A staff study is a succinct and objective analysis of a specific problem accompanied by potential solution choices. The study discusses the facts, data and supplementary information and usually makes a recommendation, based on the research concerning which action plan to implement. Staff studies are not position papers, but rather are a rational presentation of the facts and well-researched and supported recommendations for problem solving. In many respects a staff study follows the form and format of an academic research paper, master or doctoral thesis.
Staff studies are used to:
Asset in the solving of organizational problems.
Provide solutions to problems of particular interest to individual administrators.
Identify the causes of problems and to propose solutions that can be used to address them.
Identify programs with the greatest potential for success.
Make decisions with regard to the allocation of resources.
Determine if current resources are being used effectively and efficiently.
Develop new approaches to service delivery problems.
Serve as the basis for requesting additional financial resources.
The paper will consist of four parts:
A declaration and clarification of the problem.
A review of the relevant literature.
Methods or solutions for addressing the problem.
A specific recommendation or set of recommendations for solving the problem.
General Writing Guidelines:
Accuracy in problem statement, supporting data and recommendations.
Brevity of content.
Clarity of expression
Completeness of information
Coherence of presentation
Objectivity of evaluations
Unity of design – stick to one issue or problem per study.
Use the following steps to plan and design your study:
First, think through the topic or problem before developing a prospectus (that is a concise outline done in narrative format). In selecting a topic that meets this need, the student is asked to discuss this issue with a co-worker or supervisor before finalizing a topic. You can also search the library to ascertain if adequate resources are available to examine the problem.
Planning your study- the planning phase should be an opportunity for you to explore various issues related to the identified problem; thus you should:
Engage in unlimited speculation regarding factors related to the problem;
Seek different points of view by involving others; and
Seek information from a variety of sources that include:
Agency records, reports and studies
National institute of justice reports
United states census data
Reports prepared by personnel of municipal, county, state, and commonwealth governments.
Serial publications such as: the World Almanac, NIJ sourcebook, The Municipal Yearbook, Statistical Abstract of the United States.
Criminal Justice, Social Science, Business and Management Journals.
The student will then write and submit the introduction chapterand a reference list that will:
Define the relevant organizational problem you have selected to examine. This is a critical first step because the entire staff study is based on the identification of the problem.
Discuss why it is an important issue for your agency by relating its impact on the mission and the objectives of the organization.
Explain how your approach will improve the situation or advance the state of knowledge on the issue.
The introductory chapter requires five types of information:
A brief background of the issue.
A statement of the problem or objective.
Your research questions clearly set forth.
Your methods or design discussed.
Explain the potential relevance of the findings. Briefly discuss the potential impact of the study and subsequent action plans in terms of personnel, facilities, budget and implementation processes.
5. Lay out your plan of action for obtaining information to solve this problem by listing sources you have identified.
Introductory Chapter submission and approval.
Once you have completed the first chapter you will submit it for review and approval. I will make suggestions and comments and return it to you. You will then have several weeks to complete the final paper which is due at the end of the quarter.
Format of the staff study:
Use APA format for all portions of the paper. This should include:
Executive Summary – this is a one page summary of the outlines the paper that takes the place of an abstract.
Table of Contents
The body of the paper should be organized as follows:
Introduction. This should include a clear and concise problem identification statement.
Literature review – find and document at least 8 relevant articles related to your topic.
Methods section – discuss how you chose to study the problem. Surveys, archival data, interviews, etc…
Discussion – present your findings
Implementation plan – discuss how any changes you propose will be implemented in your agency. Pay particular attention to any impact on personnel, structure or budget. You can use your best guess for any financial impact of your proposed changes.
Conclusion – briefly review the problem and proposed solution and discuss any justification for the proposed solution.
5. The final paper should be 15 pages in length. This does not include the cover page, table of contents, references and appendices. It should be double spaced no more than 12 point font.