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Gathering Data Research

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Gathering Data Research
David Thompson
CJA/334 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
Dr. Lane Roos
July 19, 2012

Gathering Data Research Prosecutions, Convictions, Acquittal’s and all forms of legal action in between play a critical role in the courts. However, none of what the attorneys do can be done without first having a firm grasp on each and every case set before them, the judge and the jury that will be making its judgment. But before they can make an informed decision there must have been a gathering of information, or data to support both sides of the case. The gathering of information or data is vital to the case and perhaps even more so to the individual/s that are on trial as their lives can and often do hang in the balance.
No matter what profession one may have within the judicial system, researching information is something that at one time or another must be done. The ineffective of data gathering, research and analysis in often one of the primary factors behind an innocent man/woman going to jail and the guilty going free, therefore, the emphases placed on the gathering of information cannot and must not be understated. The goal of this paper The goal of this paper and my research is to define an officer’s duty, to discuss the importance of research and to address the kind of interview/s structures I would choose to use, the particular questioning style to use during the interview process and why I chose those certain questions. Additional I will attempt to provide some advantages of a qualitative data-gathering strategy over quantitative methods of obtaining information. According to "Duties & Responsibilities of Police Officers" (n.d.), “police duties are to protect life and property through the enforcement of laws and ordinances. Work involves the responsibility for performing routine police assignments that are received from police officers of superior rank. Work normally consists of checking of parking meters for violations, routine patrol, preliminary investigation and traffic regulation, and investigation duties in a designated area on an assigned shift which involve an element of personal danger and employees must be able to act without direct supervision and to exercise independent judgment in meeting emergencies” (Nature of Work). People that work within law enforcement have to have the mentality that when they put on their uniforms, it is their mission to enforce the rules and regulations of law enforcement. Accomplishing this mission can be, and has been proven to be dangerous. More often than not, police officers stress levels tend to be high and their career tends to interfere with their personal lives and how they interact with others while not on duty. The field of criminology is quite complex to define. When working in the criminal justice field, the criteria for research differ depending on one’s’ profession. Police officers research criteria often change depending on the task they are completing. For example, if an officer is conducting an investigation, they may have to research ones’ background first as well as the company they keep or have kept in the past so they know what information to ask. If an officer is arresting someone because of a raid or warrant, the officer must research why the warrant or raid was issued to begin with.

Types of questions asked As a police officer, the questions asked while interviewing someone are crucial. If I were conducting an interview to find out what an officers duty entails, I would ask questions such as “What are your duties and roles as a police officer? How do you feel about police unprofessionalism? Do you feel unprofessionalism damages the trust of society as well as the reputation of law enforcement? What are your ethical morals and values as an officer? What part of your job to you like the most? These interview questions will reflect the importance of police professionalism”. These questions will stem from real life situations and challenges other law enforcement professionals have encountered. The success of the research depends on the method or methods used by the researcher. Having a wide span of knowledge and experience will assist with making the interview process smoother. The type of interview structure used Interviews are usually conducted for informational purposes. “Informational interviews are extremely valuable both as a research tool and as a networking technique; it is an opportunity for a candidate to learn more about a practice area, the role of an attorney in that specific organization. Informational interviewing is not an opportunity to ask for a job, but it is a chance to make a strong first impression that may lead to future contacts and opportunities” (Conducting an Informative Interview, 2010). Data gathering strategies As in every form of data gathering there are both advantages and disadvantages of a qualitative data-gathering strategy, such as participant observation, offer a more quantitative approach. The distinction in regards to qualitative research versus quantitative research is that qualitative creates a hypothesis and quantitative tests the hypotheses (Hagan, 2010, Ch 1 p.15). Quantitative research is not as beneficial as qualitative research because the researcher is the main tool of gathering the information, whereas the researcher who utilizes the quantitative research method utilizes questionnaires, surveys, or other research material/equipment to collect numerical data (Neill, 2007). Qualitative research generally depends on following methods like how information is attained; participant observation, non-participant observation, structured interviews field notes, semi-structured interviews, reflexive journals, unstructured interviews and an analysis of the data obtained such as documents and materials obtained (Marshall, 2006). Qualitative research provides researchers with information that is designed for individuals who are very observant. Consent and confidentiality In regards to the judicial system, confidentiality is extremely important. One of the areas where confidentiality is important is during research conduction. More often than not, research requires an officer to interview people and remain a certain level of confidentiality. Making sure information shared during this process is imperative. Confidentiality is something that all law enforcement officials must respect, value and maintain. Although confidentiality and consent is important during any research and interview; when conducting survey research, it is very important to make sure all information obtained is handled with the highest level of privacy unless given the proper consent to share information. Research surveys are targeted towards officers and the feelings they may have towards the position they’re in. This type of surveys gives us an in depth view of what it’s like to be a law enforcement professional such as that of a police officer.

In conclusion, it is evident that research is an essential part of the criminal justice system. Research must be kept within the parameters of the so that the information obtained us justifiable and can be used in a court of law when necessary. Uniformed officers are sworn to protect and serve, they are dedicated to the cause and many have given their lives protecting the communities in which they live. Becoming a police officer is not just a choice one makes, but in actuality a life decision. Officers must make sure they follow morals as well as the code of ethics. No matter if you’re an officer that patrols the city streets night after night, or an officer patrolling school grounds or malls, you’re still important. Everyone feels a sense of comfort when they know they are safe. Forget not the officers put their lives on the line as well as place strain on their family lives so that we don’t have to. Thank God for the American Law Enforcement Officers of today.

References: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/143523/reasons_why_people_become_police_officers.html Hagan, F. Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology (2010). Retrieved March 25, 2012 from Ch. 1 p14-15 http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/Tips_for_Informational_Interviews.pdf Survey Methods. (2012, March).
Duties & Responsibilities of Police Officers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://brgov.com/dept/brpd/pdf/Police_Duties.pdf
Marshall. Data Collection Methods (2006). Retrieved March 25, 2012 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/10985_Chapter_4.pdf
Neill, J. (2007, February 28). Qualitative versus quantitative research: Key points in a classic debate. Retrieved from http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html…...

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