Crij 2531

The first step in all research projects is to identify a research topic. A research topic is broad and should be one in which you, the researcher, is intellectually curious about. As mentioned in class, if you do not have a topic of interest to you, you should browse criminal justice and criminology journals for a topic. A research question is an interrogative statement. This simply means that research questions are actual questions, as opposed to statements. Your research question is narrowly focused on an area of your overarching research topic. For instance, a research topic is “corrections” but a research question is “Do educational programs in prisons help reduce recidivism after release for people formally incarcerated for drug crimes?” There are five questions you should ask yourself before developing your research question:

1. Is it feasible?

2. Is it interesting?

3. Does it increase knowledge?

4. Is it too broad?

5. Is it too narrow?

Assignment Directions: In a separate document, state your research topic and research question that you plan to focus on in your research proposal. Think about how your research question addresses the five questions above, doing this will help guide you in writing the introduction section of your proposal. If your research does not address all five questions, you might have to modify it.

If you would like, you can also develop a hypothesis for your research proposal. Recall that a hypothesis is a testable statement about the expected relationship between variables. You do not need to do this but if you are knowledgeable about a topic or theory and have reason (driven by existing theories or past empirical research) to believe that something might directionally influence something else, you might want to develop a hypothesis.

CRIJ 3378: Introduction to Methods of Research Assessment Rubric for Research Proposal: 

Key Assessment Criteria

1. Is the topic broad and related to CJ?

2. Is the research question interrogative, i.e., an actual question? OR Is the hypothesis a testable statement about the expected relationship between variables?

3. Is the proposed research feasible?

4. Is the research question/hypothesis interesting?

5. Will the research question/hypothesis increase knowledge, i.e., has it not been answered before, and does it lay in a relatively unsettled or controversial area of the research?

6. Is the proposed research appropriate and not too broad or too narrow?

Crij 2531

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