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Method Selection

Research Methodology

Research methodology is a systematic study of the processes and methods to be used in a given research when collecting, analysing, and interpreting the collected data. It is vital for the study as it states and shows how the research question will be answered and how the problem statement will be fulfilled (Kapoor & Saigal, 2013). In this chapter, the researcher will design the methodology of the research. The method selected will be conceived in a way that ensures validity and reliability of the study. The research material and ways of its preparation, research protocol and measurement, as well as calculations and tests to be done will be stated.

Materials to Be Used in the Study

The material to be used in the study will be basically the primary research, involving structured questionnaire as well as interviews. In addition to that, published books and journals on the topic related to police perception will be used to complement the primary material. Previous dissertations on the same issue and other studies will be key material, which will show the right way to pursue the current study. In addition, multimedia publications and recorded data will be used as materials for the research.

Government records on the past incidents and claims of individuals being targeted by the police will be employed. Identification of race of inmate prisoners across the country will help to determine any discrimination. The police records on the number of traffic stops that they have made according to race will be evaluated. Lastly, the research will use records of the past few years, revealing cases of individuals stopped and interrogated by police.

Material Preparation

Material to be used in the study will be prepared prior to the start of the research. Since the primary data will be acquired from the respondent, a questionnaire should be prepared, forming each question in such a way that it will enable credibility and reliability. All the necessary questions will be arranged in a logical order, avoiding any bias (Padilla, 2009). The secondary material will be acquired from the library and other collection sources, including Internet. The data from government offices and institutions will be gathered after early notification of the request to process a required information. Thus, a particular letter should be sent in order for a researcher to know how to collect the needed data, by either electronic means or direct sources of information.

Research Protocol

A protocol is a pre-defined way or process in which a given experiment or an activity is carried out (Padilla, 2009). In our case, a research protocol refers to the procedure that is defined when carrying out a research. The protocol involves several stages, such as the research design, study setting, study population, study procedure, measurement tools, and data analysis.

Research Design

A research design is a detailed explanation of how a research will be conducted. It is mostly determined by the nature of the investigation and the findings required (Sekaran, 2003). A descriptive research will enable data to be reported in an exact way as it appears in the field. According to an article by Kothari, the descriptive research is critical in examining the characteristic and behaviour of a population by directly scrutinizing the sample of a particular population. This design will enable the researcher to make use of primary techniques, such as surveys, interviews, as well as observations.

Descriptive research is mainly done when the researcher wants to gain a better understanding of the topic (Kothari, 2013). An advantage of this design is that once analysis of quantitative data has shown a relationship between variables, the researcher can go ahead and subject the data to statistical test, such as correlation, in order to get a clearer view of the relationship.

Study Setting/Location

The target population of this study will be the citizens of the United States. The study will carefully consider demographic statistics so as to ensure people of different race, age, and sex will be included in the research proportionally (Groves, 2004). The population sample will involve 500 citizens selected from across the United States. The population will be contacted through electronic means, mostly by emails, and only 50 citizens will be involved in direct interviews.

Study Population and Procedure

A sample is the representation of the general population, study results of which can be generalized to represent the total population (Phophalia, 2010). A sample will be based on 500 citizens selected among all residents of the United States. Participants will be chosen through stratified sampling; this will ensure that all eligible citizens are selected by race, sex and age respectively. The strata will be determined proportionally using the current demographic data in the United States. Three main strata will be presented, including the first one for White Americans, the second one for African Americans, and the last one for the rest of the race. The table below shows how population has to be stratified proportionally.

 
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Table 1

Sample Population by Race

The Total Sample Population Selected According to Race.
Strata % of the total population No of Sample to be selected
White Americans 77.7 388
African Americans 12.6 63
Other races 9.7 49
Total population 100 500

Data sample selected proportionally in each stratum consists of equal number of women and men. It will ensure equal representation of both genders in the study. Another focus will be to divide the sample such that it will represent citizens of all age groups regardless of sex or race. The table below shows how the sample will be divided to represent different races according to age and sex. The stratified sample will then be collected from the general public through simple sampling method (Padilla, 2009).

Table 2

Sample Population Sex and Age Distribution

Total Sample by Age and Sex
Age group White American African American Other races Total
(years) Male female male female male female  
Below 20 39 38 7 6 5 5 100
20-30 39 39 6 6 5 5 100
30-40 39 39 6 6 5 5 100
40-50 39 39 6 6 5 5 100
50 and above 38 39 7 7 4 5 100
total 194 194 32 31 24 25 500

Study Procedure

The research will be mainly based on the primary data collected in the field. The key points of the secondary data will be used to answer the study questions. Since this study is both a qualitative research and a cross-sectional analysis, it will use the survey technique during data collection. In order to properly conduct the survey, structured questionnaires will be randomly distributed to the target population either through emails or through hand delivery. Electronic mails selection will be done using simple random selection method among all the registered emails in the country.

The questionnaires will be designed in such a way that they cover the research questions adequately, also being structured in a manner that they address the specific objective as stated in the study (Phophalia, 2010). The questionnaires will be sent to the selected participants after they confirm their willingness to participate in the study. Thus, a prior communication via email will be conducted to ensure the selected population is willing to participate in the study. Instructions will also be clearly indicated in the questionnaires, and a simple language will be applied so that all participants can take part effectively.

An in-depth interview will be conducted with a small number of people, about 50 persons, from the sample population. These interviewees should be in a geographical proximity in order to be easily found. The purpose of the interview will be to supplement the questionnaires. It will also enable the researcher to connect with the respondents to unravel even their physical expressions and hidden emotions. Lastly, the researcher will apply secondary data taken from records, statements, relevant publications and other types of relevant documents. Data from secondary sources will be obtained without manipulation.

Data Measurement and Analysis

Data processing and analysis imply the systematic usage of statistical and logical techniques to illustrate, describe and evaluate data (Sonquist & Dunkelberg, 2007). After receiving the necessary information, the researcher will analyse it to obtain final results. When the data is received by the investigator, it has to be immediately edited so as to exclude any error. Moreover, vital facts should be detailed to ensure uniformity. These improvements will be done without any manipulation of information that may change the original intended data. In addition, the data will be coded, classified and tabulated.

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This study requires a qualitative type of data, though some quantitative data should be also obtained from secondary sources. Hence, the most efficient way to represent the data is to involve descriptive analysis technique. Tables will be used to summarize responses for further analysis and facilitate comparison. The information obtained from the questionnaires will be entered into Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in preparation for analysis. The quantitative data will be summarized and presented with the help of descriptive statistics, including percentages and frequency distribution tables. These tools will help to reduce information to understandable form. The qualitative data will be presented through description that will explain the findings in a narrative way as it will be stated or described by the respondents.

Measurement Taking and Calculation

The measurement should be based on the variables of the study, focusing on independent versus dependant variable. The dependent variable will just be measured on whether it is positive or negative (Sonquist & Dunkelberg, 2007). The independent variable will be measured according to the number of encounters in case of traffic stops. Data on prisoners will be obtained nationwide and the data on inmate races will be computed. Lastly, the number of recorded and reported cases of emotional intimidation by the police will be computed.

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Calculations will also be performed on the collected data. The mode of the recorded perception of negative or positive aspects will be performed. The average independent variable will also be computed. The average number of races stopped yearly and monthly by the police will be calculated. The average number of prison inmates, who were arrested because of race or became victims of emotional intimidation by police, will be evaluated.

Statistical Tests

The study will elucidate correlations different races show with regard to police perception as a result of past encounters either in traffic stops, imprisonment cases or physical intimidation by police. Correlation can be a relevant test, which will enable to come up with credible and reliable conclusion.

Another test will concentrate on multiple regressions. The regression should comprise a dependant variable, which, in this case, will be either a negative or a positive perception toward the police. This test will seek to find which dependant variable (traffic stops, imprisonment and emotional intimidation by the police) has a greater contribution to the type of perception that people have. The same test will also identify which race among White Americans, African Americans and other races have a given type of perception.

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