Police training and culture – Improved police training offers the best way to address police misconduct. Do you agree?
Due date: Friday 22nd May
The research essay is the major piece of work for the semester. Students are required to select one of five research questions, conduct in-depth research and construct a well framed, critical argument. Essays should be well supported by scholarly research and interact with relevant policing theories.
• Police history – Australian policing remains strongly influenced by our colonial history. Do you think this is true?
• Police training and culture – Improved police training offers the best way to address police misconduct. Do you agree?
• Policing strategies – Zero tolerance policing is often spoken of by politicians and media commentators as a favourable strategy in reducing crime. Why is this and does scholarly research support such claims?
• Weapons and the use of force – Electronic stun devices and other ‘less-lethal’ weapons are marketed as offering unmitigated benefits to both police and public safety. Are these claims valid? What are the problems associated with the use of these devices?
• Corruption and accountability – Why are drug squads regularly implicated in instances of corruption? What can police leaders do to reduce the risk of corruption in these units?
Things to keep in mind:
• Take the time to plan properly. A 2000 word essay is a substantial piece of writing but, once you break it up into components pieces, it is less space than you might think. Paragraphs should generally be around 150 words, meaning that 13-14 paragraphs will make up the whole essay.
• Back up your claims with research. This means not only making a claim and but also supporting that claim with evidence (i.e. references to scholarly sources). Good essays are well supported by research. Aim to include 2-3 references in each paragraph in the body of your essay.
• Discuss and explain relevant policing theories and concepts. This means not just describing the specifics of individual case studies or events, but linking them to broader ideas (e.g. colonial policing, broken windows theory, etc.).
• Reflect critically on the ideas you are writing about. This means not just describing things but also weighing up arguments and different points of view and pointing out associated strengths and limitations.
• Start writing early. A 2000 word essay takes time to put together and you may find that your approach changes as you conduct your research.
• Use appropriate sources, particularly peer-reviewed articles and books. You may use other sources to provide supporting information (e.g. the ABS or BOCSAR sites for crime statistics). Include at least 8 references in your research essay. This is a minimum requirement – higher grades will likely have more than this.
• Note that this is a research exercise – as such you may use references from the set reading list and course textbook but these will not count towards the minimum 8 references required.
• Do not use non-scholarly sources, e.g. random websites, Wikipedia, etc. Also remember that this is a research essay – we want to see how well you can find your own information. This means we want to see referencing beyond the resources that we have given to you (i.e. your course textbook and required readings).
• Reference properly. The required referencing style is SAGE Harvard, the same as for your paper summary.
• Discuss your essay plan and any potential problematic issues with your tutor. They can provide you with specific advice about your chosen topic and theory, and advise you on the best approaches to take.
• Read the rubric! It contains all of the information that will be used by markers to assess your work.