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Criminal justice can be conceptualized in many ways, but is largely seen as the study of crime, criminal behavior, and justice system. Criminal justice research has a number of research methods; however, the choice for the research method depends on the research question. According to MVCC (2010), Criminal justice studies encompass law enforcement, criminal courts, prisons, and crime victims. In addition, an interdisciplinary discipline entails sociology, politics, psychology, and law. In criminal justice research studies and survey, the questions of research are categorized into four as descriptive, exploratory, explanatory, and evaluative.
Purpose of the Research
The research proposal of this paper, and therefore the purpose, is finding the patterns and the extent to which police officers observe human rights in their line of duty. In trying to pursue this, the research will entail interviews in a bid to gather relevant data concerning the subject.
Type of interview Structure and why
The Interview Structure will be in two: One, a profile questionnaire that has records concerning police dealings with the public and their observance on human rights standards as they go about their duties, which will be sent to various organizations, state departments and other criminal tailored organizations. These will include, Federal, State and Local Governments, Non-Profit making organizations especially those that focus on human rights.
Secondly, there will be interview schedule and questionnaire that will be aimed at capturing information based on the trends in academic publications, news, as well as public opinion.
Likely questions to ask
The questions in the profile questionnaire would include the following.
- Have you any records that show deaths, abuse or torture or extra-judicial killings of innocent citizens by the police?
- In your opinion, do you think the police are observing the law in handling crimes?
- To what extent is the police training concomitant with the observance of human rights standards?
- What is your opinion regarding government handling of terrorist aspects?
While addressing these questions, participant observation will form the basis of collecting key data. This will directly relate with police officers and victims of possible human rights abuses in the hands of police officers.
Piquero and Piquero (1997) argue that descriptive research deals with the description and definition of the social phenomenon, which is being investigated. Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2001) contends that this kind of research method does not fall into qualitative or quantitative category of research methodologies, and reckons that it uses both of them within the same study (Piquero and Piquero, 1997).
Overall, descriptive studies encompass research question, design, and data analysis applied to a defined topic. Often times, he adds that descriptive statistics tell what is, while inferential statistics try to determine the causes and effects of a particular finding.
In descriptive studies, the centrality of focus is in the type of question being asked in the research and if the question will form the basis of, and forestall, assessment. This question must be relevant to the need for investigation and must form the basis for organizing the observation process. A good question as mentioned earlier would be to what extent are the police officers observing human rights in line of their duties (Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 2001).
In descriptive studies, the research can be qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative information can be collected and tabulated numerically, or it can involve description of data such as patterns in a situation. They assert that descriptive research entails gathering of information. Once the data is gathered, it is organized, tabulated, depicted, and described in a manner that conforms to data collection. In tabulation, it employs the use of charts, graphs with a view to enhancing the readers understanding and faster grasp of the information description that the researcher presents. (Piquero and Piquero, 1997)
Accordingly, they observe that due to the fact that the human mind doesn’t extract the full import of a large mass of raw data,’ descriptive statistics then become very instrumental in condensing the data to manageable form. He proceeds to observe that in a case where there are deeper narrative descriptions, the researcher employs the use of descriptions as a measure of retooling in order to present data into patterns emerging during analysis. The advantage of doing this is that such patterns help the reader to conceptualize the qualitative study and what it represents (Piquero and Piquero, 1997).
While addressing the interview research questions, participants’ observation will form the basis of collecting key data. This will directly relate with police officers and victims of possible human rights abuses in the hands of police officers. Specifically, participant observational research will be key, and this may involve observing the police officers as they go about their duties.
ECT (2001) observes that this kind of method is instrumental since it gives accounts of natural behavior of individuals or groups in a particular setting. In addition, unless the observations are ‘unobtrusive’, there may be some subject reactivity to being observed. Accordingly, this has the tendency to systematically increase as time elapses. Here, it is advisable for the researcher to have a checklist of questions as he observes and may often employ time or event sampling procedures. However, there is caution that it is imperative that the investigator avoids observer likely biases by use of interobsever reliability (Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 2001).
On the other hand, participant observations have ethical dilemmas such as those that arise because of observing behaviors, which are not public behaviors. In this case, informed consent is one of the most important aspects in research projects. However, a research report may be declared illegal and unreliable if someone is interviewed without giving consent. Accordingly, informed consent is something that was formed to protect participants. The other advantage of informed consent is that it forms an opportunity for the individuals to be informed and given valuable information regarding the study. For instance, in a case where volunteers have questions, then the researcher must take time to respond to their concerns.
Crow et al (2007) observe that one of the approaches in the ethical issue of consent is the Principle Based Approach, which involves four sub-issues. These include, autonomy meaning that people must be free to make their own decisions based on having right information and deciding if or if not to participate in research. The second is non-malfeasance, which implies that research, must not inflict whatever pain or harm. In addition, there is beneficence, which means that any research undertaking should benefit others. Lastly, there is justice, which implies that people must be treated equally within research process.
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