There is a growing campaign in the country inspired by the Black Lives Matter
social movement for governments – local, state, and federal — to make significant
changes in policing to end police violence against civilians. Activists in the city of
Oakland, for example, are engaged in this effort. One reform being sought by
movement activists is this:
Police officers should be trained to address their racial biases.
In this assignment you will imagine and write up a research plan describing how you
would do a study on the reform idea stated above– just the plan, no data collection
For starters, keep the following overall guidelines in mind:
• Come up with a specific research question to investigate in your imagined project.
• Choose and focus on one (or two, if you wish) of the six research methods described
in Chapter 2 that you would like to use to investigate your research question.
• Then, keeping in mind the seven steps in research framework in Figure 2.1 (Page
40) you will explain how you plan to apply that method to carry out your study.
[Ultimately, this kind of research can help city administrators decide how they could
restructure policing in the city by instituting the reform above in order to end police
• Listen to my audio recording with my sample of how I would do a research plan to
conduct a study on the effects of cops shows on viewers’ attitudes towards police
violence. Check Modules in Canvas for the Zoom link to this audio recording.
How to proceed:
1. Re-read Chapter 2 in the textbook on research methods in sociology. [For
clarification of the research terms and methods, you may listen to my Zoom
audio recording on the topic [Chapter 2].
2. View the mini-mini video by sociologist Dalton Conley on how to compose a
manageable research question by narrowing it down at:
https://vimeo.com/148357315. Of course, your topic will be policing reforms.
3. Write your research plan to do a study on the effects of racial bias awareness
training (independent variable) on police violence (dependent variable) in your
city by following the seven steps in Figure 2.1 (Page 40 in the textbook).
Note: Your Research Question: What major research question will you ask using the
two variables: police violence and racial bias awareness training? Make it a narrow one
so you can have a manageable study, as recommended in the mini-mini video by Dalton
You can select only one form of police violence — or two — that you would like to study,
e.g. death, serious physical injury, etc. of civilians.
About MY EXAMPLE in the audio recording: Say, I’m doing a study on the possible
effects on viewers of cop shows on television (e.g. ‘Cops’, ‘Law and Order’, ‘NCIS’,
etc.). My research question could be on one possible effect: Do cop shows
(independent variable) lead viewers to perceive police officers as heroes – as
people who engage in exceptionally admirable actions to protect the public
(dependent variable)? [My data would indicate whether my sample respondents’
perceptions would amount to
yes, no, or mixed as in yes in some cases, no in other cases).
(a) Your Research Method: With your research question in hand, select one of the
six research methods discussed in Chapter 2 And give your reasons for your
choice. [one solid paragraph]
(b) Your Research Process Details: List the following details [one – two
• Will you do a microsociological study? Briefly, say why. [A
macrosociological study will be too complex at this early point.] • Where would
you collect your data? For example, the residents (your target population) in which city
and in relation to which police department (give names), e.g. Oakland Police
Department in City of Oakland, San Leandro Police Department in City of San Leandro,
Richmond Police Department in City of Richmond, etc.
• Will you collect data from neighbors, school friends, contacts in your social
media account, maybe even police officers, etc. Why the groups you choose?
• What will be your sample of subjects for your data collection? What type of
• How much time will you use to collect your data in days, weeks, or months? Why this
amount of time?
• What will you do after you have completed collecting your data? See the steps in
Figure 2.1, p. 42 of the textbook.
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