Purpose of the Assignment
The purpose of this assignment is to teach students how to apply what they have learned in class, to critically analyze the strengths and limitations of research and to explore ways to improve research by evaluating a published research paper. The assignment will accomplish several learning outcomes outlined in the syllabus, including:
1. A working knowledge of the basics of social scientific research methods as applicable in the field of criminal justice
2. A basic understanding of a variety of different types of qualitative and quantitative research methods and the strengths and weaknesses of these different types of research methods
3. The ability to identify research hypothesis with an independent and dependent variable
4. The ability to identify the operationalization of concepts and variables
5. A working knowledge of the different levels of measurement
6. The ability to identify obvious flaws in a research design/project
7. An awareness of the importance of central issues in research methods such as validity, reliability, and probability sampling
8. The ability to distinguish between methodologically sound and heavily biased social scientific research methods/projects
In addition, because completing the assignment requires students to look up information that will be on the cumulative final, completing the assignments will help students prepare for the test.
1. Read and understand the information in the textbook, the PowerPoint files, and your notes.
2. Read Barboza (2012) and complete the relevant questions below
3. Write each answer using the essay format – see http://libweb.surrey.ac.uk/library/skills/writing%20Skills%20Leicester/page_01.htm
4. Bring the completed assignment to class on the due date found on the syllabus.
How the Assignment will be graded.
The answers will be graded on whether they were written in the proper format, the accuracy of the answers and comprehensiveness of the answers. By comprehension, I mean, all of the elements or aspects of each question should be discussed fully. For example, if one of the studies lists 5 hypotheses, and you choose to write about only 1, your answer is not comprehensive.
Please see http://libweb.surrey.ac.uk/library/skills/writing%20Skills%20Leicester/page_01.htm
One or two sentence answers:A sentence or two is a statementnot an essay. Essays questions must have an introduction sentence that repeats the question, is at least a paragraph lone, provides evidence, and a conclusion.
No Handwriting: Students should type in the answers using MS Word or something similar. Written answers will not be accepted.
No Quoting: Put it in your own words, or paraphrase. I do not like quotes, and tend to mark off when I see a quotation that could have been paraphrased. The general rule is that quotes should be used only when the language is distinctive enough to enhance your point or when paraphrasing would lessen the impact of the quoted statement. You may want to avoid quoting altogether, however, if you must quote, quotes should only contain those words necessary to make your point – don’t over-quote. Using too many quotes suggests that you merely pasted together passages from the source without thoroughly understanding them. Assignments that are string quoted will receive a zero.
Use English Grammar and Proper spelling: I expect to see answers written with full sentences with correctly spelled words and proper grammar. Do not list. Do not bullet.
No Cheating: I expect that some students will work together, or collaborate. That is okay! However, the work that you turn in must be your own. Two or more assignments that are identical (word for word or nearly word for word) will receive a 0. No exceptions!
Definition of Terms
Essay term Definition
Analyse Break an issue into its constituent parts. Look in depth at each part using supporting arguments and evidence for and against as well as how these interrelate to one another.
Assess Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research [your book] but also remember to point out any flaws and counter-arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.
Clarify Literally make something clearer and, where appropriate, simplify it. This could involve, for example, explaining in simpler terms a complex process or theory, or the relationship between two variables.
Comment upon Pick out the main points on a subject and give your opinion, reinforcing your point of view using logic and reference to relevant evidence, including any wider reading you have done.
Compare Identify the similarities and differences between two or more phenomena. Say if any of the shared similarities or differences are more important than others. ‘Compare’ and ‘contrast’ will often feature together in an essay question.
Consider Say what you think and have observed about something. Back up your comments using appropriate evidence from external sources [the book], or your own experience. Include any views which are contrary to your own and how they relate to what you originally thought.
Contrast Similar to compare but concentrate on the dissimilarities between two or more phenomena, or what sets them apart. Point out any differences which are particularly significant.
Critically evaluate Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice.
Define To give in precise terms the meaning of something. Bring to attention any problems posed with the definition and different interpretations that may exist.
Demonstrate Show how, with examples to illustrate.
Describe Provide a detailed explanation as to how and why something happens.
Discuss Essentially this is a written debate where you are using your skill at reasoning, backed up by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of a given context. Remember to arrive at a conclusion.
Elaborate To give in more detail, provide more information on.
Evaluate See the explanation for ‘critically evaluate’.
Examine Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding a topic. This should be a critical evaluation and you should try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues you have identified are the most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.
Explain Clarify a topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurs, or what is meant by the use of this term in a particular context. Your writing should have clarity so that complex procedures or sequences of events can be understood, defining key terms where appropriate, and be substantiated with relevant research.
Explore Adopt a questioning approach and consider a variety of different viewpoints. Where possible reconcile opposing views by presenting a final line of argument.
Give an account of Means give a detailed description of something. Not to be confused with ‘account for’ which asks you not only what, but why something happened.
Identify Determine what are the key points to be addressed and implications thereof.
Illustrate A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.
Interpret Demonstrate your understanding of an issue or topic. This can be the use of particular terminology by an author, or what the findings from a piece of research suggest to you. In the latter instance, comment on any significant patterns and causal relationships.
Justify Make a case by providing a body of evidence to support your ideas and points of view. In order to present a balanced argument, consider opinions which may run contrary to your own before stating your conclusion.
Outline Convey the main points placing emphasis on global structures and interrelationships rather than minute detail.
Review Look thoroughly into a subject. This should be a critical assessment and not merely descriptive.
Show how Present, in a logical order, and with reference to relevant evidence the stages and combination of factors that give rise to something.
State To specify in clear terms the key aspects pertaining to a topic without being overly descriptive. Refer to evidence and examples where appropriate.
Summarise Give a condensed version drawing out the main facts and omit superfluous information. Brief or general examples will normally suffice for this kind of answer.
To what extent Evokes a similar response to questions containing ‘How far…’. This type of question calls for a thorough assessment of the evidence in presenting your argument. Explore alternative explanations where they exist.
Modified from: http://libweb.surrey.ac.uk/library/skills/writing%20Skills%20Leicester/page_01.htm
1 Did the author(s) study the entire population or did they sample Explain. If a sampling technique was used, please identify and describe the method.
2 Please identify the strengths and weaknesses in the sampling technique used by the researchers. Explain the limitations. Describe, under perfect conditions, how you would eliminate the limitations.
3 What were all the independent and dependent variables Describe, in detail, was each variable operationalized Identify at least one independent variable you would have added, if you had the opportunity. How would you have operationalized the variable
Group consciousness, identity
and perceptions of unfair
police treatment among
Gia Elise Barboza
Department of African American Studies, Northeastern University,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
– The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between global and specific
attitudes of unfair police treatment towards Mexican Americans and how attitudes towards the police
vary with socio-demographic characteristics, victim status, linguistic barriers, group consciousness
and socially disorganized contexts.
– Data from the 2006 National Latino Survey, which is a
representative random sample of 1,815 self-identified persons of Mexican-origin born in the USA
were used to investigate three research questions: What is the prevalence in which Mexican-
Americans claim to be treated unfairly by the police ; What is the prevalence in which
Mexican-Americans perceive unfair treatment toward their ethnic group ; and Do cultural factors
and/or heightened group consciousness and identity contribute to Mexican-Americans perceptions of
either specific or more generalized unfair police treatment A structural equation model was
developed to explore the relationship between global and specific measures of unfair police treatment
and variables measuring socio-demographic and linguistic characteristics, as well as socially
disorganized contexts, group consciousness and identity.
– Mexican-Americans residing in socially disorganized contexts are significantly more
likely to have positive global assessments of the police. The relationship between both social
disorganization and specific and global attitudes was statistically significant. Individuals who have a
strong sense of linked fate, possess a shared sense of common purpose and interest, and identify
strongly with their ethnic group are significantly more likely to perceive that the police treat their
– The current investigation is limited by the nature of the data,
which is based wholly on self-report. In addition, while the frequency and nature of police contact
plays a role in influencing negative perceptions of police encounters, it was not possible to assess those
influences here. Finally, the current analysis is limited by the cross-sectional nature of the data and no
inferences regarding causality can be made.
– This study has implications for the legitimacy of the criminal justice
system and will help criminal justice actors understand the broader implications of police-citizen
– The paper shows how social interactions are affected by group membership.
– No study to date explores the relationship between group-based identity, group
consciousness and perceptions of unfair treatment by the police. These studies are usually limited to
the political science literature.
United States of America, Ethnic groups, Citizen complaints, Police, Citizen satisfaction,
Discrimination, Legitimacy, Public perceptions, Quality of policing
Since the 1960s, immigration totals have increased, due in large part to the
liberalization of restrictive and discriminatory immigration laws. In 1970, only 5
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 13 January 2011
Revised 13 June 2011
Accepted 7 July 2011
Policing: An International Journal of
Police Strategies & Management
Vol. 35 No. 3, 2012
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
percent of the population was Hispanic; by 1990, Latinos comprised 9 percent of the
US population. Currently, approximately 40 million Latinos reside in the USA, 12
percent of whom are foreign born. Latinos are projected to comprise roughly 25 percent
of the total American population by 2050 and are projected to be the majority
demographic group in several states (US Census Bureau, Population Projection
Division, 2004). Driven largely by waves of these “new” immigrants, the Latino
population has soared since 1990, reaching parity with African-Americans as the
largest “minority” group. Today, the overwhelming majority of immigrants arriving
in the US originate from either Mexico or Asia (61 percent) rather than Europe
(12 percent), in contrast to the mass migration that took place in the early 1900s when
most migrants were of European descent (Wong, 2000). As a consequence, individuals
of Mexican origin are the largest Latino subgroup currently residing in the USA.
Not only are contemporary immigrants growing in number, they are becoming
a more visible part of American institutions. Rising levels of immigration coupled
with an image of these newcomers as “non-white” has had major consequences in
particular for US legal and criminal justice systems. For example, in order to solve the
“problem” of illegal immigration, local law enforcement officials are increasingly using
the criminal justice apparatus to enforce federal immigration laws – a strategy that has
been coined the “criminalization of immigration” (Barboza, 2009). As a consequence,
the police have at their disposal the same tools they use to apprehend criminals,
however, because immigration proceedings are civil and not criminal in nature, the
same due process rights have not attached. Adding fuel to the fire is the unconscious
or semi-conscious nexus between immigration, immigrants and crime in this country
whereby race and ethnicity is reflexively linked to certain groups who become police
targets. In order to articulate a more sound, just and compassionate immigration
policy, scholars and policymakers alike have increasingly turned their attention to
issues related to race, crime and justice in the Latino community. Nonetheless, only
a dearth of studies currently exist that seek to explore the evaluations that Latinos,
particularly those of Mexican descent, give to police performance. This omission, due
mainly to data limitations, is even more troublesome given the increasing frequency in
which immigrants interact with immigration authorities, who sometimes operate
with police officials to locate and apprehend undocumented workers (Menji
Bejarano, 2004). The consequences for Latino-police relations may extend beyond
personal experience if individuals come to believe that some individuals of the group
are being disproportionately targeted and hence that group-based discrimination is a
widespread phenomenon. Importantly, these perceptions may become salient whether
or not individuals have themselves been the direct target of discrimination (e.g. legal
residents). Little to nothing is currently known about either the relationship between
specific and global assessments of police treatment or the processes by which US-born
Mexicans acquire them. Accordingly, the current investigation explores the
relationship between global and specific attitudes of unfair treatment by the police
and how these attitudes vary with sociodemographic characteristics, victim status,
linguistic barriers, group consciousness and socially disorganized contexts.
Review of research
One of the most important issues in American policing is conflict between police and
racial minorities (Herbst and Walker, 2001; Skolnick and Fyfe, 1993). Consequently,
a large body of literature has focussed on racial/ethnic differences in perceptions of
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