Course Title: Apply research techniques within justice contexts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

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:



Purpose and limitations of research within justice contexts is analysed and debated


Models and theoretical perspectives on research   methodologies are delineated and evaluated for suitability to justice contexts


Organisational policies and procedures for conducting research, collecting and maintaining data are identified


Opportunities for research are identified and hypotheses formulated


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:


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


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:


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

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

Students will participate in a variety of learning activities, both in class and out of class.
In class activities will incorporate
Face to face lectures, simulated workplace scenarios, practical demonstrations and role-plays that identify with professional practice within the criminal justice system
· Individual oral and written questioning, and student-led group discussions and/or presentations, will exemplify your contextualizing of the class topics, and validate your learning of research methodologies and activities that contributes to policy and practice in justice settings
Out of class activities will Incorporate
· Readings, researching case studies, completing remaining in class activities, and preparing for in class group presentations/discussions

Teaching Schedule


180 min 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 content media analysis
· Requirements for assignment submission and navigation of subject, online resources and in class activities
· Outline of prescribed texts for course

Students to research emerging issues in justice environment that impacts and informs future legislation and policy

· Course guides
· Handout: 1 assessment criteria


180 min 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

Formative in class group assessment (1) on: Emerging issues in justice, how does research shape future direction in legislation and policy? What are the implications? Students report finding back to class.

Media content analysis as an established research methodology for conducting research

· Advantages of media content analysis
· Media content analysis used to define, understand and evaluate messages conveyed by the media
· Contributions of media content analysis towards advocacy, social change and policy
· Disadvantages of media content analysis


· PowerPoint presentation 2
· Example of current/emerging issues in justice, areas of research activities

180 min Session: Three

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

Formative in class group assessment on ‘mind map’ to formulate literature review in support of the research activity.

· PowerPoint presentation 3
· Prescribed text on Session 3 in Research Reader on Blackboard
· Handout for the commencement of the content media analysis


180 min Session: Four:

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.
In class activity on techniques to develop the literature review that will form summative assessment 2

· PowerPoint presentation 4
· Prescribed text on Session 4 in Research Reader on Blackboard


180 min Session: Five

Qualitative and Quantitative research designs
Major paradigms in research

Summative assessment 1 due – Literature review

· PowerPoint presentation 5
· Prescribed text on Session 5 in Research Reader on Blackboard


180 min Session: Six

Formulating the hypothesis

· Underlying assumptions for qualitative research
· Underlying assumptions for quantitative research
· Axiology
· Ontology
· Epistemology

Formative in class group assessment (3) on examples of quantitative and qualitative research in the justice environment and formulating a hypothesis

In class group activity formulating a statement of anticipated outcomes that requires confirmation through research linked to Summative assessment


· PowerPoint presentation 6
· Prescribed text on session 6 in Research Reader on Blackboard


180 min Session: Seven

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

Students to conduct a research activity in small groups on theoretical perspectives they will utilize in the conduct of their content media analysis as part of formative assessment

Presentation on theoretical perspectives applicable to their content media


180 min Session eight:

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

Formative in class group assessment (2) on: The range of ethical issues that may be confronted in the justice environment in the conduct of the research, and the potential impact on the research activity. In class group activity on:
Examples of organisational procedures and policy requirements for collecting, storing and maintaining data.


· PowerPoint presentation 7
· Prescribed text on session 7 in Research Reader on Blackboard

· PowerPoint presentation 8
· Prescribed text on session 8 in Research Reader on Blackboard

Mid semester break


180 min Session: Nine

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

In class group activity on examples of what constitutes reliability and validity in research


· PowerPoint presentation 9
· Prescribed text on session 9 in Research Reader on Blackboard


180 min Session: Ten

Sampling techniques
Probability and non-probability sampling

Summative assessment 2 due – Methodology of media content analysis
· PowerPoint presentation 10
· Prescribed text on session10 in Research Reader on Blackboard



180 min Session: Eleven

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

In class group activity on: Students’ progress on sampling techniques, data collection and analysis , the methodology of the research, resources and timelines linked to Summative Assessment 3

· PowerPoint presentation11
Prescribed text on session11 in Research


180 min Session: Twelve

Research instruments and data collection methods for quantitative research

· Guidelines for developing the instrument
· Types of research instruments

Formative assessment. Research instruments and data collection methods for quantitative research

· PowerPoint presentation 12
· Prescribed text on session 12 in Research Reader on Blackboard


180 min 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
In class formative assessment (5) for conducting an interview on an allocated qualitative research topic


· PowerPoint presentation 13
· Prescribed text on session 13 in Research Reader on Blackboard


180 min Session: Fourteen

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

In class formative group assessment (6) on formulating recommendations and outcomes that flow from the research and informs policy formulation Workshop on themes deriving from the media content analysis

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

· PowerPoint presentation 14
· Prescribed text on session 14 in Research Reader on Blackboard
· Assessment tool and assessment criteria

180 min Session Fifteen

Summative Assessment 3 due – Content Media analysis

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

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

There are three summative assessment tasks.

Summative assessment 1:

A review of the literature in relation to the main ideas, areas of conflict and knowledge of young people and the treatment they receive in custodial settings

Summative assessment 1 will contribute to 30% of the final grade
Students will receive feedback and make adjustments/improvements to incorporate in Summative Assessment 3.

Summative assessment 2

A written methodology that introduces the overall methodological approach for investigating the media content analysis. The outline needs to incorporate:
Whether the study is qualitative or quantitative
How the approach fits the overall research design
How the results are to be analysed
Potential limitations
The theoretical framework used to describe the theories that explain why the research problem under study exists.
Summative assessment 2 will contribute to 20% of the final grade

Students will receive feedback and make adjustments/improvements to incorporate in Summative Assessment 3.

Summative assessment 3

Submission of a media content analysis based on the literature review that has been conducted on whether the youth detention experience at Don Dale provides learning and awareness for policy makers in Victoria about the treatment of young people that are incarcerated

Summative assessment 3 will contribute to 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.

Each of the summative assessments is supported by formative assessments opportunities.

Assessment Matrix

Graded results are summative assessments and will be recorded as either:
CHD - Competent High Distinction;
CDI - Competent with Distinction,
CC - Competent with Credit;
CAG - Competency Achieved-Graded;
NYC - Not Yet Competent; or
DNS - Did Not Submit for Assessment

Other Information

Program inherent requirements

Inherent requirements refer to the abilities, knowledge and skills you must demonstrate to:
achieve program learning outcomes
work effectively as part of a team in classroom and work-integrated learning (WIL) settings
perform effectively in classroom and WIL settings without undue risk to your own or others' health, safety and welfare.
Depending on your program of study, inherent requirements may include:
verbal and non-verbal communication skills
reading, writing and number skills
concentration, memory and problem solving
mental wellness and behavioural stability
vision, hearing, touch and smell
physical skills, such as gross and fine motor skills.
If you have any injury, illness, disability, impairment, condition or incapacity that may affect your ability to perform the inherent requirements of your program of study, we encourage you to discuss this with the Program manager to enable RMIT University to identify whether there are any reasonable adjustments that would enable you to perform program requirements. RMIT University wants to place you in the best possible position to use your knowledge, skills and attributes effectively in your program of study.

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

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of work submitted in hardcopy. For every piece of work submitted online you will complete an e-Declaration. The signed cover sheet or e-Declaration acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.


Examples of other information that could be included in this section are listed below. Please discuss with your Program Coordinator/Manager. Information needs to be consistent across the whole program.


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.

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:


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:

  1. a) You believe an error has occurred in the calculation of the grade; or,
  2. b) You believe the assessment did not comply with criteria published in the Course Guide; or,
  3. c) 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

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


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 (unresolved) – and the RMIT Student Conduct Regulations –;ID=r7a7an6qug93


Plagiarism Software

The originality verification software Turnitin may be used in this course. For details, see:


Complaints Procedure:

RMIT University is committed to providing a harmonious study and work environment for all students and staff. The University recognises your right to raise concerns about academic, administrative or support services without recrimination and has policies and procedures to assist in the resolution of complaints.

Most issues are resolved at the local level and you are encouraged to take steps to resolve your issue locally. The student complaint procedure details steps to take if your problem is not resolved or you believe the response you received is unreasonable.

Student Complaints Policy:

Student complaints Procedure:;ID=i1lexipvjt22

Student Complaints Form:


Working with Children Check – This course requires a Working with Children Check

Police Check – This course requires a satisfactory police check

Course Overview: Access Course Overview