Law

CJ 300 Final Project Guidelines and Rubric

Overview Your final project in this course is the development of a research report. The fundamental responsibility of criminal justice personnel is based on sound decision making. Using the scientific method within the criminal justice investigations process allows investigators the opportunity to base their findings on factual data and ethical reasoning. This is especially important within the field of criminal justice because the decisions made undergo rigorous scrutiny from entities such as the media, judiciary system, and the general public. Creating literature reviews is a common practice when explaining trends within the criminal justice field. For example, as a criminal justice representative, you may be tasked with explaining why calls of domestic violence have increased in a specific area in your jurisdiction over a certain period of time. It is your responsibility to gather and interpret data, analyze criminological theories, and make use of the scientific method to offer an explanation for the increase, as well as an effective avenue of resolution. In the final project you will practically apply research methods to come to informed conclusions. For this assessment, you will play the part of an individual currently employed at a criminal justice agency such as a police force, a correctional institution, or a court system. Your administrative staff holds monthly meetings to discuss trends, departmental issues, and community concerns. Your supervisor has approached you and told you that there has been a trend of increased incidents related to a specific issue, and furthermore, the community has taken notice. Your supervisor must provide an answer to the administrative staff and the community, and would like your assistance. You have been tasked with conducting initial research on the issue to inform the direction of your supervisor’s further research and statement to the administrative staff and community. To begin, you will be presented with a predetermined list of issues impacting the field of criminal justice. You are to choose an issue, or select an issue outside of the list with instructor approval. You will then seek out five peer-reviewed scholarly articles, two of which must use qualitative methodology, and synthesize and critically analyze the literature to develop a research question and create data-informed conclusions about your selected issue. Additionally, you must identify the methodology used in each article, and explain the importance of using the scientific method to practice ethical research. The project is divided into three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Two, Four, and Five. The final product will be submitted in Module Seven. Additionally, throughout the course you will work on a series of worksheets that directly relate to elements of your final research report. These worksheets will be submitted in Modules One, Three, and Six. In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:

 Develop research questions that address contemporary issues in criminal justice by applying appropriate criminological theories

 Interpret criminal justice research to identify patterns for drawing evidence-based conclusions

 Differentiate between qualitative and quantitative research methods for their appropriate application to data-informed decision making in criminal justice

 Articulate the importance of the scientific method for ethically conducting research in the criminal justice field

Prompt Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:

I. Introduction: Provide a brief overview of the contemporary issue you selected and its importance with respect to a trend in the field of criminal justice. Include necessary information to set the stage for your supervisor. Consider how the issue plays a larger role in the field of criminal justice.

II. Literature Analysis: In this section you will conduct research on your previously selected criminal justice issue. You will summarize the research and analyze the research designs to identify their advantages and disadvantages, informing your supervisor’s future research of the issue.

A. Summarize your research related to the criminal justice issue, identifying the common themes across the literature. B. What are the advantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about your chosen issue?

Provide specific examples from the research to support your determinations. For example, in critically analyzing the research around this issue, what aspects demonstrate that the research is both scientifically and ethically sound?

C. What are the disadvantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about your chosen issue? Provide specific examples from the research to support your determinations. For example, in critically assessing the research around this issue, what aspects demonstrate that there are potential flaws in the soundness of the research?

III. Methodology: In this section you will make connections between the research methods used, and the ability to conduct ethical, valid research. Your research here will help your supervisor ensure his or her future research is both ethical and valid.

A. Draw connections between the research design and the methodology used in the chosen research. How does the research design inform the methodology used, or vice versa?

B. What methods did practitioners use to protect the validity of their investigations and not project their own assumptions on the empirical evidence? Substantiate your claims. For example, did the researchers document and disclose all their procedures? How was their work grounded in theory?

C. What were the ethical considerations in conducting research in this particular field and in addressing this issue? Provide examples from your research to support your response.

IV. Research Question: In this section, you will develop a research question informed by your previous literature analysis. This question will assist your supervisor by focusing his or her future research in a specific vein of the criminal justice issue, as well as informing him or her of the possible assumptions and limitations of the research question.

A. Develop a research question that addresses the contemporary criminal justice issue you selected, based on your previous research analysis. For example, you may create a research question that asks, “Why has there been a rise in domestic violence calls within a given jurisdiction?”

B. Outline the existing assumptions and limitations of the research question. For example, what are specific aspects of the issue, and in what ways will your research question address those limitations? Consider the influence of bias, the length of time required for observation to provide reliable information, and whether or not the population sample accurately represents the research question.

C. Select a criminological theory that best explains the reasoning behind your research question. In other words, use the criminological theory to explain to your supervisor why your research question is necessary to research further. Justify your selection.

V. Conclusions and Future Direction: To conclude, you will identify patterns in the research, discuss the importance of using the scientific method in research, and consider the future direction of research on the topic. This information will help your supervisor further target his or her future research.

A. What patterns did you identify in the research, and what conclusions could you form about your research question based on these patterns? Ensure that you use both qualitative and quantitative studies when identifying patterns. What conclusions might you make about your research question based on these patterns?

B. How did you use the scientific method to ensure you conducted your research ethically? Provide specific examples. For example, how did you use the scientific method to ensure that you did not project your own assumptions on the empirical evidence?

C. In what ways would future research of the issue benefit from a new approach or methodology, other than those you assessed in your literature review? Substantiate your claims. How can a new approach or methodology improve the research? What future direction might research take on your chosen topic? What are the theoretical implications of this research?

Milestones Milestone One: Introduction In Module Two, you will provide a brief overview of the contemporary issue you selected, and the instructor approved, and its importance with respect to a trend in the field of criminal justice. You will also describe how the issue plays a larger role in the field of criminal justice. You will include necessary information to “set the stage” for your supervisor. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone One Rubric. Milestone Two: Literature Analysis In Module Four, you will provide a summary of your research on your previously selected and approved criminal justice issue and analyze the research designs to identify their advantages and disadvantages, informing your supervisor’s future research of the issue. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone Two Rubric. Milestone Three: Methodology In Module Five, you will describe the connections between the research methods you used, and the ability to conduct ethical, valid research. This portion of the report will help your supervisor ensure his or her future research is both ethical and valid. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone Three Rubric. Final Submission: Research Report In Module Seven, you will submit your final project, which will include the addition of a research question that is informed by your previous literature analysis. This question will assist your supervisor by focusing his or her future research in a specific vein of the criminal justice issue and inform him or her of the possible assumptions and limitations of the research question. You will also provide a conclusion for your research, identifying patterns in the research, discussing the importance of using the scientific method in research, and considering the future direction of research on the topic. This information will help your supervisor

further target his or her future research. The final submission should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded with the Final Project Rubric (below).

Milestone Deliverable Module Due Grading

One Introduction Two Graded separately; Milestone One Rubric

Two Literature Analysis Four Graded separately; Milestone Two Rubric

Three Methodology Five Graded separately; Milestone Three Rubric

Final Submission: Research Report Seven Graded separately; Final Project Rubric

Final Project Rubric Guidelines for Submission: Your case analysis must be 4–6 pages in length and adhere to standard formatting (12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins), using the most recent version of the APA style manual for the citations. Instructor Feedback: This activity uses an integrated rubric in Blackboard. Students can view instructor feedback in the Grade Center. For more information, review these instructions.

Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (85%) Needs Improvement (55%) Not Evident (0%) Value

Introduction

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates keen insight into the selected issue’s relevance to the field of criminal justice

Provides a brief overview of the contemporary issue selected and its importance with respect to a trend in the field of criminal justice, including necessary information to set the stage for the report

Provides an overview of the contemporary issue selected and its importance with respect to a trend in the field of criminal justice, including information to set the stage for the report, but with gaps in necessary detail or accuracy, or is verbose

Does not provide an overview of the contemporary issue selected and its importance with respect to a trend in the field of criminal justice

5.87

Literature Analysis: Summarize Research

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates keen insight into identifying themes across research

Summarizes research related to the research question, identifying the common themes across the literature

Summarizes research related to the research question, identifying the common themes across the literature, but with gaps in detail, accuracy, or theme identification

Does not summarize research related to the research question

5.87

Literature Analysis: Advantages of

Research Methodologies

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates keen insight into the advantages of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies for their application to informing decision making in criminal justice

Outlines the advantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about the chosen issue, providing specific examples from the research

Outlines the advantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about the chosen issue, but with gaps in detail, accuracy, or support

Does not outline the advantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about the chosen issue

7.83

Literature Analysis: Disadvantages of

Research Methodologies

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates keen insight into the disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies for their application to informing decision making in criminal justice

Outlines the disadvantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about the chosen issue, providing specific examples from the research

Outlines the disadvantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about the chosen issue, but with gaps in detail, accuracy, or support

Does not outline the disadvantages of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in informing decision making about the chosen issue

7.83

Methodology: Design and Methodology

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates keen insight into the connection between research design and methodology

Draws connections between the research design and the methodology used in the chosen research

Draws connections between the research design and the methodology used in the chosen research, but connections are illogical or inaccurate

Does not draw connections between the research design and the methodology used in the chosen research

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