Why is this criminal justice issue important? Are there unanswered questions and/or more research needed? Is there call for policy reform (a problem)?
Identify the purpose of your research: significance and/or relevance
Literature Review: What is the current peer-reviewed literature? Tell a “story”, not a list of findings
What have other people done about this or similar questions
Tell a story: discuss the themes/agreements, discontinuities, breaks, disagreements, controversy etc. emerging in recent literature about the topic. Only use quality sources and link them together: Google Scholar, journals from JJAY Library (a minimum of 5-10 peer-reviewed sources)
Key words and concepts relevant to the topic/question
*The literature review is a major contributor to the development of your project. It helps shape your question by enabling you to find out what has already been done. Weave together their contributions into a narrative (a story)
**Use the Literature Prep assignment (assignment 5) as a tool to help organize your thoughts and identify themes, contrasting thoughts, etc.
Decide and Define the Research Question: What question needs to be answered that has not yet been answered by someone else
Make sure it is not too broad, not too difficult or unanswerable and in the context of the literature search and review. Is it feasible?
State the research question precisely – your research will attempt to answer the question you pose
*4 Kinds of questions that can form: 1. What is the situation? 2. What is going on here? 3. What is related to what? 4. What happens when…?
Methodology and Research Design: Your “plan” for the research…How you are going to answer your research question. Decide on the best and most appropriate way to accomplish this. You will be discussing which methods you will use and why. This should relate back to the purpose of the research and your question
Sampling Strategy: obtaining a portion of the larger population (total number of all possible individuals relating to a specific topic which could be included in the study) who will participate in the research
Identify the population for the study: who (or what) to be studied. The group (or institution) that needs to be researched to answer the question
Decide on sampling methodology: how are you going to get a sample of that population
Identify the exact procedure to obtain the sample (individuals participating in the study)
Includes: criteria an individual needs to have to be able to participate in this research, identifying potential participants, gaining access to the them, and selection process to achieve the desired sample size for the research. **Larger the sample size the better; Sample needs to be representative of the population
Decide on a design frame based on the question and purpose of the research – frame will guide the way you do the research
Most common: Case study; Comparative research; Ethnography; Evaluation; Experiment
Data Collection – doing the research (what you do)
Think about the research question: what options are available to you? What are your time limitations and resources, hypothetically?
Identify exact data gathering procedure/technique: How will the data be obtained, including the when, where, why for each step…
Methods using words: interviews, diaries, accounts, etc.; Methods using words and/or numbers: questionnaires, observations, etc.; Methods mainly using numbers: tests, statistics
Explain what you asked participants to do. Explain how and when you used your instruments for data gathering. What steps were taken and in what order?
Describe and defend your choice of data-gathering instrument, accounting for why you chose this rather than some other technique
Provide the instrument (survey, interview questions…): should fit with the approach you decided to take; well thought out. **Will be located in the Appendices**
Data Analysis: How are you going to analyze the information you gathered, hypothetically?
Analyzing words: identifying themes or categories; provide insight/assign meaning; connections; content analysis; etc.
Analyzing numbers: descriptive statistics, inferential statistics; Use Excel or Statistical software to run tests; etc.
Describe what you would expect to find/what it will tell you.
*You should be able to justify each approach (decision) you took
**Expectations: sample size – larger the better for generalizing results; reliability – similar results if you do the same again; validity – you are sure you will find out what you set out to find
***Are you confident that your design is the best way to answer the question? Consider all elements of the design (how you identify participants, methods you use, issues) and the implications these have
****Use assignments 6 and 7 and my feedback to those assignments to help construct the sampling and design frame/data collect portions of this section
Risks and Benefits / Confidentiality Issues
Describe risks and benefits for the participants – specifically and detailed
Describe specifically are you going to protect confidentiality? What steps are you going to take?
Discussion: Drawing your conclusions
Synthesize potential findings. Speculate on possible explanations (findings support or reveals or confirms that…)
Includes showing how you answered your initial question
What does this mean for the big picture
Limitations of the research
Restrictions faced…; Focused only on…; Ethical considerations precluded….; Based on sample unable to generalize confidently…
Policy implications and/or recommendations
Data analysis suggests….
Research implies policy changes in ____ because….
Future research ideas
Future research needs to address…
Research on ___ would strengthen….
Appendices: Materials “used”, hypothetically
Data collection instruments
Other guidelines for writing and presentation:
Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins
Cover page: Title, course, name
Number pages after the cover page
All papers should be between 8-10 pages including Bibliography (in APA style).
Proper in text citations (Introduction, Literature Review, Discussion) – must cite any stats, quotes, ideas that are not your own
Before submitting the final product, ask yourselves these questions:
What is my topic?
Does my literature review correspond with that topic?
Do my research question/s and hypotheses correspond with the topic and literature review in that was used?
Is the population definition relevant and appropriate for the topic and research question?
Does my sample size allow me to achieve the goals of my proposed research?
Is the sampling technique I am offering appropriate for the proposed research?
Does the design correspond to the literature and question?
Is the data collection method I offered the most appropriate for the scope of the study?