CJUS 750-Developing Research Questions

Developing Research Questions

This paper is an effort to develop research questions based upon a review of research done in previous assignments. Students must develop 3–5 research questions and 5–10 open-ended interview questions.


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Evidence-Based Policing Approach

Shanee’ N. Ellington

Liberty University


This paper discusses evidence based policing approach that occur in the criminal justice system. One of the most important elements that are usually used to increase or rather prove the level of credibility of police work is through the use of evidence-based policy whereby a crime is prosecuted based on the best evidence discovered through investigation. Apart from that, the use of correct evidence provides a wide pool of resources that can be used to prevent future crimes from happening. The concept of evidence-based policing is discussed in the paper by looking at the various components that are usually involved when coming up with strategies to gather evidence including their challenges and the importance of the use of evidence-based policing. Some importance of using the system when delivering criminal justice include fact that a more correct sentencing will be delivered, increase in the amount of proof that can be used in litigation process as well as the discovery of more information on other crimes and criminals through the investigation process whereby the police get to interact with the general public who at time might disclose information on other crimes that keep nagging them.

The main challenges that face the problem, however, is the issue on its emphasis on procedure which eventually leads to the development of other challenges like a limitation of the police to innovate to gather more information. Unlike traditional methods that encouraged the interaction between the policemen and the public, the more systematic evidence-based system emphasizes the use of procedures taught in the police academies which limits the policemen to approaches that might not be effective enough top coarse the public to give more information on an issue. Another problem is the lack of enough secondary resources to support the evidence gathered hence the emphasis by specialists that there needs to be a relationship between experience and the case at hand by policemen if the method is to be successful.

Evidence Based Policing Approach

Evidence-based policing is a law enforcement perspective and philosophy that implies that research, evaluation, and analysis and scientific processes should be used in the decision making of law enforcement personnel (Sherman, 2013). It suggests that the best evidence should be used to guide the practice and the work of the police. The police must serve and protect the public. In so doing, they should ensure that the methods and the tactics they are using have ever been used before, and it has been proven that they work. It also suggests that the best evidence should be used to guide the activities of the police in law enforcement. The following literature review will focus on the topic of Evidence-Based Policing to explain what is required for policing, why the approach should be adopted, how police officers utilize the method, and the challenges of the approach in comparison to traditional policing. The review is generally thematically organized.

What is required for evidence-based policing?

Sherman, in his 2013 article, argues that evidence-based policing is made up of two essential components; an increase in the amount of research done and the transformation of the research findings into a format that is easily understood by a police officer. Police officers are mostly involved with the fieldwork; the researching component is left to the academic, which are the criminologists. They design findings on crime and record the results in academic journals. The second component, the translation of the research findings into a format that is accessible by a police officer, is done, and the material is published for use by police officers. According to Lum & Koper (2017), most of the time, police officers tend to consider the real situation that is at hand and use the most specific information available to solve their cases without considering what previous writers of a similar incident say about particular issues.

Why should the evidence-based approach be adopted?

According to Lum & Koper, an evidence-based approach gives the police personnel an objective standard that they can use to justify their actions by showing research that is scientifically proven to support their tactics. Most of the issues that the police deal with are diverse, and there are different ways of approaching a law enforcement issue depending on personalities and the perspective an individual has towards the society. Having evidence of a tactic that was used by another police officer to solve a similar case makes the public trust the police departments more as people who are strategic and intentional in what they do according to (Sherman, 2013). It also enables a senior officer of the police to have clues on how they should handle a situation and to use practices and tactics that have been scientifically proven to solve it. Taking such a move would enable the officer, and his team is ready for circumstances that are already indicated in the format. It also gives them clues of what they should look for in such cases so that the mission can be completed.

According to Bueermann (2012), the approach factors in the broad priorities of the population, which incorporates freedom from violent coercion, which leads to a happier society. Consequently, the populace may take the chance to inform the police officers of criminals who might be interfering with their peace, thus making it easy for the police to make arrests. Sherman (2013) supports Bueermann by adding that evidence can be used by the police as a preventative measure. For instance, a case study of how violent politically motivated individuals were dealt with by the law would act as a preventative measure to the general public and other politicians who have similar intentions of being violent and violating the law. Consequently, the evidence-based approach helps reduce the crime rates, especially when people know the possible outcomes which are possibly heavily penalizing.

Also, the evidence-based approach is essential in sentencing. Previously solved cases that are related to the current case can be used to determine how a judge should deal with it. There’s the certainty of punishment for an offense, especially when there has been consistency in the rate of a particular crime. According to Telep & Lum (2014), having in mind that the law is present to determine the type of punishment that the offender should receive, the previously solved cases that are similar to the current one can be used as well. Moreover, the approach can be used in forensics in blinded procedures where the officer who shows the photo of the offender to witnesses does not know who the offender is. As a result, the witness can not quickly get their mind changed by the reaction of the police officer, thus reducing the chances of false identification of criminals. Telep (2017), reinforces the idea by stating that the evidence-based approach provides police officers with general ideas about how they should deal with a crime scene, thus making their work effective, the operation successful and strategic.

Things that police officers do in service to be more evidence-based

According to Laycock, (2012), police officers answer calls for service, having in mind that they should proactively have in mind for the future in terms of whether the crime being reported will lead to another crime. Whether they can get a more profound clue of the problems in the crime being reported and whether the person reporting the crime can give further information about the crime apart from the information that is already at hand. Also, the officers can be more evidence-based by ensuring that they consider specific solvability factors in certain crime scenes such as the identity of the offender, any available physical evidence, and the witnesses available, according to Sherman (2013). Collecting the factors makes it easier for the detectives to build on the case as compared to when no evidence had been collected.

They can also encourage the incorporation of the approach by treating the general public involved and the witnesses fairly. If the public feels like they have been treated poorly by the police, it is highly likely that they might not comply with the law enforcement bodies in the current cases as well as in the future. The police officers are expected to behave professionally and respectfully even when they are arresting an offender to improve the legitimacy of the police in the eyes of the citizens, which is a critical component that the police should work to maintain.

Challenges of evidence-based policing approach

The tailored strategies of the evidence-based policing approach can be so effective in curbing crime as compared to traditional policing, which focuses on patrols, responding to 911, making arrests, and responding to a case based on the evidence at hand. However, the approach is also faced by several challenges that work against its way of policing.

The 911 system is more reactive and a response alone approach to policing and emphasizes responding to calls to be more evidence-based instead of preventing strategies that can reduce calls for service provision. Besides, training in police academies overemphasizes the need for having procedures when dealing with criminal cases, which might also emphasize the approach instead of dealing with the evidence at hand. Moreover, unlike the evidence-based policing approach, the traditional policing does not limit the police officers from getting out of the car to conduct patrols, have interactions with the public or conduct field interviews (Sherman, 2013). It, therefore, makes it hard for the police officers to access places that are hard to reach and to improve their interactions with the public.

Sherman’s issue of 2018 also points out that the evidence-based approach recognizes the hierarchical order of the police officers in terms of rank. Peer pressure can, therefore, discourage a junior officer from doing something that the seniors would not approve. Policing supervisions also focus most on adherence to the procedures, and the police who follow the procedure to the letter are rewarded. Consequently, the approach limits the execution of a plan that would have been successful if the police officer fails to follow the plan. Senior officers may also constantly encourage the evidence-based approach and discourage innovation simply because it does not follow procedure.

Also, there may not be enough crime analysis documents available to ake the officers have a better understanding of the crimes, the offenders, and the location of the crimes, according to Laycock (2012). As a result, it becomes difficult for a police officer who has been using the evidence-based approach to be innovative quickly to know how they can best deal with the crime. Finally, there is the perspective of the police officers that experience is more effective as compared to the research information done and written by criminologists, as stated by Bueermann (2012). However, Telep & Lum (2014) argue that the evidence-based approach is effective only if its leveraged with the real-life experiences that an officer has had. None of the approaches is independent on its own; it has to incorporate the other approach’s components.

In conclusion, an evidence-based policing approach is an effective way of ending crime. The challenges can be overcome if the police are openminded and fully incorporate problem-oriented and evidence-based approaches to solve crimes.


Bueermann, J. (2012). Being smart on crime with evidence-based policing. NIJ Journal, 269, 12-15.

Laycock, G. (2012). In support of evidence-based approaches: a response to Lum and Kennedy. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 6(4), 324-326.

Lum, C. M., & Koper, C. S. (2017). Evidence-based policing: Translating research into practice. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Sherman, L. W. (2013). The rise of evidence-based policing: Targeting, testing, and tracking. Crime and justice, 42(1), 377-451.

Sherman, L. W. (2018). Evidence-based policing: Social organization of information for social control. In Crime and social organization (pp. 235-266). Routledge.

Telep, C. W., & Lum, C. (2014). The receptivity of officers to empirical research and evidence-based policing: an examination of survey data from three agencies. Police Quarterly, 17(4), 359-385.

Telep, C. W. (2017). Police officer receptivity to research and evidence-based policing: examining variability within and across agencies. Crime & delinquency, 63




Annotated Bibliographies

Shanee’ N. Ellington

Liberty University

Tewksbury, R., Dabney, D. A., & Copes, H. (2010). The Prominence of Qualitative Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice Scholarship. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 21(4), 391-411. doi:10.1080/10511253.2010.516557

This article forms the basis of the discussion by explaining the correlation between quantitative research and criminology whereby the relationship favor’s the criminology concept and process since it is inquisitive by nature. The main variables that are used to support the hypothesis are the number of dissertations presented with a different style of research applied to them. The qualitative research forms the largest contribution to the research process by collecting a variety of related information across the research topic. The two main modes of measurement being tested are the qualitative and quantitative methods which are usually the two major measurement scales used in research. The notion is supported by this mode of research because different disciplines normally apply different approaches to quantitative inquiry.

Gergen, K. J. (2014). Pursuing excellence in qualitative inquiry. Qualitative Psychology, 1(1), 49-60. doi:10.1037/qup0000002.

The author of this article looks into the various orientations that influence the qualitative inquiries’ success rate by reviewing the history of the criteria that was mainly used in measuring the success rate of a certain qualitative inquiry approach. He then discusses how the traditional criteria have been widely used to evaluate the modern qualitative approaches which he looks at from different types of qualitative approach methods. From the analysis of the various contemporary orientations which lead to the development of various types of inquiries, he is able to consider five proposed mode of qualitative inquiries which include ethnography, narrative, phenomenological, grounded theory and also case study. This provision sets the basis for the discussion of the various types of inquiries which is then compared to the analysis of their effective use and impact within the criminal justice systems for example in the article below from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) which looks into the most common types of approaches to qualitative inquiries.

Kleck, G., Tark, J., & Bellows, J. J. (2006). What methods are most frequently used in research in criminology and criminal justice? Journal of Criminal Justice, 34(2), 147-152. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2006.01.007

The authors of this article attempted to look at the most commonly used approaches to a quantitative inquiry by establishing research into how frequent the modes used in qualitative methods of research in criminal justice-related journals are applied in research. Survey research, which forms one of the elements of phenomenological approaches to a quantitative inquiry was found to be at the center stage of data collection since secondary data occupied only a small percentage as compared to individual approaches such as narrative writing which has been discussed in the book writing Qualitative inquiry. This also provides an outlook on the effectiveness of the use of this method by looking at the percentage use of data collected using those methods of qualitative inquiry.

Goodall Jr, H. L. (2018). Writing Qualitative Inquiry; Self, Stories, and Academic Life (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

This book narrows its focus on the increasing growth of the application of narrative writing when conducting qualitative inquiries. As much as it addresses what it is required for the acquisition of viable data, it can be associated with the most common types of data collection methods used today within the criminal justice system as annotated in the article in International Justice of Law Crime and Justice. It also describes the best practices that ought to be followed in ensuring success with the use of the qualitative approach method. The various importance of the proper articulation of the process is also discussed with an evaluation of how to make sure that the process is effective enough being provided. This is facilitated through the provision of properly crafted and directed questions.

Barrera, D. J. (2019). Narrative criminal justice. International Journal of Law, Crime, and Justice. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334017565_Narrative_criminal_justice

The article from the International Journal of law crime and justice expounds more on the importance of the narrative approaches within the criminal justice system. According to the analysis of several secondary resources, relationships between the actions are exhibited in the way they affect each other in that narratives have to be compatible with the actions that lead to an event while actions have also to be in line with the narrative provided. This provision goes as far as affecting decisions made in regards to the judgments and other decisions made when administering justice. Evidence is found within the various examples such as Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy on narrative and decision making. All the examples are meant to provide a clear explanation of how the inquiry approach is so relevant within the criminal justice system. This approach is normally different from the others in the use of a narrative to explain a story that normally has a huge impact on providing insights that happened as opposed to the theoretical framework of doing research.

Lopez, V. A., & Emmer, E. T. (2000). Adolescent Male Offenders: A Grounded Theory Study of Cognition, Emotion, and Delinquent Crime Contexts. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 27(3), 292-311. doi:10.1177/0093854800027003002

The article provides a clear outlook of how the criminal justice system formulates theories to explain certain criminal behavior, for example, delinquent behavior. The data used is derived from a survey of a number of young offenders whereby they classified the crimes according to their level and nature of the assault. The divided groupings then provided a pattern in regards to how they are connected emotionally since it was one of the most influential factors that affected everyone who was found on the wrong. They also found the importance of the understanding brought about by explaining the delinquent actions to the administrators as well as the general public when it comes to decisions on how to address the young offenders. However, the main emphasis in the article is the three crime contexts which include emotion-driven violent assaults, mixed motives, and belief-driven driven results. The subgroupings facilitate the differentiation process between the factors that drive the delinquents to commit the crime.

Reeves, S., Peller, J., Goldman, J., & Kitto, S. (2013). Ethnography in qualitative educational research: AMEE Guide No. 80. Medical Teacher Journal, 35(8). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2013.804977

The use of ethnography is widely discussed in this article which mainly articulates the significance of the importance of having a vast knowledge of the underlying factors such as cultural and religious perspectives of the crime among others. This issue is investigated by looking at it from the medical education context whereby student behaviors are explained and a measure of how they have been impacted by the ethnographic works is also investigated. The nature of its support for naturalism is supported as one of the main attributes of ethnography as a qualitative approach to inquiry. In the criminal justice system, the investigators might try to establish the exact nature of what might have influenced the behaviors of the offenders by relating their immediate social society’s behavior to the crime. It might also be used to relate a person with some motive.

Travis, L. F. (1983). The Case Study in Criminal Justice Research: Applications to Policy Analysis. Criminal Justice Review, 8(2), 46-51. doi:10.1177/073401688300800208

Case studies on the other hand normally form the most basic of all the approaches since the main approach is usually by relating concepts thus forming a generalized but detailed explanation or prediction to something. An example of this application is in the application of case studies to present the study results to the audience in a more tangible manner than can easily be understood. Case studies form one of the most important secondary sources of information since researchers get to gain a lot from the vast range of information according to the article. This is investigated by looking at the fading popularity of the use of case studies within the criminal justice system. As compared to the other Quantitative approaches, this model has the widest use of secondary sources of data which is mainly achieved through either referencing or using surveys to obtain the data.


CJUS 750

Developing Research Questions Instructions

This paper requires you to create research questions based upon the literature review and annotated bibliography research.

1. Think about your current understanding (working theory) of a research issue of interest to you in the criminal justice field (here again is where the previous Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography assignments will help you). What important concepts are part of this research interest and how do they relate? Begin a search of the relevant literature.

2. Develop three to five research questions that help to focus your topic. List possible aspects of the conceptual context that would guide a literature review if you were to do one.

3. Create a research statement (if you have not done so already) and create five to ten open-ended interview questions for your own research project. Pilot the questions with a classmate, asking her or him to pretend that she or he is one of your participants. Work together to reshape the questions. Then pilot the questions with someone who has had experiences similar to your research population or ask the questions of a research participant who is willing to collaborate with you on developing your questions. Reshape the questions again after reflecting upon what worked, what did not, and what new questions arose.

4. Be sure to write down the answers to those questions (you will need them for another upcoming assignment).

Assignment Specifics:

· Develop 3–5 research questions

· Develop 5–10 open-ended interview questions

· Citations from any of the required reading/presentations from the assigned module/week

· APA format

Submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 3.

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