Much of what is done in the field of criminal justice, whether knowingly or unknowingly, is impacted by some form of research. Conducting research in the field of criminal justice is important because it can help to inform best practices and serve as a form of checks and balances across various aspects of the criminal justice system. While research can be beneficial to the field of criminal justice, if the proper research methodologies and guidelines are not followed research can be harmful to participants and to the operational components in the field of criminal justice. In order to ensure the production of the least amount of harm associated with a research study, ethical guidelines have been established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Many agencies, including criminal justice related agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice, use the DHHS model policy on human research subjects to create their own human subjects policies.
For this assignment, complete the following:
- explore empirical research in the field of criminal justice,
- evaluate the importance of empirical research to the field justice, and
- identify ethical considerations associated with conducting empirical research in the field of criminal justice.
To accomplish this task, imagine yourself as one of the following:
- superior court judge
- commander of the patrol division of a police department
- chief juvenile probation officer, or
- deputy warden of treatment in a prison.
Also, imagine that you live and work in "Normal City." This city has all the amenities that one could desire in a large city and all of the peace and quiet that one could desire in a small town. The beach, countryside, and local attractions are all within a reasonable driving distance. All the schools range in various levels of specialization, accreditation, and extracurricular activities. Housing and property values fall within the average range of any city anywhere else. Crime rates are comparable to those found in any other city that would have similar amenities, attractions, and opportunities.
Using the role that you have chosen and the background information about Normal City, complete the following tasks in each section:
Section 1: Conducting Empirical Research in Criminal Justice
- Identify the role you have chosen.
- Identify a topic that empirical research could be used to explore in your chosen role.
- Based on the topic you selected, develop a research question and/or hypothesis you want to empirically explore.
- Identify whether your research focus will be pure research or applied research.
- Identify whether your research design will be qualitative research or quantitative research.
Section 2: Importance of Empirical Research in Criminal Justice
- Discuss why conducting empirical research on the research question you developed is important to the field of criminal justice.
Section 3: Ethics& Empirical Research
1. For the topic that you selected, explore the related ethical issues by addressing the following questions:
- What procedures need to be avoided to reduce the amount of harm (i.e., conducting unethical research) experienced by respondents during this research? How would you honor the commitments made to respondents and respect reciprocity?
- What steps would you need to take to ensure that you were objective and professional in conducting the research and reporting research results?
- What measures would you need to take to ensure that the respondents' confidentiality and privacy were protected?
2. Further explore ethical considerations related to conducting empirical research in the field of criminal justice by responding to the following tasks:
- Discuss how a research study related to your chosen topic could involve the collaboration of a local college or university and/or a local community organization.
- Discuss the role of the institutional review board regarding evaluating whether or not your study protects human subjects.
Section 4: Conclusion
- Based on your discussions about empirical research in the field of criminal justice, the importance of empirical research to the field of criminal justice, and ethical considerations related to conducting empirical research in the field of criminal justice, what guidance would you give your agency to ensure that the research study was ethically conducted from start to finish?
The assignment will need to be a minimum of three double-spaced typed pages, not counting the title page. Be sure to use the first three subject headings identified above and to address each bullet point under the subject headings, and then your conclusion. Under each subject heading, your responses may be in paragraph form or provided as bullet points. Ensure you have a title page.