research discussion




Let’s continue figuring out your research question.  This is going to be the most important part of the course, but also the most difficult!  

Please read this week’s chapter to help you understand research in criminal, so that you can get an idea of what is expected. 

Also, keep the following in mind:

– do not be too general with your research questions.  You must be very explicit and specific with your research question.  If your interest is “political corruption in law enforcement” that is too broad.  You must be specific about which branch.  And, you must be very specific about what your definition of “corruption” is.  This is called operationalism.  

– Many of you are not asking research questions.  Instead, you are simply asking for general information about a criminal justice topic.  Asking, ‘how many people get arrested” is not a research question.  Your research question must be about something that necessitates a study.

Remember: your question has to be specific because only then can you actually study it.  There are many reasons why things happen.  But there are a few narrow reasons very particular things happen.  

For instance: suppose your dog dies and you want to know why.  You can’t ask, “Why do dogs die” and expect a specific answer to why your dog dies.  Because there are many reasons why dogs die.  They get old, they get sick, and they get injured and then die.  So your question can’t be, “why do dogs die?”  A more appropriate would be, “why did my dog die.”  

Or perhaps you know why your dog died, but you want to know if your dog’s death could have been avoided.  So your question can’t be, “why did my dog die.”  Because you know why.  But, if you want to know more about these types of deaths by dogs you can ask, “How do dogs contract [symptom] that leads to their death?”  Or, if your dog died from a rare occurrence you can ask, “How many dogs die of [rare occurrence]?”

Is this making sense?  

You must be very specific and very, very detailed with your question.

Don’t get discouraged!   This class is all about understanding research and how to conduct it.  We will get through it together!

Please discuss freely with the guest speaker.  

Please state:

1) What your research interest is; and

2) What research question is most appropriate for this interest?

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