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Criminal justice research deals with practices of promoting and upholding social control, fighting crime, conducting investigations, dispensing penalties, and overseeing rehabilitation efforts. Criminal justice also occupies itself with studying the correlations between many factors that affect societies, individuals, and crime rates (“Criminology and criminal justice research,” 2016). There are plenty of possible topics for applied research studies in criminal justice. This paper is going to outline three problems that could be investigated within the scope of dedicated research, along with independent and dependent variables that would play a role in it. Dependent variables are variables that are investigated in the research. Typically, they can be measured in numbers. Independent variables, on the other hand, are factors that may influence the dependent variables positively or negatively.
Racial Hate Crimes
Hate crimes have always been a problem in the USA (Brandl, 2000). The recent events around the world and within the country have sparked unwarranted hostilities between representatives of different races. The research could be dedicated to analyzing racial hate crime rates in a particular location and developing measures to counteract and prevent them.
Dependent variables: Number of racial hate crimes committed in a locality per year, the number of fatalities associated with racial hate crimes, the total population of the locality, racial disparity within the locality.
Independent variables: economic stability of the locality, employment, and unemployment rates, social and law enforcement services, quality, and availability of higher education.
Despite the War on Drugs being fought in the US for several decades now, the problem of substance abuse remains a very heated topic (Brandl, 2000). As it stands, the majority of drug-related charges have to do with light drug abuse such as marijuana. It is said that marijuana is a gateway to heavier drugs. The basis for criminal justice research could be a study that compares the numbers of recorded light drug abusers to heavy drug abusers and they’re dynamic.
Dependent variables: number of recorded light drug abusers within a locality, the number of recorded heavy drug abusers within a locality.
Independent variables: economic and social stability of the locality, presence or lack of available medical and social support and rehabilitation facilities, efficiency of the local law enforcement agencies.
Domestic violence remains among some of the most underreported crimes in the US (Brandl, 2000). One of the main arguments used by the victims of domestic violence for not reporting the assaults against them is that the interference of law enforcement would only make things worse. A study could investigate the matter, to determine the influence of police interference on domestic violence escalation.
Dependent variables: Number of overall domestic violence fatalities, the number of domestic violence fatalities that happened after law enforcement interference.
Independent variables: Other reasons that caused particular domestic violence fatalities. In this scenario, interference of law enforcement is just one of many possible independent variables.
These three problems, outlined above, could make a good basis for substantial criminal justice research. Data about crime rates, the number of reported and solved crimes, and victims narrowed down to every state and locality is readily available in the annual FBI and police reports (“Uniform crime reporting,” 2017). Analyzing the available data and giving answers to the questions listed below would provide a fresh and well-studied perspective with plenty of theoretical and practical value.
Brandl, L. (2000). Voices from the field: Readings in criminal justice research. (1st ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Uniform crime reporting. (2017). Web.