Gathering Research Data

Conducting a research study within the criminal justice system can be a very challenging task because the criminal justice system is highly secretive and sensitive. For example, police officers are not allowed by law to release confidential information to third parties. This makes it difficult to conduct research studies within the system. However, I would argue that use of proper research methods, a research would be able to conduct a research study within the system. In my opinion, the most appropriate research method for investigating the criminal justice system is qualitative research. This is because qualitative research permits active participation of the research subjects, hence credible and reliable information would be easily obtained.

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Goal or Purpose of the Proposed Research

The goal or purpose of the research study would be to determine the impacts of training and development of employees on job satisfaction among police officers. The research study will investigate the relationship between further training and development of employees and the level of job satisfaction amongst police officers in the criminal justice system.

Interview Structure

For my part, the interview structure that I would use during the research study would be one that uses open-ended questions. In my view, open-ended questions would allow the police officers to talk freely about their feelings, perceptions and experiences within the criminal justice system in relation to training and development of workers and job satisfaction amongst them.

Research Questions

Some of the questions that I would ask the participants during the interview include:

  • a) Does your department provide workers with opportunities for further training and development?
  • b) In your opinion, do you prefer internal training programs to external training programs?
  • c) Does your department sponsor police officers who go for further studies and training in institutions of higher learning such as universities?
  • d)Have you gone for any training and development over the last one year?
  • e) To what extend do you think further raining and development of workers is likely to increase job satisfaction amongst police officers within the criminal justice system?
  • f) Do you think further training and development impacts the ability of police officers to execute their duties?
  • g) If further training and development results into increased job satisfaction amongst police officers, do think it also affects other aspects such as promotions and interpersonal relationships amongst police officers at the workplace?
  • h) What challenges do police officers within the criminal justice system face while executing their duties and responsibilities? Do you think further training and development would help the police officers overcome these challenges, thus lead to increased job satisfaction?

In my opinion, these questions will help in collecting data about training and development within the criminal justice system and the presumed impacts on job satisfaction amongst the police officers. The answers obtained would be analyzed thoroughly and conclusions made about the research topic.

Advantages of Qualitative Data-Gathering Strategies

One of the major advantages of qualitative techniques for collecting data is that it permits a detailed and comprehensive assessment of the research subject, for example, participant observations usually allow for in-depth uncovering of the experiences of the police officers. This would provide a clearer understanding of the prevailing situation.

Secondly, qualitative data gathering techniques also focus on small groups of participants. This also permits comprehensive understanding of the research subject. Moreover, use of small sample during research studies also helps in reducing the costs of conducting research. As Lapan, Quartaroli and Riemer assert, use of large sample during research studies is usually costly and requires intensive funding as compared to small sample that require lesser funding.

Thirdly, qualitative data gathering techniques usually focus on small samples of the population; hence providing a deeper understanding of the unique characteristics of the entire population. This also facilitates exhaustive examination and assessment of complex characteristics of the population, for example, the impact of training and development on job satisfaction and interpersonal relationships amongst police officers.

Fourthly, qualitative data gathering techniques usually involve the use of fewer assumptions; thus it is suitable for exploratory research studies. According to Cassell and Symon, qualitative data collection techniques such as interviews often provide the researcher with specific data or information. This helps in finding suitable answers to the research questions.

In my opinion, informed consent is important when conducting a survey research because it helps in increasing the validity and reliability of information gathered during the study. This is because the participants are aware of the purpose of the research study, thus feel free to give reliable information. Informed consent also provides protection to the participants during the research study. It also protects the researcher from the risk of being sued for conducting a research without the consent of the participants.

On the other hand, confidentiality encourages participants to give information voluntarily and freely. Through assurance of confidentiality, participants are able to discuss issues concerning personal believes, values and experiences. This permits collection of firsthand, reliable and accurate information during the study. As Fowler asserts, respondents are likely to give information when they are certain that their confidentiality is secured, and identities would not be exposed. For example, the participants would be encouraged to give information freely and openly on controversial or illegal issues only when their confidentiality and security is guaranteed.

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