Sample Research Proposal On Criminal Law
Statistical Test Proposal
Enabling accuracy in research findings requires the appropriate use of statistical tools to synthesize the collected data. For this problem oriented policing field test study, the chosen approach is the mixed methodology, which encompasses the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. As such, the use of statistical tools is essential in drawing out the findings of the POP field test study. Descriptive statistics will be the primary tool to use in interpreting the gathered data.
Definition of Descriptive Statistics
In descriptive statistics, it is important to reduce the large amount of data into a more manageable size that the readers can easily digest. The proposed statistical approach is typically in research that utilizes both the qualitative and the quantitative approach. Descriptive statistics constitutes the summary of the quantifiable data where the large data represented by numerical values are being reduced to smaller numbers (Given, 2008). There are several examples of descriptive statistics that can be used singularly or in combination. The examples include mean, median, frequencies, and standard deviation. The resulting numbers from the aforementioned descriptive statistics tool are considered as the summary of how the variables appears to be distributed and analyzed by means of distinguishing variances. Meanwhile, the analysis of variance can be done using ANNOVA, t-Test, Chi-square, and or Pearson’s product correlation (Chaumba, 2013).
The proposed statistical method entails three specific approaches to measurement such as the measure of variability, central tendency, measures of relationship, and relative position. In measures of tendency, the results are being grouped according to the average values while the measures of variability determine how the scores are spreading across the variables. Consequently, comparing the participant’s performance can be measured through relative position while the measure of relationships is more applicable in the degree of how the scores of the variables are related.
Applying the described concepts into the field study design encompasses the primary steps in determining the variables. It can be recalled that the problem oriented policing (POP) program is the subject of exploration in this field test study. As such, the processes involved in data gathering are divided into two categories. The first set of data was gathered through field observations, which represents the qualitative method. The second set of data will be collected through a survey and short interview questionnaire, which will represent the quantitative aspect of the study. The responses will be group according to relevance and with the use of Likert Scale; the response will be measured according to the participant’s preferences. After which, the Likert-scale scores will be measured using the aforementioned statistical methods. The advantage of using the Likert-Scale is to quantify the obtained results to further understand the participants’ varying perception about the certain issues presented in the study (Simon and Goes, 2013).
Descriptive Statistics Tool
The most common software tool in drawing statistical data is SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). It was made commercially available after IBM acquired it in 2009 (ssc.wisc.edu, 2011). There are other alternatives for SPSS depending on the operating system of the computer that the researcher is using. However, the downside of using SPSS is its wide-availability because the software is proprietary and the cost of acquiring a software package is too expensive for an average researcher particularly students. Fortunately, alternatives can used such as StaPlus, which is an open source plug in for Excel users of both Windows and Mac OSX.
Going back to the utilization of the statistical tools for the field test study, the aforementioned software will be used to determine the frequency command. The function enables the determination of central tendencies (mean and median), quartiles, and percentiles. In addition, the frequency command also determines the measure of dispersion by drawing out the standard deviation, minimum and maximum, variance, skewness, and kurtosis. The resulting values can be also observed from the histogram provided by the frequency command function. In addition, the measure of central tendency is the most convenient approach in describing attained average score of the participants. Using the central tendency measurement, the median will be extracted after the all the scores have been organized from highest to lowest. The point in which the median can be determined is to look at the above and below scores or 50% of overall scores. Assuming that the scores obtained from the interview and questionnaire were arranged in a descending order, if the scores showed odd numbers, the middle value will be considered as the median point.
It is important to remember that median and mean is not the same. The mean score is the numerical representation of the middle point or the average value of all scores by adding all values divided by the number of factors. The mean is normally the most widely used mathematical method in determining central tendency. In cases where the participants’ scores are in extreme, the median approach will render the most accurate results. Instead, the mean method will be employed to determine the above and below scores. For the field-test study, the mean and median approach to find central tendency area critical in determining the dominant responses. For example, if ten police officers were asked to rate the effectiveness of their on-going problem oriented policing and the results showed a variation of scores, the majority perceptions of the ten police officers will be determined by getting the mean score.
Measures of Variability
Although the central tendency measurement is a useful tool in describing the statistical data, it is still not efficient enough to draw out compelling findings. Variability measures can fill in the sufficiency gap of the central tendency measure by plotting two sets of data. For example;
Set A: 75 75 79 80 83 83 83
Set B: 60 65 74 80 88 92 95
It is apparent that the median score for the given set of data is 80. However, the values indicated in Set A is different from the values indicated in Set B. The first set shows the probability of tightly clustered mean scores while the second set is more spread out. Therefore, the scores are encompassing variation where Set B shows variability. Looking at the example, the scores in Set B have to be measured to determine how spread out the scores is and the amount of variability. This is when the other functions of descriptive statistics will become useful. Among the several other approaches in variability measurement, standard deviation is considerably the most widely used. However, the standard deviation is only appropriate when measuring the variability of the ordinal data.
In terms of measures of central tendency, it can be used for both the ordinal and nominal data as an appropriate variability measurement. Even with standard deviation as the commonly preferred index for data, the central tendency encompasses can be used with ratio and interval data, which makes it more suitable for the chosen statistical approach in synthesizing the data for the field test study. In addition, the field test of the problem oriented policing in Detroit, Michigan can be understood clearly with the use of the described statistical measures. Lastly, the chosen methodological approach for this study entails both the quantitative and qualitative methods where descriptive statistics can potentially draw out the most relevant findings.
Chaumba, J. (2013). The use and value of mixed methods research in social work.Advances in Social Work, 14(2), 307-333.
In Given, L. M. (2008). The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Simon, M. K., & Goes, J. (2006). Dissertation and scholarly research: Recipes for success; a practical guide to start and complete your dissertation, thesis, or formal research project (2013 ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co.
Ssc.wisc.edu. (2011, November 5). SPSS Statistics for Students: The Basics. Retrieved from https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/sscc/pubs/spss_students1.htm
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