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Criminal Justice Dissertation.


LauraWYPSpecials
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Hi all.

I'm about to go into my third year at uni, studying Criminal Justice Studies, and I'm already hitting a brick wall when it comes to the dreaded dissertation.

For one, I have no idea what it is, apart from a long essay... Let's just say that the uni I'm at is...in a word...terrible at organisation, and nothing has been giving to us as yet about what is expected, a rough structure, anything. We have been told to start looking into a chosen topic and research. I understand that uni is a lot of independent study, but a bit of guidance at the start would have been nice.

Anyway, i digress.

The main problem is picking a topic. Now, i know that I can't ask a forum to pick my topic (wouldn't that be lovely!), but I was thinking of doing something to do with specials training, or effectiveness maybe, and was wondering whether anyone had found there to be much useful and jargon free as possible literature around specials?

Would that be a feasable topic, or have I got the wrong end of the stick with that?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Cheers,

Laura

'Half way through specials training and not feeling very academic.'

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Hello Laura,

Judging from your username we're in the same force! Do you know which Division and station you'll end up at?

However, back to topic. I'm also going into my 3rd year at uni with a scary dissertation looming. As part of my 2nd year we had to do a work placement for six weeks. I went Specialing for those six weeks, full-time, with one Response team and I absolutely bloody loved it. We also had to do a report on it at the end. So you can find some things to look into involving Specials.

However, I'd be cautious about doing it for a dissertation, e-mail your progress tutor or dissertation tutor directly.

But if you get the go ahead I'd be looking more into the way Specials are utilised during these austere times. How Specials have gone from being treated like dirt by their full-time colleagues, to becoming valued members of the Police. What training is available after probation and what of that training wasn't available before hand.

Another interesting thing to look into would be the retention of Specials. All of these PCCs and CCs are waxing lyrical about recruiting thousands upon thousands of Special Contables nationwide, however, the number of specials is in fact falling. This is largely down to the fact that people don't realise that joining the Special Constabulary isn't a sure way into the Regs, amongst other things. So people hand in their warrant cards and look for work elsewhere.

Personally I could never get into the regs, even though I want to, but I'd always stay a Special as I want to be a Special Constable for a lot of the right reasons, not just to become a PC.

Hope that helps! Fell free to PM me if you want any more advice, information or ideas. I'm happy to help :)

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Perhaps a little caustic but could you consider a discussion topic on the lines of 'Does today's policing candidate criteria reflect organisational preparedness for future leadership against the expected demands financial, operational and constitutional?'

If you are part way through training and 3 years of study and still unsure of a topic, perhaps debating the true value to future policing where candidates are preferred to have completed further education rather than other work based skills or experiences. Many dissertations are a self reflection of the topic - if you are unsure what lays ahead, is it the policing system that is failing to make its role clearly understood by its sole customer - the member of the public.

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Hi Laura I'm in a similar plight not exactly studying Criminal Justice studies but Criminology and Sociology. I'm an aspiring police officer but from a lay person's perspective I think you should write about something close to your heart that you feel passionate about. You can always re-word your topic later, can't you? There's lot of stuff on here about specials and I think you'd have a wealth of material to chose from if you peruse the website obviously bearing issues around confidentiality and member's consent in mind,as I'm sure you would?

Don't mean to hijack your thread but I'm also looking for three or four people willing to participate in a small scale mini-research for my final year sociology project :) please message me if you've got something to say about work-related depression/or current health policy on the condition and I'd gladly listen. Ta.

Edited by Aspiring MSC
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Hello Laura,

Judging from your username we're in the same force! Do you know which Division and station you'll end up at?

However, back to topic. I'm also going into my 3rd year at uni with a scary dissertation looming. As part of my 2nd year we had to do a work placement for six weeks. I went Specialing for those six weeks, full-time, with one Response team and I absolutely bloody loved it.

Hey!

Yeah, West Yorkshire Police, and I'm Airedale and North Bradford :) how about you? How long have you been a special?

That placement sounds fantastic! I actually have a placement coming up in September, mine will be with a young offending team. It was recommended that we could do our dissertation on a topic related to the placement, but as they run alongside each other that will be difficult... the proposal is due half way though the placement..

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Right, I've been through this dilemma in exact same circs - what I and others found best is to do some research which has operational use rather than organisational as there's so much research on organisations that make it very narrow research. Mine explored the effectiveness of an ongoing police operation done in my part of my force which is very rural - there was hardly any comprehensive studies about it and I ended up writing LOADS about it. My second one was going to be the effectiveness of police activity in my area at preventing road deaths, as it's something that seems to happen far too often here.

Oh, and I got a first in my dissertation too! :p

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Hi

I am not sure what your career plans are after university ?

A dissertation if thought about correctly and well done, can help you get a job as it would be a good topic of conversation in an interview.

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Hey!

Yeah, West Yorkshire Police, and I'm Airedale and North Bradford :) how about you? How long have you been a special?

That placement sounds fantastic! I actually have a placement coming up in September, mine will be with a young offending team. It was recommended that we could do our dissertation on a topic related to the placement, but as they run alongside each other that will be difficult... the proposal is due half way though the placement..

Ah you won't have much grief there! I'm at North West Leeds with places like headingley and bramhope which are nice . . Then places like Armley and Bramley, less so! I've been in for about a year and a half :)

Yeah doing them alongside each other would be far too tough I think!

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I would have thought that you would have done a module on research methods or had a workshop on writing a dissertation?

I think that it might be helpful if you obtained the marking criteria for the dissertation. Then you have an objective source of what they are looking for.

Most dissertations would require a literature search, whereby you may have to critically summarise current research into your choosen area and then in your conclusion compare your findings to what is already known. A good summary of current literature would get you a decent bulk of marks.

Therefore, doing something too obscure or specific, where there is little research, might mean you might be depriving yourself of marks.

I would be inclined to take a step back and look at the modules that you have studied and pick an area that you enjoyed most. As part of that module you would have probably covered a number of studies into that given area, which could be the basis for your dissertation?

It would be very brave to discount the stuff you have already covered and then pick a specific issue within the police to target where there has been limited research.

A good dissertation will influence your final grade, so thinking about how you can get the best marks easily, whilst doing something that interests you, might be a consideration.

Out of interest, what your most favourite module on your course so far?

Edited by DGP
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