This is the capstone course for the Criminal Justice program. Students demonstrate research abilities, develop a research question, and draw conclusions through completing a focused criminal justice research project that is the subject of a written and oral presentation. The research paper will allow students the opportunity to fuse theory, methodology and statistics into a comprehensive paper that addresses a critical issue in the criminal justice system. Discussion topics will include an opportunity for students to become acquainted with the range and scope of a career options and develop a career plan.
Suggested Textbook: Manual of the American Psychological Association
Suggested website: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
● After the course, students will have the ability to:
● Articulate a clear and focused research question on a criminal justice topic
● Identify source information that will aid in answering a selected research question
● Demonstrate a proficiency in organizing, developing, and completing a scientific research project
● Gather information that is relevant to a selected research question
● List the component parts of a criminal justice research paper in a manner that demonstrates appropriate writing skills and the ability to draw research conclusions.
● Share research ideas through class discussion and peer critiquing sessions that are conducted in individual and group formats
● Make use of technology to report research findings
● Increased his/her understanding of the methodological issues and challenges for performing research methods
● Demonstrate appropriate oral communication skills
● Demonstrate time management skills
Use of Blackboard: Blackboard is integral to the management and teaching of this course, and it is advised that you access the course site regularly. It will be used to communicate course information including updates and announcements, distribute required reading and other supplemental materials, and provide a vehicle for the exchange of student ideas and viewpoints. Please make sure that your email listed in Blackboard is up to date and /or forwarded to your primary email, as I will be using that email address to communicate with you throughout the course.
Student Expected Outcomes:
Students will be required to complete:
Proposal I (Cover sheet, Table of Contents, Introduction, Background and Bibliography) Due date September 26, 2021 at 11:59p. Late papers will receive an automatic 5-point deduction for the first 24 hours (one day late); 10-point reduction for two or more days late. No exception on the policy. Proposal I will be submitted via Blackboard (Turnitin). No exceptions
Proposal II (Cover sheet, Table of Contents, Literature Review, Methods and Bibliography) October 24th at 11:59pm. After 11:59 on the due there will be a 10 points deduction on the first day; 20 points deduction for second late day and 25 points deduction for three or more late days. No exceptions! Proposal II will be submitted via Blackboard (Turnitin). No exceptions.
Proposal III (Cover sheet, Abstracts, Table of Contents, Data Analysis, Results, Conclusion and Bibliography) Due December 12th at 11:59pm. After 11:59 on the due there will be a 10 points deduction on the first day; 20 points deduction for second late day and 30 points deduction for three or more late days. No exceptions! Proposal III will be submitted via Blackboard (Turnitin). No exceptions.
COURSE GRADE ASSESSMENT
● Proposal I (sections: Introduction and Background) 15%
● Proposal II (Literature Review and Methods ) 30%
● Project Package 05%
● Proposal III (Data Analysis, Results, and Conclusion) 50%
Must successfully pass Proposal I and II with a minimum score of 10. Failure to get 10 points will result in not passing the course.
Grading Standards Grading Scale
A= Superior 90% and Up
B= Above, Average 80- 89%
C= Average 70-79%
D= Below Average 60-69%
F=Failure Below 60%
● Please submit all work in Blackboard. A link for the assignment will be posted (Turnitin). No papers will be accepted via email or direct submission.
Senior Project: Students are going to engage in original research this semester. All students will design a research project surrounding an issue in either Prince George’s County, Baltimore City or Washington DC. As one part of the assignment, students will design and administer questionnaire to survey public opinion. Students must have a minimum 150 completed questionnaires (convenient sample). Minimum page requirement is 22. Please use 12-point font with a 1-inch margin on all sides. Double space the paper and staple it in the corner. Use an APA format. Topic for the research paper must be approved by the instructor prior to beginning the paper. Failure to get approval will result in a zero on the proposal. Students are not allowed to fake data collection or use previous data from another project.
Demographics of the project: Gender (75 males and 75 female’s ratio), and Age (75 18-35 and 75 36 and over ration). Failure to meet the minimum requirements for gender or age will result in 10-point deduction (note: if minimum requirement is not achieved for both groups, there will be a 20-point deduction). The student will determine other demographics such as educational level, income, military service, etc.
Project Package: students must submit on an email attachment with the following: Proposal I, Proposal II, Proposal III 150 completed Surveys (must have date, time and numerical sequence on each individual survey) codebook, and SPSS data. The instructor will verify all 150 surveys. Students are allowed seven unverified surveys without penalty. Eight or more unverified could lead to deductions in points or a failing grade depending on the number of unverified surveys. Students must use convenient sample to interview respondents. Students are not allowed to interview BSU students, faculty or staff. All respondents must be a minimum of 18.
Project Package must be submitted by 5:00p on December 13th before 5: 00pm. There will be 10-point deduction for each day the package is late (includes Saturday and Sunday).
The research project will be formatted in the following design:
Coversheet (APA format)
Table of Contents
The function of the Introduction is to:
● Establish the context of the work being reported. This is accomplished by discussing the relevant primary research literature (with citations) and summarizing our current understanding of the problem you are investigating;
● State the purpose of the work in the form of the hypothesis, question, or problem you investigated; and,
● Briefly explain your rationale and approach and, whenever possible, the possible outcomes your study can reveal.
● Statement of the Problem
● Must include the five research questions in the introduction paragraph (research questions will be written in such a manner that will allow the student to perform: Chi Square, T-test, ANOVA and Bivariate statistical procedures). Research Questions must be approved by the instructor of record. Please see the instructor for further clarification.
Quite literally, the Introduction must answer the questions, “What was I studying? Why was it an important question? What did we know about it before I did this study? How will this study advance our knowledge?”
2. Style: Use the active voice as much as possible. Some use of first person is okay, but do not overdo it. Structure: The structure of the Introduction can be thought of as an inverted triangle – the broadest part at the top representing the most general information and focusing down to the specific problem you studied. Organize the information to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the Introduction, then narrow toward the more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your statement of purpose and rationale. A good way to get on track is to sketch out the Introduction backwards; start with the specific purpose and then decide what is the scientific context in which you are asking the question(s) your study addresses. Once the scientific context is decided, then you’ll have a good sense of what level and type of general information with which the Introduction should begin.
Research Questions: Students must include Five Research Questions investigating key issues regarding the topic at the end of the introduction. Questions are formatted to analysis Chi-square, T-test, ANOVA, and Bivariate. Dependent variable for T-test, ANOVA, and Bivariate structured as a scale question.
Background information expands upon the key points stated in your introduction but is not intended to be the focus of the paper. Sufficient background information helps your reader determine if you have a basic understanding of the research problem being investigated and promotes confidence in the overall quality of your analysis and findings. This information provides the reader with the essential context needed to understand the research problem and its significance.
Depending on the problem being studied, forms of contextualization may include one or more of the following:
● Cultural — placed within the learned behavior of specific groups of people.
● Economic — of or relating to systems of production and management of material wealth and/or business activities.
● Gender — located within the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with being male or female.
● Historical — the time in which something takes place or was created and how that influences how you interpret it.
● Philosophical — clarification of the essential nature of being or of phenomena as it relates to the research.
Physical/Spatial — reflects the space around something and how that influences how you see it.
● Political — concerns the environment in which something is produced indicating it’s public purpose or agenda.
● Social — the environment of people that surrounds something’s creation or intended audience, reflecting how the people around something use and interpret it.
● Temporal — reflects issues or events of, relating to, or limited by time.
Background information can also include summaries of important, relevant research studies. The key is to summarize for the reader what is known about the specific research problem before you conducted your analysis. This is accomplished with a general review of the foundational research literature (with citations) that report findings that inform your study’s aims and objectives.
Literature Review (minimum of 10 empirical articles)
● Establish the context by providing a brief and balanced review of the pertinent published literature that is available on the subject. All articles must be public opinion/perception research on the student’s specific topic. Students are encouraged to have the instructor of record approve the articles.
● The key is to summarize (for the reader) what we knew about the specific problem before you did your experiments or studies. This is accomplished with a general review of the primary research literature (with citations) but should not include very specific, lengthy explanations that you will probably discuss in detail later in the Discussion. The judgment of what is general or specific is difficult at first, but with practice and reading of the scientific literature, you will develop e firmer sense of your audience. In the mouse behavior paper, for example, you would begin the Introduction at the level of mating behavior in general, and then quickly focus to mouse mating behaviors and then hormonal regulation of behavior. Lead the reader to your statement of purpose/hypothesis by focusing your literature review from the more general context (the big picture e.g., hormonal modulation of behaviors) to the more specific topic of interest to you (e.g., role/effects of reproductive hormones, especially estrogen, in modulating specific sexual behaviors of mice.)
What literature should you look for in your review of what we know about the problem? Focus your efforts on the primary research journals – the journals that publish original research articles. Although you may read some general background references (encyclopedias, textbooks, lab manuals, style manuals, etc.) to get yourself acquainted with the subject area, do not cite these, because they contain information that is considered fundamental or “common” knowledge within the discipline. Cite, instead, articles that reported specific results relevant to your study. Learn, as soon as possible, how to find the primary literature (research journals) and review articles rather than depending on reference books. The articles listed in the Literature Cited of relevant papers you find are a good starting point to move backwards in a line of inquiry. Most academic libraries support the Citation Index – an index that is useful for tracking a line of inquiry forward in time. Some of the newer search engines will actually send you alerts of new papers that cite particular articles of interest to you. Review articles are particularly useful because they summarize all the research done on a narrow subject area over a brief period of time (a year to a few years in most cases).
A good literature review will contain the following items:
1. A title page including your name, social security number and an interesting title
2. An introduction – what is your topic specifically?
3. Answer the question “why?’ Make a case for studying your topic. Include prevalence rates and statistics.
4. Summarize the literature in a succinct and coherent manner. Organize the literature by topic, chronologically or theoretically. Do not just summarize each article separately
Function: In this section you explain clearly how you carried out your study in the following general structure and organization (details follow below):
● The organism(s) studied (plant, animal, human, etc.) and, when relevant, their pre-experiment handling and care, and when and where the study was carried out (only if location and time are important factors); note that the term “subject” is used ONLY for human studies.
● If you did a field study, provide a description of the study site, including the significant physical and biological features, and the precise location (latitude and longitude, map, etc);
● The experimental OR sampling design (i.e., how the experiment or study was structured. For example, controls, treatments, what variable(s) were measured, how many samples were collected, replication, the final form of the data, etc.);
● The protocol for collecting data, i.e., how the experimental procedures were carried out, and,
● How the data were analyzed (qualitative analyses and/or statistical procedures used to determine significance, data transformations used, what probability was used to decide significance, etc).
● How each research question will be assessed and analyzed from the collected data.
Organize your presentation so your reader will understand the logical flow of the paper; subheadings work well for this purpose. Each procedure should be presented as a unit, even if it was broken up over time. The research design and procedure are sometimes most efficiently presented as an integrated unit, because otherwise it would be difficult to split them up. In general, provide enough quantitative detail (how much, how long, when, etc.) about your experimental protocol such that other scientists could reproduce your experiments. You should also indicate the statistical procedures used to analyze your results, including the probability level at which you determined significance (usually at 0.05 probability).
2. Style: The style in this section should read as if you were verbally describing the conduct of the experiment. You may use the active voice to a certain extent, although this section requires more use of third person, passive constructions than others. Avoid use of the first person in this section. Remember to use the past tense throughout – the work being reported is done, and was performed in the past, not the future. The Methods section is not a step-by-step, directive, protocol as you might see in your lab manual.
See instructor for further details on the method section.
Describe how the data were summarized and analyzed. Here you will indicate what types of descriptive statistics were used and which analyses (usually hypothesis tests) were employed to answer each of the questions or hypotheses tested and determine statistical significance. All students will employ Chi Square, T-test, ANOVA and Bi-variate procedures to answer research questions. Students will present analysis on the five research questions. See the instructor for further details.
The information should include:
● Statistical software used: Sometimes it is necessary to report which statistical software you used; this would be at the discretion of your instructor or the journal.
● how the data were summarized (Means, percent, etc) and how you are reporting measures of variability (SD,SEM, 95% CI, etc)
o This lets you avoid having to repeatedly indicate you are using mean ± SD or SEM.
● which data transformations were used (e.g., to correct for normal distribution or equalize variances);
● Statistical tests used with reference to the questions, or kinds of questions, they address.
● All tables must be in APA format
Function: The function of the Results section is to objectively present your key results, without interpretation, in an orderly and logical sequence using both text and illustrative materials (Tables and Figures). The results section always begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed. Summaries of the statistical analyses may appear either in the text (usually parenthetically) or in the relevant Tables or Figures (in the legend or as footnotes to the Table or Figure). The Results section should be organized around Tables and/or Figures that should be sequenced to present your key findings in a logical order. The text of the Results section should be crafted to follow this sequence and highlight the evidence needed to answer the questions/hypotheses you investigated. Important negative results should be reported, too. Authors usually write the text of the results section based upon the sequence of Tables and Figures. Include references to the literature review to gauge whether your results are consistent with the current literature.
2. Style: Write the text of the Results section concisely and objectively. The passive voice will likely dominate here but use the active voice as much as possible. Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures. Do not interpret the data here.
Differences, directionality, and magnitude: Report your results to provide as much information as possible to the reader about the nature of differences or relationships. For example, if you are testing for differences among groups, and you find a significant difference, it is not sufficient to simply report, “Groups A and B were significantly different”. How are they different? How much are they different? It is much more informative to say something like, “Group A individuals were 23% larger than those in Group B”, or “Group B pups gained weight at twice the rate of Group A pups.” Report the direction of differences (greater, larger, smaller, etc) and the magnitude of differences (percentage difference, how many times, etc.) whenever possible. See also below about use of the word “significant.”
The function of the Discussion is to interpret your results in light of what was already known about the subject of the investigation, and to explain our new understanding of the problem after taking your results into consideration. The Discussion will always connect to the Introduction by way of the question(s) or hypotheses you posed and the literature you cited, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the Introduction. Instead, it tells how your study has moved us forward from the place you left us at the end of the Introduction.
Fundamental questions to answer here include:
● Do your results provide answers to your testable hypotheses? If so, how do you interpret your findings?
● Do your findings agree with what others have shown? If not, do they suggest an alternative explanation or perhaps a unforeseen design flaw in your experiment (or theirs?)
● Given your conclusions, what is our new understanding of the problem you investigated and outlined in the Introduction?
● Use the active voice whenever possible in this section. Watch out for wordy phrases; be concise and make your points clearly. Use of the first person is okay, but too much use of the first person may distract the reader from the main points.
Format of the Paper: APA format
Abstract (included for Proposal III)
Table of Contents
Body of the paper
Please use 12 font with APA format
Page number at the bottom
Cell phones are prohibited in the classroom Please be the mature students you are expected to be and continue to make every effort to ensure positive learning opportunities for everyone.
POLICY ON ATTENDANCE:
“All students who are compliant must attend class in person so that your attendance record is not adversely affected.” Non-compliant students have until September 30 to get into compliance or will be dropped from the course (per University’s policy).
According to the student handbook a student is considered failing if, they miss 5 hours of class. Attendance and punctuality are important if students expect to do well in this course. BE ON TIME FOR CLASSES! Absence means the student misses a great deal of information, which will not be reviewed. In order to receive full credit for attendance, you must arrive no later than (5) five minutes after the class time and you cannot leave prior to end of class unless there is a valid reason with documentation. Attendance will take place prior to class and at the end of class (Students must be presented at both times).
Academic honesty is expected in all work. Cheating on examinations will lead to strict disciplinary action (i.e., failure for that assignment). In any written work, cite all references for ideas which are not your own or considered common knowledge. Copying of text from a printed or online source will result in failure for that assignment. It is expected that all material will be written in your own words, not a direct copy of language or format from an external source.
Students who have a disability and who would like accommodations should report immediately to Disability Support Services (DSS), located in Room 1328 in the Business and Graduate Studies Building or call Dr. Michael S. Hughes, DSS Coordinator at 301-860-4067.
September 1, 2021: Introduction to course Review course requirements, syllabus
September 8, 2021: Discuss of the syllables/requirements. Writing Center Topic Due, How to write Research Questions
September 15, 2021: Introduction to Inquiry How to write Research Questions
September 22, 2021: Guidelines for Asking Questions Proposal I due on September 24th at 11:59pm
September 29, 2021: Questionnaire Construction How to conduct a literature review, empirical articles, Library resources
October 6, 2021: Research Design Research Methods, How to prepare survey
October 13, 2021: Research Design/Theory
October 20th, 2021: How to Design a Research Project Proposal II due on October 24th, 2021 at 11:59pm
October 27th, 2021: The Research Proposal
November 3 Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement
November 10: Survey Research
November 17: Quantitative Data Analysis
November 24: Quantitative Data Analysis
December 1, 2021: Quantitative Data Analysis
December 9th, 2021: Quantitative Data Analysis
December 12th, 2021: Due at 11:59pm via Turnitin Proposal III (Data Analysis, Results and Conclusion)
Additional information for the paper will be posted in Blackboard.
All students will be required to submit sections of the project into Turnitin and a percent of 25 or more will result in points deduction from the final score on individual project. Point deduction will be based on the severity of the citation issue and formatting (Instructor will provided further clarity).
26 – 30: minus 5 points
31 – 35: minus 10 points
36 – 40: minus 15 points
41 – 45: minus 20 points
46 -50: minus 25 points
51 – 55: minus 30 points
55 and over minus 35 points
The Professor reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus.