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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Criminal Justice (CRIMJ)

CRIMJ 240W Field Research in the Criminal Justice (4) Field research and observational strategies appropriate to the identification, investigation, and analysis of research questions in criminal justice.

CRIMJ 240W Field Research in Criminal Justice (4)

Administration of Justice majors who are interested in completing an internship must first complete CRIMJ 240W. As augmented, this course attempts to introduce students to research strategies appropriate to the identification, investigation, and analysis of research questions in the administration of justice, while also providing intensive training in the use of various investigative strategies and intensive training in analysis of findings derived from such research, as well as preparation for an internship and extensive writing experience. As augmented, it will involve additional writing assignments by which students will demonstrate their ability to identify researchable questions, lay out their investigative strategies in written form and produce in writing analyses of their findings and conclusions, with recommendations for policy if appropriate. Considerable time is devoted to strategies for identification of research questions. Students will be required to perform an analysis of a setting in administration of justice, locate and specify aspects of the setting that require systematic research in order to explicate the setting or provide information on problems that might be solved by various administrative approaches or promising programs, projects or policies that might be adopted by other agencies. The course will provide an overview of field research methods appropriate to investigation of administration of justice issues such as those identified earlier. The course will include introduction to the theory and rationale of field research in the social sciences and considerable training and experience in field research methods across several different areas of methodology. The overview of field research methods introduces students to the variety of field methods that are available to researchers in administration of justice. Students will then proceed to an understanding of the issues associated with the theoretical perspectives and epistemological assumptions underlying the various field methods examined in the preceding overview. Here attention will be given to the assumptions upon which each research method is built and the strengths and weaknesses of each method. As augmented, this course is designed to require students to take special account of the weaknesses of the various methods and learn how to counter these weaknesses by augmenting the research strategy by complementary methods where appropriate. As augmented, the course is designed to teach students the reasons for use of various methods as well as the methods themselves. Because this course places such emphasis on data collection, and because research is best learned by doing it, the course is further augmented with additional research exercises. Students are required to spend additional time in the field research exercises beyond that required for a 3-credit course, completing as much as 20 hours of participant observation for sharpening their observational skills, as 10 hours of focus group work, with much of this effort aimed at sharpening their ability to interpret communications from several different sources with respect to the same events, and as 20 hours of interviewing, using several different interviewing techniques. These efforts concentrate upon developing students' ability to elicit information from interviewees and cross-validate the information through a variety of interview techniques. Students must complete several papers demonstrating their ability to organize their research finding and present them in understandable form. The research writing elements in this course include development of hypotheses, preparation of a research proposal, development of literature reviews, description of research settings, and preparation of research bibliographies. Finally, this course is designed to serve as a bridge in preparation for a successful internship experience. As such, it must succeed in teaching students how to develop and conduct a research study on their own before graduation.

Faculty Members Proposing Course: Lisa Morris and Richard A. Ball


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2008
Prerequisite: CRIMJ 100

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.