The female prison population in the United States is growing at an disturbing rate. According to Ajinkya (2013) from 2000 to 2009, the number of females incarcerated in state or federal prison rose by 21.6%. A high percentage of prison inmates, who tend to be poor, ethnic or racial minorities and young, will eventually be released to rejoin society and either return to their criminal lifestyles or adopt new, socially responsible patterns of behavior (Erisman & Contardo, 2005).
According to Justice Center (2012), 19% of females released from prison will recidivate in the first three years post-release. This research study will focus on whether female ex-offenders with post-secondary education have lower recidivism rates than female ex-offenders who do not. One of the issues this study will focus on is the impact of post-secondary education on female ex-offenders’ recidivism rates within three- to five-years post parole. This study will track the post-release recidivism rates of female ex-offenders with postsecondary education. This study will also investigate the correlation between post-secondary education and post-release female ex-offenders’ recidivism rates.
There are two research approaches that will be analyzed for the appropriate research approach and strategy for this proposed study relating to adult education. Qualitative and quantitative research approaches are the two main modes of research. Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches are used in studies throughout many disciplines, including science and the social sciences. These two research approaches are defined by several different authors and their defintions can be found in most text books on educational research .There are several advantages and disadvantages to each of the research approaches. Some researchers prefer the qualitative approach while others prefer the quantitative approach.
According to Ravid (2011), in the past researchers identified themselves as either quantitative researchers or qualitative researchers and the two paradigms were seen as completely different. Today most researchers see the two as complementary and support both. Both of the research approaches have their pros and cons and use different strategies. Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches each have their weaknesses and strengths, they can be extremely effective in combination with each other . A person can use the qualitative research apporach to identify the key factors that affect the areas under investigation, and then use that information to devise quantitative research that assesses how these factors would affect user preferences. Both quantitative and qualitative research apporaches have there strength and weakness . For every strength there appears to be a corresponding weakness in both quantitative and qualitative research. It is this dilemma that has fuelled the debate over which approach is superior (Duffy, 1986).