Policing and Offender Management in Canada

Project Title: Policing and Offender Management in Canada                                       

Term: Summer 2016

Supervisor: Dr. Dale Spencer                                                                                       

Unit: Law and Legal Studies

Description of project: This research project examines how “prolific offenders” are managed by police service organizations across Canada. This project aims to understand how the term ‘prolific’ is applied across provinces by police services. Students participating in this project will work with qualitative research data collected across police service organizations in Canada. 

Number of students required: 3 

Research duties:

  • Transcription
  • Workshop participation
  • Literature Reviews
  • QSR Nvivo Qualitative Data Analysis

Learning and reflection activities:

QSR Nvivo Workshops: Through a series of four 1-hour workshops in the first half of the semester, students will learn how to use QSR Nvivo qualitative data analysis software. Students will learn how to interpret and code rich text-based interview and focus group files.

QSR Nvivo Qualitative Data Analysis Assignments: In the first assignment, after gaining familiarity with lay out of QSR Nvivo through workshops, students will be required to set up a project, importing transcripts into Nvivo, begin coding interview and focus group transcripts into descriptive nodes. In the second assignment, students will be required to display material under nodes, manage nodes (parent-child relationships between nodes), create memos, attach memos to nodes, and export nodes from Nvivo. Students will also have to create their own thematic maps to make sense of the data.

Literature Review Assignment: This assignment will involve a review of the literature directly related to offender management. The student will identify “gaps” in previous research on the topic. The purpose of the literature review is for students to know what other scholars have discussed in relation to offender management and to the ground the study in a particular context. The purpose of this assignment is to facilitate the student’s abilities to research a topic of study so they can learn to: (1) identify and formulate an inquiry question that defines what you’d like to learn, (2) know how to search and locate literature (eg. Journal articles) using library and Internet resources; (3) analyze information found in academic journal articles, and (4) synthesize new knowledge into a written literature review and (5) establish context for your inquiries.

Critical Reflections Report: The critical reflection report offers students the opportunity to reflect on how the findings from the project and qualitative data analysis speak to the existing literature on prolific offenders. Students will be encouraged to explore their own ideas about the data, to express their views on the findings. This critical reflection assignment will improve student’s analytical skills because will require students to express what they think, and more significantly, how and why they think that way.

Learning outcomes:  

  • Learn how to analyze qualitative data
  • Learn how to use QSR Nvivo Qualitative Research Software
  • Gain experience working on a research team
  • Learn how to conduct literature reviews

Evaluation Criteria:  

QSR Nvivo Workshop Attendance – 20% – (Continuous)

QSR Nvivo Qualitative Data Analysis Assignments– 15% X 2 =30%

Due: June 17th & July 8th

Literature review Assignment – 25%

Due: July 29th

Critical Reflections Report – 25%

Due: August 16th

Skills or knowledge required: Excellent writing and analytical skills and academic background in criminology, law, and criminal justice.

Any required health and safety training: NA

Other considerations: In working with confidential interview and focus group data, students will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Application instructions:

Participants are selected on the basis of merit and fit with the research project. Please submit a CV, transcript, and cover letter indicating why you are interested in and qualified for this research experience to the undergraduate administrator of the unit listed above. The application deadline is normally April 30th (for IPAF 4900 opportunities in the summer or fall term), August 15th (for fall and winter term opportunities) and November 15th (to take IPAF 4900 in the winter or summer term).  Only students with a GPA of 9.5 or higher and at least third year honours standing will be considered.