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Research Methods for Criminal Justice

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Pages: 6

Words : 1274

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.


Answer :



The role of the police officers require them to sometime involve activities that are very traumatic in nature. As for instance, responding to sexually assaulted victims of younger age, vehicle accidents, encountering situations where someone is dying, or themselves engaging in actions where they kill other humans (Weiss et al, 2006). These situations hold enough potential to bring stress for a sane human being. With this perspective in focus, it would be worthwhile to understand that whether polices officers face challenge regarding adjusting themselves in the society in the long run. The paper further presents research question, analysis and methodology, and conclusions and future directions. 


Research Question

The research question for the study is – Are police officers who legally take another human life in the line of duty more likely to suffer variety of social adjustments in the long run?

There are can be many assumptions for a research study. The one assumption is that there is likely to be the similar situation faced by the police officers in the future then it is at present for which the research is being conducted. The limitation of the study is that the study has not considered data from the primary respondents directly during the study and this may pose problem as the result may not be contemporary. A primary study would have helped in understanding the current situation of the police officers and the findings would have been more relevant. 

The theory on which the question is based is the Routine Activity Theory. According to this theory, if there is enough attractiveness in the target, then it is likely that the crime will take place and there is nothing that can stop it from happening. Therefore, there is a need for a deterrent for it. The police officers are expected to work in all conditions, with the focus on discouraging the development of environmental conditions that may lead to crime, and this need put them in various situations.


Analysis & Methodology

Studies have found that the cases of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) have been witnessed among the police officers after they have engaged in critical situations where they engage with activities that are inhuman (Maia et al, 2007). Study by Stein et al (1997) found subclinical symptoms among the officers as well. It is understandable that police officers often engage in application of force where they end up physically harming another person. Most importantly, the major problem comes when another person dies. There are various circumstances when police officers are required to kill others or injure other, which layer after layer contributes to the already existing traumatic sequel. The National Institute of Justice states that in order to execute the everyday police function, they are expected to engage in usage of deadly force, and it can be considered as part and partial of their role. Durose et al (2005) asserts that in total only 1.5% of interaction among the public and the police officers warrants usage of force. However, it should also be understood that the evidence associated with empirical studies that may explicitly showcase the direct correlation between social adjustment needs and killing in the line of duty is scarce.

The study utilizes secondary research method in order to collect the data from the secondary sources. The reason behind the use of this method is that it can be conducted right from the desk without requiring the researcher to do major physical interactions with others. Two types of data are there qualitative and quantitative that can be collected. The qualitative data are the findings presented in their study by other researchers. A thematic analysis can be applied on the findings of their study to reach the intended outcome of the study. Further, the quantitative data will be sourced from secondary sources such as data present on government website regarding the number of encounters in which police engages (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). Both the data type used alone may leave some gap as on one hand quantitative data collection may help in collecting large number of sample, whereas qualitative data collection may help gain in depth understanding on the topic. However, if only the secondary research method is being utilized, then qualitative data can be used which are the findings of other researchers (McCusker & Gunaydin, 2015). 

The study is expected to be valid due to their dependence on the findings from other studies that had been done with the help of primary data collection. There are no major ethical consideration required when it comes to conducting the secondary research method. Whereas, when it comes to primary research, the challenge increases due to direct engagement with the targeted subject, and it also creates challenge of influencing the respondents. 


Conclusions and Future Direction

Overall it can be concluded that the police officers do need to do make social adjustments after they are engaged in activities where they end up killing people. It is important to understand that staying on the front line and involving in various critical and gruesome situations is not easy. It severely impacts the ability of the police officers to see the world the way they used to before. They face stressful situations that require them to be mentally strong. However, not all police officers ends up coming out well. 

The future direction of the study is that this study will be taken further for primary data collection and assessment. It is understandable that the secondary research only requires conducting study based on the previous conducted study. This may pose challenge to the contemporariness of the results. Therefore, a primary study will be conducted in order to collect relevant data from police officers working in a specified geography.


Weiss, D. S., Brunet, A., Best, S. R., Metzler, T. J., Liberman, A., Pole, N., ... & Marmar, C. R. (2010). Frequency and severity approaches to indexing exposure to trauma: The Critical Incident History Questionnaire for police officers. Journal of traumatic stress, 23(6), 734-743.

Maia, D. B., Marmar, C. R., Metzler, T., Nóbrega, A., Berger, W., Mendlowicz, M. V., ... & Figueira, I. (2007). Post-traumatic stress symptoms in an elite unit of Brazilian police officers: Prevalence and impact on psychosocial functioning and on physical and mental health. Journal of affective disorders, 97(1-3), 241-245.

Stein, M. B., Walker, J. R., Hazen, A. L., & Forde, D. R. (1997). Full and partial posttraumatic stress disorder: findings from a community survey. The American journal of psychiatry.

Durose, M. R., Schmitt, E. L., & Langan, P. A. (2005). Contacts between police and the public: Findings from the 2002 national survey. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.

McCusker, K., & Gunaydin, S. (2015). Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), 537-542.


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