there is a need to continue with studies on the same to provide the relevant stakeholders with more insight with regards to capital punishment. Although there is voluminous literature that critically examines the reasons for supporting or opposing capital punishment, most of them have not fully addressed why there are differences in the intensity of support or opposition of the same. Additionally, it has been argued that the views held in support for or against capital punishment fundamentally rest on one’s ability and knowledge on the issue. The research will thus focus on how knowledge acquisition correlates with the varied views with regard to capital punishment.

Justification of the study

The research is of a lot of importance as it will seek to critically examine the relationship between knowledge acquisition with regards to capital punishment and the support for or opposition of the phenomenon. The findings will be of paramount significance to the number of stakeholders such as policymakers, scholars in various fields especially with regards to criminology and justice, the Supreme Court, Non- Governmental Organizations, the general public, and institutions of learning among others.

Having in mind that there have been arguments with a concrete reason for and against capital punishment, the differing views are not succinctly brought to light. Data collection and analysis in this study will help bring to the attention of the various interested parties why there are differences in views with regards to capital punishment.

Not carrying out this research will clearly depict that the relationship between knowledge acquisition and reasons for supporting or opposing capital punishment will not be brought to light hence the differing opinion will remain unexplained. Additionally, the study will try to fill the gap existing in the literature concerning knowledge and capital punishment. On the same note, the fears of Marshall and other concerned Americans concerning the use of public opinion to decide the unconstitutionality of capital punishment will be fully addressed.

Scope of the study

With clear knowledge that no single study can adequately address all aspects of any given topic, there is a need to clearly establish what the research will address. The scope of this study thus is to critically examine the correlation between knowledge and support of capital punishment in the United States of America. This is done by defining what capital punishment is, its elements, history, the support and opposition trends in the recent past, and the relationship between being informed about capital punishment and support for capital punishment. Additionally, traditional arguments for and against capital punishment will be fully discussed (Rankin, 1979). Through this analysis and data collected from primary sources as well as secondary sources, proper inference will be made concerning the correlation between knowledge and support of capital punishment. It is worth mentioning that the results that will be generated from the study will not only have an implication on a narrow scope but applicable in wider facets of Americans.

Research objectives

The main objective that will guide the study is to find out the correlation between knowledge and support of capital punishment. The three specific objectives of the research are;

  1. To find out the reasons brought forth in support of capital punishment
  2. To establish arguments brought forth against capital punishment
  3. To find out whether being informed about capital punishment is correlated with support for capital punishment
  4. To establish whether knowledge gain leads to the abandonment of myths with regards to capital punishment.

Research questions/Hypotheses

Like in any research, the research questions that guided the study are;

  1. What is capital punishment?
  2. What are the arguments in support of capital punishment in the United States of America?
  3. What are the arguments against capital punishment in the United States of America?
  4. Does increased knowledge acquisition about capital punishment reduce support for the death penalty?
  5. What are the death penalty myths?

Definition of terms

  • Capital punishment or death punishment: It has been thought of as a state-imposed death as a way of punishing offenders of serious crimes (Cochran, 2006)
  • Recidivism: in criminology, the term has been used to refer to a situation whereby an offender has the ability or probability of relapsing to a previous state of behavior. Generally, it is the potential of a criminal to re-offend.
  • Knowledge: This is the state or fact of knowing. It is acquired in a number of ways, especially through reading and teaching.
  • Death penalty myths: These are statements or points of view with regards to capital punishment that are actually not true. For instance, the rate of crime drastically declines once execution is publicized (Rankin, 1979).

Organization of the study

The study is organized in such a way that it depicts the recommended format of the dissertation paper. Five distinct sections are what will constitute the whole paper and this design makes it easy for those who will review it to get to the relevant section with ease.

Section one which is chapter one made up of an introduction, background of the study, problem statement, rationale/ justification of the study, aims and objective of the study, research questions and hypotheses, and finally definition of terms used in the paper. Each of these subsections is adequately addressed to give insight to readers of what they expect in the paper.

Section two normally referred to as chapter two is made entirely of all literature that relates to the study topic. Information related to capital punishment and knowledge gains is brought to light. The history of capital punishment in the United States is clearly brought to the readers’ attention. Data concerning branding in Hong Kong supermarkets are analyzed and brought to light; this is accompanied by the trend of support for and opposition of the phenomenon. It is worth noting that it is in this section that related studies are closely examined to help guide and support the current study.

Section three is the methodology chapter. It entails the following subsections: research design or approach, description of study area, population and sampling procedures, instrumentation, data collection procedures, and data analysis procedures. Additionally, issues related to ethical consideration are brought to light in this chapter.

The fourth section chapter three is results and analysis. It is here that all statistical tests will be done and represented by the use of descriptive statistics. Issues involved include demographic characteristics, t-test, and correlation and regression test. It is this chapter that will form the backbone of the paper.

The last section is organized as chapter five and is under the title discussion, conclusion, and recommendation. A recap of the finding is done in this section.

Literature review

History of capital punishment in the United States

Strictly speaking, the history of capital punishment in the United States goes back to 1608 when the first human being was put to death. It is worth noting that the person was found guilty of carrying out covert activities or rather spying for the Spain government and was hanged. From then henceforth, the number of individuals being put to death by the Supreme Court rose tremendously. Between 1608 and 1991, it is documented that 15,269 individuals were executed, in the same regard, 4,661 people were also put to death between 1930 and 2002. It is worth noting that close to 70.0% of execution on the latter occurred within the first twenty years. Similarly, it is important to point out the execution carried out by the army that saw to it 135 army officers dead from 1916 to 1999 (Lambert & Clarke, 2001).

It is back in 1862 that American will have in their memories the single largest execution which involved hanging of 38 individuals from Dakota. These individuals were accused of rape and murder and were hanged simultaneously after 1862 Christmas. On the same note, the execution of 13 Non-white soldiers who took part in the Houston Riot back in 1917 will remain in history books as well s the majority of Americans. Lastly, history has it that in 1723, the public execution of 26 pirates in Newport which was ordered by admiralty court adds to the American history of capital punishment.

It is no doubt that due to differing opinion on issues related to capital punishment, there are a number of states that have abolished it, others are trying to expand its applicability while other states did not in their history used such kinds of punishment. It is even apparent that the country suspended capital punishment between 1972 and 1976 based on the unconstitutionality of the same. The decision was guided by the kind of cruel and unusual treatment which was against a provision in the 8th amendments of the USA constitution. It reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”

Capital punishment was later reinstated, however, at present, the following states do not have death penalty statutes, North Dakota, New Jersey, Alaska, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Iowa, Mariana Islands, District of Columbia, Michigan West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Efforts to oppose capital punishment are evident and come for all quotas, for instance, Illinois Governor appended his signature to abolish the death penalty recently March 2011 which will take effect on 1 July 2011 and substituted the death sentence upon 15 inmates to life imprisonment with no parole.

Crimes punishable by death

As suggested by Stuart, 2002 the kinds of crimes that are deemed punishable by death vary from one state to another. However, all states that apply capital punishment use it on higher degree of murder offenses. Similarly, some states take treason to be a capital punishment offense. Additionally using weapons of mass destruction leading to loss of human life, terrorism, some violation of the Geneva Convention as well espionage warrants one to be executed. Similarly, other crimes for instance at the federal level like treason, aggravated rape (Florida and Lousiana & Oklahoma), exorbitant kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping in Oklahoma an Georgia, South Carolina and Idaho in that order leads to death of the offender. Hijacking of airplanes, engaging in drug trafficking in Alabama, Florida and Connecticut respectively result in the execution of the offenders.

On the same note, California has made it an offense punishable by death if one wrecks a train leading to human losing life. Similarly, perjury causing death of human warrants such punishment in the same state. In military, offenses such as spying, desertion, misbehaving in presence of enemies and mutiny according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice is punishable by death.

Reason for supporting the death penalty

As suggested by Lambert & Clarke, 2001 broadly categorized, there are three major reasons or ideologies behind supporting capital punishment; these are incapacitation, retribution and deterrence. It is worth noting that the concept of deterrence is based on the belief that when punishment for a given sort of crime is made to be very severe, then crime can be stopped. Having in mind that research has proved that murderers, as well as offenders who commit the kind of crimes outlined to be punishable by death, have higher rates of recidivism, those in support of capital punishment see it to be the only option to curb crime. The view is for instance general deterrence which aims at the general public seek to set an example to them. Many view that sentencing offenders to death as compared to life imprisonment is much more effective especially in curbing murder (Stuart, 2002).

Similarly, supporters of capital punishment center their arguments on the cost associated with it. The majority of them are of the view that comparing life imprisonment and execution of an offender, the latter is cheaper. Money that could be spent in catering for an individual being imprisoned for life runs into millions of dollars. It is for this reason that supporters see it ‘rational’ to use such money to help other individuals such as the old, sick instead of using it to support murderers, rapists and arsonists. Additionally, it is worth noting that those who support death penalty in part are scared of crimes; however, this is not the case although. Majority of this group of supporters are of the view that the rate at which crime is increasing is alarming and the only way to curb this is through capital punishment. Generally speaking, their notion is that of getting tough with criminals in society.

Based on the incapacitation notion, the perpetrators of crime are closely scrutinized on order to ensure that their chances of re-offending are tremendously reduced. To attain this, there are various ways such as electronic monitoring of offenders, arresting perpetrators of crime and putting them under house arrest and imprisonment. The ultimate of these methods that guarantee the public that the offender will have no chance of committing other related crimes can only be achieved by sentencing such individuals to death. It is feared that although other forms of incapacitation might help, the solution is only short-term as such individuals can find their way out and prey on innocent citizens.

Another principle that guides the support for the death penalty is retribution which acts under the principle of “lex talent” or an eye for an eye (Megivern, 1997). Execution is nothing but rather a real kind of punishment as compared to rehabilitation. The majority of Americans who support the death penalty are of the opinion that those who commit crimes such as murder opt to be treated with equal punishment. Despite the fact that the whole phenomenon is very complex, offenders are to be punished with harm proportionate to their criminal acts. All these arguments seem to stem from the Christian bible “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death…. And if a man causes a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye,…” (Leviticus 24: 17-20). It is worth noting here that retribution to support the death penalty is purely based on human emotion.

Arguments against the death penalty

According to Stuart, 2002 one of the strongest arguments against capital punishment is purely based on morality. It is only God who gives life and for that reason, He is the only one to take human life. The view is that executing offenders is immoral and also a barbaric way of dealing with violent crimes; this is closely related to the cruelty and subjection of humans to unusual kinds of punishment. Additionally, it has been brought forth that in case an innocent individual is convicted and sentenced to death, it is no doubt that there is no single way of adequately compensating for loose of life of such individuals. Since the murderer is convicted, the only person who could have furnished the court with the exact details of the event is dead, most of the offenders are charged with first-degree murder whereas it could have been manslaughter.

On the same note, the psychological torture faced by families and friends of the victim of death sentences go through has been brought forth as an argument against capital punishment. The entire process that leads to execution is a trying moment for those close to the offender. Having in mind that criminals are human beings who have the life that is sacred, sentencing them to death for instance an individual in his or her late teens is denied an opportunity to mend his/her ways. Although it is true that offenders of crime that warrant the death penalty do have higher rates of re-offending, it is also true that a number of them when given a chance and fully supported can change and be individual helpful to society (Stuart, 2002). Although it has been a challenge to prove otherwise, those that oppose the death penalty are of the view that fear of death has not yet reduced crime. They assert that historically, where capital punishment was carried out in the most brutal manner for instance crushing victims to death by use of heavy load, the number of crimes was much higher compared to now (Lambert & Clarke, 2001).

Marshal hypotheses

Most of the recent studies that have sought to establish the relationship between knowledge gain and support of capital punishment were propelled largely by what has been termed as Marshal’s hypotheses. These hypotheses are;

  1. Support for capital punishment is inversely associated with knowledge about it.
  2. Exposure to information about capital punishment produces sentiments in opposition to capital punishment
  3. Exposure to information about capital punishment will have no impact on those who support it for retributive reasons.

According to Hamlet, 2006 with the information with regards to the death penalty brought forth by several public opinion pools, Justice Marshal was somewhat disturbed by the fact that a greater number of Americans were in favour of capital punishment. He was of the view that prior to carrying out such a poll and the findings used to determine whether capital punishment was in line with the American constitution or not, there was a need to closely examine and analyse the entire process. In addition, he believed that the majority of capital punishment supporters had little knowledge about it (Lambert et al., 2004).

On the same note, he held that when the public is provided with information with regards to the death penalty, a good number of the general public will come to a conclusion that it is immoral hence not in line with the constitution of the United States of America as provided in eighth amendment’s (Hamblet, 2006). It is worth noting that the reasons for supporting the death penalty as previously discussed include cost, incapacitation, retribution and deterrence; although they are valid arguments those in support of it may not be fully aware of how effective it is.

Justice Marshal further believed if those in support of capital punishment base their arguments on revenge or just dessert, then the whole thing is wrong. This is because it is uncivilized and barbaric nature of doing things (Lambert et al., 2004). For him, gaining knowledge will be of no impact if the basis of the argument is retribution as this is purely emotional. According to Justice Marshal, the two issues, retribution and revenge are not in line with the current times and in his view, the provision in the Eight Amendment in no doubt was (Bohm et al. 1990) crafted to counter such an occurrence-that of subjecting individuals to unusual and cruel punishment.

Testing of Marshal Hypotheses

As previously stated, various scholars among them Sarat, Lambert, Vidmar to mention but a few tried their best to test the hypotheses brought forth by Justice Marshal. Among the first studies is that carried out by Sarat & Vidmar back in 1976 (Cochran, 2006). Three questionnaires were administered to 200 adults living in Massachusetts. Upon executing a pre-test and post-test to the 200 adults, they established that the study sample knew much about the application of capital punishment. Nonetheless, they were less informed or knowledgeable about the effects it had. It was also apparent in their study that knowledge affected some views as well as perceptions and attitudes of the respondents towards capital punishment indicating that the expectations of Justice Marshal that individuals in the society who are informed or have knowledge concerning the death penalty will hold different opinions on the same topic as compared to their counterparts who are not informed (40.0% of the 200 adults’ support declined and 60.0% showed no change) (Hamblet, 2006).

A pool by Galoup in 1991 established that those in support of capital punishment having views driven by deterrence ideology will always be in support of it however much they are provided with information for instance it doesn’t reduce crime rates. Another group of scholars including Berns, 2000 established that there are great differences across the United States with regards to support of capital punishment ranging from 50-90%

A study carried out in 1974 utilizing stratified random sampling and a sample size of 500 in San Francisco found out that a greater proportion of the respondents could be not in support of those convicted (Bohm et al. 1990). Most of them were not adequately informed and held that despite the fact that their ideology for supporting the death penalty was wrong, nothing would make them change that stand. The attitude seemed to have dictated their responses, however, most contended that there is a need to adequately provide prove before one is sentenced to death (Lambert & Clarke, 2001).

While factoring in the issue of knowledge gain and support for capital punishment, it will be interesting to throw in other variables such as race, age, and gender. It has been established that the majority of white is in support of capital punishment s compared to their black counterpart. This can be attributed in part to racial prejudice in America. There has been a correlation between sex or gender and views regarding capital punishment. The majority of males are in support of the death penalty as compared to females. In terms of age, those individuals who are older seem to be supporting capital punishment as compared to young American citizens. With regards to education, there are mixed findings. In Texas, a study in four institutions of higher learning depicted that majority of senior criminology majors were much less in support of capital punishment as compared to freshmen. This is attributed to the concept brought forth by Justice Marshal in his second hypothesis (Bohm et al. 1990).

According to Cochran et al., 2006 learners who exhibited a change in attitude with regards to capital punishment did so in three major approaches which are; showing a decline in support of capital punishment as they come to an end of their course, depict an increase in opposing death penalty or shifting from supporting to opposing the death penalty.


The methodology that will be used to gain insight into the relationship between knowledge gain and support of capital punishment will be pre-test post-test design which came to the limelight in the early 1990s (Hamblet, 2006). I intend to carry out the study by using a sample of 100 students studying criminology in two universities from Massachusetts and Texas; this will bring to a total of 400 individuals. It is worth noting that the approach that will be used in the pre-test post-test design calls for examining individuals before and after knowledge acquisition. The freshmen will be used as a control group while seniors will provide us with the impact of knowledge with regards to capital punishment; the freshmen will also be tested after proceeding with their courses. A test will be given to all the sample population. After a grace period of time in which the freshmen would have probably acquired some knowledge concerning the death penalty and the seniors would have acquired more knowledge on the same, the same test will be administered to them. Thus, is aimed at trying to establish whether there is a change in their views with regards to capital punishment after gaining some knowledge concerning capital punishment (Lambert & Clarke, 2001).

Developing the survey

The first section of the questionnaire will typically seek to find out the demographic characteristics of the respondents. Variables here will include gender, age, years of study (senior, graduate, junior, sophomore, and freshman), marital status, place of residence, race, affiliation to political party among others (Hamblet, 2006).

A set of questions are to be used in order to gain insight with regards to the correlation between knowledge and support of capital punishment. I intend to employ five scales Likert scale to measure students’ attitudes and perceptions of capital punishment. The questions that will be developed to measure the attitudes of the respondents are independent variables.

On the other hand, the dependent variable will be measured by using a seven-point Likert scale. To attain this, a scale coded 1-7 constitutes very strongly opposed, strongly opposed, somewhat opposed, undecided, somewhat in favor of, strongly favor, and very strongly favor in that order. The respondents will be asked their views/attitudes towards capital punishment. To find out if knowledge gain had an effect on respondent opinion with regards to capital punishment myths, their views will be sorted after via a set of questions.

Sampling technique

The sampling strategies that will be used to obtain the sample population will include random sampling, stratified random sampling, snowball sampling, and careful biased sampling. The use of random sampling ensures that a group of the entire population is selected to represent it in the research being done. This will involve the whole population being divided into samples that represent the entire population (Bohm et al. 1990).

According to Maxfield & Babbie, 2010 careful biased sampling will also be used; this ensures that specific individuals especially criminology majors are selected. Stratified random sampling will be used to subdivide (distinguish) between criminology seniors and freshmen.

Data collection instrument

Primary source

Questionnaires will be used to collect relevant information; I will distribute them to respondents situated in the targeted institution of higher learning and would be collected later at an agreed date or immediately after it is filled. The instrument covers a large population at a time as they would be distributed to different participants at a time and be collected later or on the same day depending on the willingness of the respondents in addressing the questions, due to it being standardized they are more objective, data collected from the questionnaire are easy to analyze, due to familiarity with the tool, responded will not be apprehensive, it is also very cost-effective as compared to face to face interviews, the tool also reduces bias (Cochran, 2006).

The questionnaires will be issued to students taking criminology at universities in Texas and Massachusetts who are in a position to provide the required set of data. The major problem with questionnaires as a tool of data collection is that there is a tendency of a respondent to forget vital information, they may answer the questions superficially when it is a long one, to counter this I will develop a short but very inclusive questionnaire, due to standardization, there is no room for explanation in case respondents misinterpret or do not understand the questions.

Secondary source

Materials from the library, internet, and related research reports will be used to provide the required data and information concerning the relationship between knowledge and support for capital punishment. Internal sources to be sorted after as the study is being carried include information compiled by the Supreme Court. External data sources included information from government sources, previous research studies, and academic institutions (colleges and universities material related to capital punishment). The secondary sources will be very essential to support what has been collected in the primary data session i.e., from the questionnaires (Creswell, 2003).

Data analysis

After collecting the required data, filtering and data coding will be done; proper statistical analysis will be carried out to help bring out the coherent meaning of the study. The analytical methods that will be used to achieve this will include correlation, regression, and cross-tabulation analysis. In addition, chi-square analysis will be carried out to test for significant differences in the hypotheses. Descriptive statistics will also be employed in analyzing the data. Presentation after the analysis will be done by use of tables, graphs as well as charts. I anticipate using SPSS software to accomplish the analysis of data (Maxfield & Babbie, 2010).

Ethical consideration

As a requirement, any study needs to be approved by the Independent Review Board before the commencement of data collection. Having in mind that the study entails human subjects, there was a need for a high level of ethical consideration to be upheld (Creswell, 2003). Some of the ethical consideration includes the following: the targeted sample populations that will be involved in the study to provide relevant information are to be informed about the same in advance. The reasons for carrying out the survey as well as how they stand to gain from the study will also be brought out clearly.

As well, research ethics demands that the researcher after seeks the information will be provided in good faith, and voluntarily without any influence be it monetary or otherwise for instance giving incentives, rewards, and gifts (Berns, 2000). It is important to note here that the rights and welfare of the participants involved in the study must be protected and guaranteed (Creswell, 2003). To do this, their identities will be kept confidential. Moreover, the information collected while soliciting for data is to be kept confidential and opt not to be used for any other purpose apart from what was initially intended for. It is expected that the interviewees/respondents will be ethical and provide accurate information to the best of their knowledge. This means that they should not knowingly or unknowingly give false information.

More importantly, I opt to be ethical in providing the participant, especially the respondent’s guidelines and necessary information that are correct. Similarly, I should not be judgmental of the information being provided during an interview and should be as neutral as possible during the entire process. Lastly, there is a need to omit any kind of personal bias that might arise; this will be done at the end of the study (Maxfield & Babbie, 2010). This is with the knowledge that such bias can negatively impact the statistical analysis.

Schedule and budget.

Stage/Event Start and end dates
Drafting the proposal 26 March – 5 Mar 2011
Refining the proposal 5 Mar – 19 Mar 2011
Searching & reading the literature 26 March – 27 April 2011
Collect data 19 April – 30 April 2011
Analyzing data 1 May – 13 May 2011
Writing up a professional project 5 May – 26 May 2011
Making correction 1 June – 14 June 2011
Handing in the second draft 17 June – 25 June 2011
Printing the Project 29 June 2011
Handing in the Project 30June2011


Berns, B. (2000). For capital punishment. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000.

The book brings forth argument supporting capital punishment. It was helpful for I was able to obtain clear reasons why supporters of capital punishment hold such a view. The language used is easily understood. Although it is 11 years old, it clearly captures issues relating to capital punishment. In terms of biasness, it tried as much as possible o bring the other side of the story.

Bohm, R. et al. (1990). “The influence of knowledge on reasons for death penalty opinions: An experimental test” Justice Quarterly, 7(1): 175-188.

This is a peer review article which is over 20 years old but have information that are currently being debated by Americans with regards to capital punishment. It tackles the issue of knowledge acquisition and the impact it has on support of capital punishment. It is not biased because it acknowledges previous findings contradicting Marshall’s hypotheses.

Cochran, K. (2006). “Can information change public opinion? Another test of the Marshall hypotheses”. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33(6): 573-584.

The journal was of significance while I was developing my research proposal as it guided me especially on how to develop research methodology. It is less than five years old hence express the most current events in criminal justice concerning capital punishment. The kind of English used is easy to grasp.

Cochran, K. (2006). “Profiles in change: An alternative look at the Marshall Hypotheses” Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 17(2): 1-23.

The journal deeply examines Marshall Hypotheses which is the center of my proposal. It also has adequate information concerning how to develop a research paper covering criminology issue. The finding in the journal seems to echo same sentiment with previously done research. It is five years old.

Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage publication.

This book is full of guideline concerning the whole process of research design. It guided me on the pre-test post-test design and how it is applicable. Various tools of data collection are also presented herein. It is from the book that I gained knowledge on how to apply questionnaires and sampling techniques. Despite the fact that it is 8 years old, the information could not be found in any other material so it was of use.

Hamblet, S. (2006). “The death penalty through the lenses of criminology/criminology justice students and non-CRCJ students”. Web.

The research was carried out to establish the relationship between knowledge gain and support of capital punishment. This was useful as it sought to find out the views of criminology majors and non criminology students. The findings are not biased and suited my study as it gave me direction to take while developing my proposal specially in coming up with research question and designing methodology.

Lambert, E & Clarke, A. (2001). “The impact of information on an individual’s support death penalty: A partial test of the Marshall hypotheses among college students”. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 12(1): 215-234.

The peer review article adequately covers the relationship between knowledge gain and support of capital punishment. It compares previous studies and draws a conclusion that indeed there exist a relationship between the two but the results are mixed hence not a biased article. It is 10 years old but the information there in is of paramount significance based on the current debate.

Lambert, E. et al., (2004). “Reasons for supporting and opposing capital punishment in U.S.S: A preliminary study”. Internet Journal of Criminology, 1(1): 1-34.

The article by Lambert has broadly covered the reasons for supporting and opposing capital punishment. Biasness is not evident as the authors succinctly argued both sides of the cases. However, the reason behind the argument although tackled was not satisfactory.

Maxfield, M. & Babbie, E. (2010). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Belmont, CA: Springers.

The book is most current and proved to be a great help in deciding which way to take while developing the research proposal. Developing research question, problem statement and more importantly methodology and how to present results were point that guided my research.

Megivern, J. (1997). The death penalty: An historical and theological survey. New York: Paulist Press.

The book by Megivern gave me a theological background of death penalty. This was equally important so that I develop a research proposal that will have in mind foundation from theology.

Rankin, J. (1979). “Changing attitudes towards capital punishment” Social Forces, 58(1): 194-211.

The author of this article review brings forth vital statistics concerning death penalty in America. In a balanced manner, it brings to light the way Americans have held varied opinion with regards to capital punishment. Nonetheless, it failed to account for the differences. Although is a very old article, the information could not be found elsewhere.

Savon, A. (2005). “The effect of knowledge gain on capital punishment: A partial test of the Marshal hypotheses”. Theses and Dissertation. Paper 852. Web.

This dissertation by Savon which is 6 years old proved to be helpful in a number of ways. It not only guided me in developing a research proposal in accordance with the requirement but also furnished me with deep explanation of the relationship between knowledge and support for capital punishment.

Stuart, B. (2002). The Death Penalty: An American History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

It is from this book that I got all necessary information I deemed fit to constitute to history of death penalty of the United States of America. Together with other current information, I was able to establish the trend of American views on capital punishment. Additionally, it had vital statistics of capital punishment related cases.

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DemoEssays. (2022) 'Capital Punishment Knowledge and Support Correlation'. 24 December.


DemoEssays. 2022. "Capital Punishment Knowledge and Support Correlation." December 24, 2022.

1. DemoEssays. "Capital Punishment Knowledge and Support Correlation." December 24, 2022.


DemoEssays. "Capital Punishment Knowledge and Support Correlation." December 24, 2022.