Course Title: Apply research techniques within justice contexts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: JUST5714

Course Title: Apply research techniques within justice contexts

School: 365T Global, Urban and Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6124 - Advanced Diploma of Justice

Course Contact: Irene Pagliarella, Program Manager

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4581

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 60

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Successful completion of, or demonstrated equivalence to, the following units of competency:

VU20861 Apply criminal law within justice environments
VU20862 Work with family violence contexts within justice environments
VU20863 Work with culturally diverse clients within justice environments
VU20864 Work with conflict resolution and mediation processes within justice environments
VU20865 Apply management and leadership within justice environments

And ONE of the following electives:

LGACOM406A Investigate alleged breaches of legislation and prepare documentation
CHCAOD402B Work effectively in the alcohol and other drugs sector

Course Description

In this course you will develop the skills and knowledge required to apply research methodologies appropriate to specific justice context/s.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20851 Apply research techniques within justice contexts


1. Determine requirements for research within justice contexts

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Purpose and limitations of research within justice contexts is analysed and debated
1.2 Models and theoretical perspectives on research methodologies are delineated and evaluated for suitability to justice contexts
1.3 Organisational policies and procedures for conducting research, collecting and maintaining data are identified
1.4 Opportunities for research are identified and hypotheses formulated
1.5 Research proposal is developed and scoped in consultation with relevant people


2. Conduct research

Methodology suitable to purpose is determined and resources attained

Literature is critically analysed

Instruments are developed, assessed for usability and validated in consultation with relevant people

Ethics and legal requirements are identified and addressed

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Methodology suitable to purpose is determined and resources attained
2.2 Literature is critically analysed
2.3 Instruments are developed, assessed for usability and validated in consultation with relevant people
2.4 Ethics and legal requirements are identified and addressed


3. Critically analyse and report findings


Research findings and results are reviewed against research proposal objectives


Research outcomes are critically analysed, recommendations and conclusions developed and documented


Research outcomes are documented and presented according to organisational and referencing requirements


Efficacy of research methodology is reviewed to inform future practice

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Research findings and results are reviewed against research proposal objectives
3.2 Research outcomes are critically analysed, recommendations and conclusions developed and documented
3.3 Research outcomes are documented and presented according to organisational and referencing requirements
3.4 Efficacy of research methodology is reviewed to inform future practice

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Conduct research including development of a research proposal, collecting and maintaining data, critically analysing and reporting findings
  • Review efficacy of research methodology
  • Provide evidence of knowledge of methodologies, ethical and legal requirements for research conducted within justice environments

Details of Learning Activities

You will participate in a variety of learning activities. They include the following:
In class activities:
• Role plays
• Interviews
• Observations
• Demonstrations
• Lectures
• Presentations
• Class discussions
• Group work
• Oral and written questioning

Out of class activities:
• Readings
• Case studies
• Role plays
• Observations
• Audio/visual presentations

Teaching Schedule

Session One

What is social research

Examples of the range of social research activities used in the justice environment
• Introduction and overview of course and discussion of expected outcomes of the course for application in the justice environment
• Discussion of formative and summative assessment tasks to determine competency, i.e., literature review and observational research
• Requirements for assignment submission and navigation of subject, online resources and in class activities
• Outline of prescribed texts for course

Session Two:

  The purpose of social research in shaping knowledge and evidence based practice within justice contexts

• Defining the problem/issue in the criminal justice environment
• Why conduct social research
• The key players in the research process
• What are the steps in conducting social research
• Politics of research and limitations of social research

Session: Three

Observational research techniques

• Advantages of observational research
• Disadvantages of observation research
• Structured observations
• Unstructured observations
• Research design in observation studies

Session Four:

Ethical dimensions for conducting research in justice

 Organisational policies and procedures for conducting research, collecting and storing data
• Moral principles that guide research topics
• How do ethical issues affect the conduct, design and sampling of the research
• Responsibility towards research subjects
• Aspects to consider for ethics applications
• Principles for research ethics
• Organisational policies and procedures

Session: Five

Qualitative and Quantitative research designs
Major paradigms in research
Formulating the hypothesis
• Underlying assumptions for qualitative research
• Underlying assumptions for quantitative research
• Axiology
• Ontology
• Epistemology
Summative assessment 1 on ethics application due 

Session: Six

Theories and methods for quantitative research
Theories and methods for qualitative research
Formulating the hypothesis

• Theoretical perspectives that provides context for the process and grounding for logic for social research in justice

Session: Seven

The literature review
• Goals of the literature review
• Where to find Research literature

 Session: Eight

Critical analysis of literature review continued:
Recognise un-stated and invalid assumptions in arguments.
• Distinguish facts from hypotheses.
• Distinguish facts from opinions.
• Distinguish an argument’s conclusions from the statements that support it.
• Recognise what kind of evidence is relevant and essential for the validation of an argument.
• Recognise how much evidence is needed to support a conclusion
Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant statements and evidence

Session: Nine

Reliability and Validity in research
Test-retest reliability
Parallel forms reliability
Sampling validity
Content validity

Session: Ten

Sampling techniques
Probability and non-probability sampling


 • Summative assessment 2 due – Student presentations of the literature review

Session: Eleven

Identifying the limitations to research
• Explaining the nature of the limitations
• Explaining how such limitations could be overcome in the future

Session: Twelve

Research instruments and data collection methods for quantitative research

• Guidelines for developing the instrument
• Types of research instruments
• Techniques for developing questionnaire
• Criteria and characteristics for a good questionnaire
Feedback on literature review to enable student to make improvements towards summative assessment

Session: Thirteen

Aspects of qualitative research interviews
• Qualification criteria for the interviewer
• Sequence of questions
• Stages of interview investigations
• Interview bias
• Procedure of the interview
• After the interview

Session: Fourteen

Presentation of findings in light of the issues raised in the literature review
• Summarise, explain and interpret findings

Session Fifteen

Summary and recommendations that flow from the research
• The implications of findings for current practice, policy and theory
• Acknowledge limitations of the research
• Point to areas for future research

Session Sixteen

Revision on structure and content of the research report
Review of APA guidelines

Session Seventeen

Elements 1, 2, 3
Students conducting final phase of the research activity and writing report

Session Eighteen
Summative assessment 3, observational research due

The teaching schedule outlined above is subject to change depending on your assimilation of knowledge and skills of the subject matter, and on changes to legislation as well as unforeseen circumstances.

NOTE: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

Attendance -
It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

We expect that students engage in learning through a combination of lectures, individual reading and study, meaningful feedback on written work and structured activities that encourage critical thinking and the development of discipline specific knowledge and practical skills.

Students are active participants and this course prioritises learning by doing. It is essential that students take ownership of their studies and work on developing skills as independent learners in time allocated away from lectures and class time.

As a student you need to demonstrate both knowledge and practical skills relevant to the course content within the classroom environment. Engagement with educators and other students is critical to you maximising learning opportunities and achieving satisfactory results. Participation in classroom discussion and activities will allow educators to apply observational assessment during role-plays, exercises and assignments and provide you with feedback.

You will be required to sign an attendance sheet and if you are absent from class, it is your responsibility to advise your educator and complete any written tasks that may have been allocated.
Students are required to carefully plan and use their time productively and submit assessments as required. All assessments tasks should be researched and drafted well in advance of the set submission dates.

The course will use blended learning techniques, including; lectures, discussions, activities in class and learner directed activities supported by a range of resources available in class and on Blackboard system

Feedback - You will receive verbal and written feedback on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects. Student feedback at RMIT

Student Progress - Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress policy

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

A reader for 'Research in Justice' will be made available via My RMIT/Studies Blackboard.  Supplemental readings will also be made available in class as required


Other Resources

Powerpoint for the lectures will generally be made available AFTER the class on request, however these are not a replacement for attending lectures. Lectures may have additional information, activities or visual material, which will not be available through Blackboard.
It is essential that you access the Blackboard site at least once a week, as announcements and emails are considered an effective means of communication between educators and students

Overview of Assessment

Assessments may incorporate a variety of methods including role plays, observations, lectures, tutorials, class discussion, reports, simulated scenarios, and audio-visual presentations.


Assessment Type

Word limit or equivalent

Assessment (Formative)

Range of in-class formative assessments linked to Summative Assessments


Assessment Two

Written Ethics Application

2500 words

Assessment Three

Literature Review

2500 words

Assessment Four

Observational Research Report

2500 words










If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online:;ID=c15i3ciaq8ca

Assessment Tasks

**Students are reminded that to prove competency in this subject, they must satisfactorily prove competence in ALL assessment tasks.
Asessment Tasks

All assessment tasks are based on the requirements of the performance criteria, range statements and the assessment guidelines of the course and are as follows:

Students will be set a series of formative and summative tasks to prove competency in this subject.

Formative assessments

Formative in class group assessments are based on the performance criteria of the applicable elements and form part of the instructional process.  They are designed to provide students with useful feedback in class on their progress to adjust their learning and level of understanding in undertaking research activities in the justice environment consistent with the required skills and knowledge of the unit.  The formative assessment tasks are conducted in weeks 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13 and 15 and are linked to summative assessments 1, 2, and 3. 

 Summative assessment 1: Session 5

• A written ethics application for the conduct of the observational research
Summative assessment 1 will contribute to 20% of the final grade
Students will receive feedback and make adjustments/improvements to incorporate in Summative Assessment 3.

Summative assessment 2: Session 10
• A review of the literature in relation to the main ideas, areas of conflict in the literature, and any gaps in the knowledge of crime prevention strategies and the reduction of ‘graffiti.’
Summative assessment 2 will contribute 30% of the final grade
Students will receive feedback and make adjustments/improvements to incorporate in Summative Assessment 3.

Summative assessment 3: Session 18
• Submit an observational research report based on literature review that has been conducted, and direct observations on the topic of crime prevention and ‘graffiti’ as part of the final summative assessment.
Summative assessment 3 will contribute 50% of the final grade

Where candidates are already employed in the field direct and indirect supplementary forms of evidence may be submitted to meet the course assessment requirements.
Comprehensive assessment outlines will be issued and discussed with students in class/and of made available through Blackboard in Week 1.

Assessment Matrix

This is available via MyRMIT/Studies.

The assessments have been designed to cover all Learning Outcomes and will be graded in accordance with RMIT’s Mark Table which is as follows:

CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did not Submit for Assessment

Grades which apply to course delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment (not-graded)

CA Competency Achieved
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit For Assessment

Assessment Deadlines

Any due date for any assignment is to be considered a deadline. You can submit work at any time prior to the submission date, but it must be into the Administration office by close of business (5pm) of the day the submission is due. 

Assessment Format

As a student of the Justice VE program, it is expected that you adhere to the following criteria regarding essays/research/reports;
1. For an ADVANCED DIPLOMA written assessment task/s – no less than 2500 words (unless otherwise instructed), 5 academic references and ONE in-text citation per paragraph.
2. A paragraph is usually between 200 – 250 words.
3. A sentence is usually between 20 - 25 words.
4. American Psychological Association (APA) Referencing Style is the EXPECTED referencing style for the school of Criminal Justice (VE).
5. We highly recommend that all students download a copy of the APA Referencing Guide which is available on the Blackboard or purchase a Pocket Guide to APA style from the campus bookshop.
6. APA Referencing system is to be used and all in-text citations must be recorded according to APA standards.
7. An academic reference is a scholarly source (journal articles that are peer reviewed, a published book, an approved government or organisation website etc).
8. Written reports, research projects or essays are to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and familiarity with the prescribed or negotiated topics
9. It is expected that all submitted work will be well written, with clear and consistent grammar, expression and punctuation. It must be well structured and address the issues raised in the chosen topic in a logical ordered and organised manner.
10. Written submissions must demonstrate appropriate preparation, reading and research.
11. Double or 1.5 spacing and a font size of 10-12 must be used in either Arial or Times Roman. Do not submit double paged assessments.
12. All assignments to be submitted via the Drop Box (Building 37, level 2) and submitted via email to the Advanced Diploma email address to verify submission ( Assessments must be submitted by 5pm (close of business).
13. Alternatively, your assessments can be uploaded into the assignment section of Blackboard as outlined in the assessment guideline provided to you by your Educator.
14. Written assessments will also be submitted with a Turnitin Report attached (as instructed by your Educator).

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. Special consideration, appeals and discipline :
In accordance with RMIT policy, you may apply for an extension where there have been unexpected or extenuating circumstances, e.g.

• Hospital admission, serious injury, severe asthma, severe anxiety or depression. This does not include minor illness such as a cold, period pain or hay fever.
• Loss or bereavement – e.g. death of a close family member, family/relationship breakdown.
• Hardship/trauma – e.g. victim of crime, sudden loss of income or employment, severe disruption to domestic arrangements.

You must keep a copy of their assessment until the graded submission has been returned or marks have been posted.

All email communications will be sent to your RMIT student email address.
An extension of up to seven calendar days may be granted if good reason can be demonstrated. Include supporting evidence (such as medical certificates) with your application.

Extensions beyond seven calendar days cannot be granted by Course coordinators or individual educators.

Longer extensions
Extensions of time longer than 7 days can only be granted through special consideration
Applying for Special Consideration
If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see:

Penalties for Late Submission

If you have not been granted an extension or special consideration, late submission of assignments will be penalised as follows:
Assessment tasks submitted after the due date of submission shall receive a penalty of five per cent of the grades available for that assessment per day for each working day late.
No assessment task shall be accepted more than three weeks after the due date.

Applying for Special Consideration
If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see:

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work, including online submissions. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications..

Assessment Appeals
If you believe your assessment result or final result is wrong please contact the course coordinator and provide the reason why you think your result is incorrect. Valid reasons for seeking a review of results include

 • You believe an error has occurred in the calculation of the grade; or,

• You believe the assessment did not comply with criteria published in the Course Guide; or,

• You believe the assessment did not comply with University Policies on Assessment (i.e. an error in process has occurred).

• Full details of the procedure (including appeals procedure) can be located at this RMIT site:

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism - RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity .

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship through respecting the work of others whilst having the freedom to build new insights, new knowledge and ideas. RMIT University upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community. Whenever you refer to another person’s research or ideas (either by directly quoting or paraphrasing them) you must acknowledge your source.
If you are even in doubt about how to properly cite a reference, consult your lecturer or the academic integrity website:

The RMIT library provides tools to assist with your referencing 
The RMIT library provides tools to assist with your referencing

Plagiarism and Collusion
Plagiarism and collusion constitute extremely serious academic misconduct, and are forms of cheating. You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. Plagiarism is not acceptable.
Examples of plagiarism include:
• Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation;
• Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation;
• Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences;
• Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source;
• Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work;
• Copying a whole or any part of another student’s work; and
• Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you.
• Enabling Plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work is also an offence.
For further information, please see the RMIT Plagiarism Policy –;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1 – and the RMIT Student Discipline Statute and Regulations -;ID=11jgnnjgg70y
Plagiarism Software
The originality verification software Turnitin may be used in this course. For details, see:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview