Research Topic, Question/Hypothesis, and Design
In the field of criminal justice, there is always the need for the development of evidence-based strategies, programs, and policies. The evidence that is used to influence changes in the field of criminal justice is extracted from the findings of criminal justice research studies that are conducted by social science researchers, such as yourself. Therefore, there is a continual need to conduct criminal justice research that examines current issues in the field. You are tasked with developing a research study that explores a current issue in the field of criminal justice. You will detail your study in a research report covering the major steps outlined below, and the final report will be submitted at the end of the course.
The research report consists of four parts:
1. Part 1 – Research topic, research questions, and research design
2. Part 2 – Literature review
3. Part 3 – Research methodology
4. Part 4 – Discussion and conclusion
You then have the opportunity to tie all four parts together in a rough draft and make final revisions before presenting your research report for the course’s final project.
Part 1A: Research Topic
First, you will need to identify a criminal justice related topic that you want to explore throughout all of the assignments associated with the final research report. Second, provide a brief discussion about why you chose your topic and why researching that topic is important to the field of criminal justice. Third, to assist you in determining the type of research that has already been done on your topic and to give you a head start on Part 2 of your research report, you will need to include a list of five scholarly sources related to your topic.
Note: You are not required to summarize the sources here, but the references must be cited in APA format.
Part 1B: Research Question
Developing a research question is one of the most important parts of the research study. Your research question is what dictates the type of methodology that will be used in the study. There are certain research questions that lend themselves to pure (basic) versus applied research. There are certain research questions that lend themselves to qualitative versus quantitative research. Therefore, it is imperative that you establish the research question prior to conducting a study. This is important as you are formulating your steps to solve the problem in your empirical research. It should also be noted here that if one is asking qualitative type research questions, answers might not result. Instead, additional questions or sub-questions may result, which is an acceptable result.
Note: You are not discouraged from using either type of question. Instead, you are reminded as discussed in the textbook that various types of questions exist and that the type of question you use will impact your methodology. This is why it is imperative that you identify the type of research question you want to ask at the beginning of your study.
For this part of the assignment, you are tasked with developing a research question. Based on your research question, you will need to generate at least one hypothesis or at least one sub-question that is associated with your research question.
Keep in mind that the research question needs to be connected to the topic that you identified in Part 1A of the assignment, and it needs to be a question that you want to explore throughout the other parts of this assignment and subsequent assignments related to the final research report.
Part 1C: Research design
You will need to decide whether your research will use an experimental design, a quasi-experimental design, or a pre-experimental design. Provide a discussion that explains how your research falls into the experimental design that you chose. While you do not need to go into specifics about the methodology that you will utilize for your research study, you do need to be able to discuss to what extent your design will or will not incorporate equivalents, observation, treatment, and time.
All three parts of the assignment allow you to begin formulating your research design steps as you are building your research report. The three parts of the assignment should be submitted as one document. The assignment must be at least two double-spaced typed pages.
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