Evaluating Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Quantitative Research Designs

Evaluating Research Questions
Evaluating Research Questions

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Evaluating Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Quantitative Research Designs

For this Discussion, you will evaluate quantitative research questions and hypotheses in assigned journal article and consider the alignment of theory, problem, purpose, research questions and hypotheses, and design.

You will also identify the type of quantitative research design the authors used and explain how it was implemented. 

Discuss a critique of the research study in which you:

• Evaluate the research questions and hypotheses using the Research Questions and Hypotheses Checklist as a guide

• Identify the type of quantitative research design used and explain how the researchers implemented the design

• Analyze alignment among the theory, problem, purpose, research questions and hypotheses, and design

Be sure to support your Main Issue Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.

Reading Resources

Babbie, E. (2017). Basics of social research (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.Chapter 5, “Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement”

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., & Crawford, L. M. (2016). The scholar-practitioner’s guide to research design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing.Chapter 4, “Quantitative Research Designs”

Assigned journal article

Canfield, M. L., Kivisalu, T. M., van der Karr, C., King, C., & Phillips, C. E. (2015). The use of course grades in the assessment of student learning outcomes for general education. Sage Open, 1–13. doi: 10.1177/2158244015615921

Evaluating Research Questions

Research Questions and Hypotheses Checklist 

Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s research questions and/or hypotheses. Look for indications of the following:

• Is the research question(s) a logical extension of the purpose of the study?

• Does the research question(s) reflect the best question to address the problem? 

• Does the research question(s) align with the design of the study? 

• Does the research question(s) align with the method identified for collecting data? If the study is qualitative, does the research question(s) do as follows? 

• Relate the central question to the qualitative approach 

• Begin with What or How (not Why) 

• Focus on a single phenomenon 

• Use exploratory verbs 

• Use non-directional language 

• Use an open-ended format 

• Specify the participants and research site 
If the study is quantitative: 

• Do the descriptive questions seek to describe responses to major variables? 

• Do the inferential questions seek to compare groups or relate variables? 

• Do the inferential questions follow from a theory? 

• Are the variables positioned consistently from independent/predictor to dependent/outcome in the inferential questions? 

• Is a null and/or alternative hypothesis provided as a predictive statement? 

• Is the hypothesis consistent with its respective research question? 

• Does the question(s) and/or hypothesis specify the participants and research site? If the study is mixed methods, do the research questions and/or hypotheses do the following? 

• Include the characteristics of a good qualitative research question (as listed above) 

• Include the characteristics of a good quantitative research and/or hypothesis (as listed above) 

• Indicate how the researcher will mix or integrate the two approaches of the study 

• Specify the participants and research site 

• Convey the overall intent of the study that calls for a mixed methods approach

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Evaluating Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Quantitative Research Designs

Canfield, Kivisalu, Van Der Karr, King, and Phillips (2015), present a discussion on the validity of the use of course grading as an effective method of assessing the learning outcomes of students. The research questions used in the study are in line with the purpose of the study. The descriptive questions used in the article seek to describe the responses to the main variables through the assessment of discriminant and convergent validity.

The inferential questions seek to both compare groups and relate inter-group and intra-group variables. These inferential questions follow the multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) of assessment. The research questions used in the study also align with the chosen technique of analysis of the collected data (Babbie, 2017, pp. 426 – 438). In this case, the choice of the multitrait-multimethod aligns with the research questions.

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San Quentin, CA 94964

Marin County

1. A. Who is the C.E.O.?

B. Is he/she elected or appointed? If appointed, by who and for how long?

If elected, how long is the term?

1. A. Ronald Davis is the warden at San Quentin State Prison. He has been in this administrative position at the facility since 2014. He was previously the head of Valley State Prison in Chowchilla up to 2014 and was deputy warden at Avenal State Prison from 2010 to 2012. He has served in other similar positions in Salinas Valley State Prison ranging from the lieutenant, correctional officer, and sergeant.


            B. Governor Edmund G. Brown of California appointed Ronald Davis, the warden at SanQuentin State Prison where he had been serving as acting director since 2014. (http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2015/06/governor-appoints-ronald-davis-as-san-quentin-sp-warden/)

2. A. Discuss the main function/responsibility of the correctional department or facility? (Do not answer anything related to the welfare/care/safety/well-being-feeding, medical care, bathing/education/training/rehabilitation/social programs/preparation for release. If the Dept. only had funds to do ONE thing what would that first thing be? ). Think about this one; you already know the answer, the basics.

B. Describe the population’s “classifications” of the inmates. Hint: Is it pre-sentence, post-sentence, or both? Male, Female, Juvenile or a combination, if so list percentages.

C. Describe and discuss the security classifications (maximum, medium minimum, etc.)

2. A. The primary function of San Quentin State Prison is to ensure criminal offenders are housed in a secure way.  This is the State’s only gas chamber, and all condemned inmates are located here. The prison facility has death row divided into three sections; the north segregation for prisoners who don’t usually cause trouble, the East block and the Adjustment Center for the worst criminal offenders. There is a psychiatric facility that serves the prisoners and a converted shower bay for holding religious activities.

However, most of the functions and programs available at the facility are not accessible to death row inmates. In 2007, a new execution chamber was built at san Quentin with a 230 square feet injection chamber and three viewing areas for family, victim and members of the press. Other than state executions, the prison facility carries out federal executions although in rare cases. So far, only three such executions have taken place on criminals who had been incarcerated at Alcatraz Island federal penitentiary. Notably, this is the only inmate-produced newspaper in California and one of the few in USA.


B. Initially a combination of both male and female inmates, San Quentin bay facility is strictly a male prison. It houses post-sentence criminal offenders who have committed serious crimes such as murder. The original plan for establishing the facility was to replace a prison known as Waban and since the French revolution of 1852 during the Bastille Day, the state prison has been known as Bastille by the Bay.

During its construction, inmates slept on the prison ship at night and labored to build the new facility during the day. San Quentin house used to house both male and female inmates until 1933 when Tehachapi women’s prison was constructed. (http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/SQ.html)

C. Although the Quentin State Bay Prison has a death row operation for serious criminal offenders, it does not fall under the category of maximum, medium or minimum security prison. Rather, it exhibits all the features and facilities of the three security classifications. There is one maximum security cell block known as the adjustment center, and a medium security setting. There is also a minimum security firehouse, and a central health care service. The walled prison comprises four elephant cell blocks; West, South, North and east blocks.

( http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/SQ.html)

3. What is the Mission Statement? (Can be a cut and paste, in quotations)

“We enhance public safety through safe and secure incarceration of offenders, effective parole supervision, and rehabilitative strategies to successfully reintegrate offenders into our communities”.


4. A. What is correctional accreditation?

B. Is the agency accredited? If yes, what is the title of the accreditation and since when?

A. Correctional accreditation is meant to enhance the operations of prison facilities by ensuring they adhere to standards relevant to all areas of operations. These areas include safety, security, inmate care, administration, justice and programs. The accrediting body ensures the correction facility follows to these standards by continuous assessment, contracting, preparation, and audit for final accreditation decision. The body works hand in hand with the facilities being examined to introduce them to the process of accreditation, provide necessary documentation, assign auditors to each levels of the facility and discuss various requirements for each standard.


5. B. The prison agency was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections in 2015. The commission had in previous year accredited eight additional California departments of corrections and rehabilitation prisons, such as Chukawalla Valley state prison and Folsom State prison. 

San Quentin State Bay Prison was accredited alongside Avenal State Prison, California State Prison-Los Angeles County, Deuel Vocational Institution, California Medical Facility, California State Prison-Corcoran, Salinas Valley State Prison and California State Prison-Los Angeles County.

( http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/08/8-california-prisons-accredited-with-the-american-correctional-association-total-now-16/)

6. List the number (how many) of sworn personnel and the number of civilian personnel.

            As of March 22, 2017 San Quentin State Bay prison had a total capacity of 3, 760 inmates. This is in excess of the initial design capacity, given that the facility was meant to house a maximum of 3, 082. This facility is 122 percent occupied, with a staff capacity of 3, 956 personnel.

 7. A. Staff Personnel Diversity- What percent of the personnel in the agency are minorities, give breakdown, if it’s readily available (website)?

 B. Inmate Population Diversity- Advise on the inmate populations (percentage or actual   numbers) information: Male/Female, Adult/Juvenile, Race, and Ethnicity.

7. A. The facility hosts personnel of diverse cultures and origins, age and gender. The minority are female personnel.


7. B. Given that the facility is a male-only prison, there is no diversity of the population of inmate. There are 3, 076 male inmates who the occupy 122 percent of the facility’s capacity.

8. Inmate housing classification. How are they segregated: Is it by offense type, age, sex, and medical, all of the aforementioned? Explain.

Correctional officers are permitted to impose a wide range of disciplinary actions to maintain order in the prison. Reasonable sanctions may be imposed to classify and segregate inmates in terms of crime, mental illness and their conduct within the facility. However, corporal punishment, extreme isolation conditions, handcuffs, restraint chairs and any other form of cruel treatment is not acceptable. In the most severe cases of disciplinary crimes, inmates may be isolated for safety and security reasons.

Prisoners can also be segregated in protective custody or any other form of restriction than those used on the general population at the facility. This is mainly done to protect the prisoner from sexual abuse, manipulation, physiologically harm, verbal abuse or physical torture. This can also be applied to prisoners who request protection from other violent inmates. This type of segregation cannot exceed 30 days unless there is a serious and credible threat to the prisoner’s safety and the officers are unable to sufficiently offer protection.

9. Staff Personnel Work Schedules: How are the staff personnel that directly supervise the inmates assigned? (i.e. what are the shifts, 5/8s, 4/10’s, 3/12’s, or other) ?

The personnel work schedule involves three shift commanders who are changed after every eight hours. The commanders have the power to make decisions at the post unless they are litigating eventualities from top a senior manager.


10. Your text Chpt. 12 discusses Centralization vs. Decentralization in prisons. A. Is your correctional department operating as centralized or decentralized, or is it in transition?

B. Explain what specific factors are present in the management and administration that resulted in your answer for A.

10. A. Effective management of San Quentin facility requires the implementation of an approach to management that appreciates the complexity of the correctional organization and the inmate’s environment. As a result, the management has adopted a decentralized system that effectively integrates inmate supervision and quality service delivery to the larger population while recognizing the needs of the staff.


          10. B. Like most of the US prisons and jails, San Quentin prison bay is a decentralized collection systems. The federal government, states and a lot of counties operate individual but interconnected networks. The prison organizational structure involves several individuals and agencies responsible for decision making and running of the facility. This relies on team environment at various levels in the organization where each individual has some authority to make decisions.

( https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ483118)

11. A. Are the personnel that directly supervise inmates assigned to the same area for any period of time? (3mo/6mo/year).

B. What is the process for them to change shifts? And Change Assignments?

A. The personnel that supervise inmates are assigned to the same area but a specific [period of time. This can range from months to one year.

B. For change in assignment or shifts, the personnel can fill in one staff is missing, and the next above them takes the position of whoever was assigned that duty.


 12. Organizational chart- detailed (can be an attached sheet). Do not provide a link.

13. Your text, chapter 5 explains Organizational Conflict and how it can be used to bring attention to issues and ultimately result in a positive outcome. These issues in a correctional setting can be potentially explosive, and diffusing them quickly is paramount. Discuss a real example that occurred in your selected Correctional Department.

        The complexity of San Quentin prison facility makes it difficult to manage, and even harder to resolve conflicts that arise from perceived opposition of values, needs and interests between the management and the inmates. On august 2015, the facility almost exploded into chaos after the first of six prisoners tested positive for legionnaire’s disease. The outbreak started with inmates for death row to solitary confinement, with 95 more inmates reporting the disease’s symptoms in the last few days.

None of the 95 inmates received official diagnosis of legionnaire’s infection. The California department of corrections and rehabilitation department sought to identify and treat potentially infected inmates. The outbreak was a result of water contamination with Legionella bacteria was aspirated, and the inmates possibly breathed in as moisture in the air conditioning.

The diseases claimed the lives of 12 people who had been sick because of contaminated cooling towers .This resulted to unusual lockdown of the facility, where visitors were prohibited from seeing inmates while the prisoner’s movement was highly restricted. The staffs were also subjected to difficult measures, being expected to be clean and many programs coming to a standstill.

Another incident happened on August 2013 where about 30 000 inmates in California prisoners went on hunger strikes, reusing state issued meals.  The prisoners demanded an end to the increasingly common practice of long-term solitary confinement.        (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/us/san-quentin-prison-scrambles-after-outbreak-of-legionnaires-disease.html?_r=0)

14. A. What is the ratio of corrections staff to inmates?

B. How does management ensure security in a facility/Dept/Prison when the correctional staff is always so out-numbered (basic principle used in all jails/prisons) ? Explain the physical settings and procedures that ensure officer safety and prevent inmates from taking over and escaping? This includes Physical barriers/ allocations of inmates/officer safety procedures and disciplinary deterrence’s. Address each of these.

C. What inmate medical, social services, educational/training programs, and religious opportunities are available for inmates?

 D. What inmate services would YOU say are lacking at the Department or Facility.

14. A. Currently, San Quentin State Bay prison has a total capacity of 3, 760 inmates and staff capacity of 3, 956 personnel. This will result to a ration of correction staff to inmates of 989: 940

14 B. The physical settings include level 2 housing; an open dormitory with secured perimeter and armed coverage. There is a Condemned Unit, and a reception center that provides housing on short term basis to process and evaluate inmates. Maintaining security in prison facilities involves cooperation between the inmates and the correctional officers. Sometimes, the correctional officers may be outnumbered by the inmates, and the management needs to highlight strategies to handle such an eventuality.

Having strong leadership is the first key solution to ensure the officers have all the support they need. Good leadership ensures prisons are well supervised ad there is minimum level of violence within the prison. The administration can ensure strong leadership by subjecting the officers to quality training and sufficient time on the job.

( http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/SQ.html)

14 C. Inmates at the facility are allowed to engage in various social activities such as sports. Since 1994, prisoners have been allowed to play baseball with players from outside the prison- the games take place twice a week through the summer. There is an on-site degree granting program run by the Prison University Press that begun in 1996. Counter force is a non-profit organization that educates and supports people who are incarcerated.  It has various programs like the peer health education program that offers effective health information to prisoners, and the Back to Family Program that enables men to effectively re-connect with their families. ( http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/SQ.html)

14 D. Despite the numerous social and educational services and programs available at the facility, there are services that are lacking. There are no sufficient religious programs to take care of diverse inmates needs effectively, and the available ones are lacking in terms of support and effectiveness. Only baseball sport is available, yet there should be more activities ranging from football, rugby and athletes.

15. A. Citing from the various specific Management and Leadership Styles discussed in your textbook, what leadership style would best for use by the Director or Warden towards his staff personnel? Comprehensively explain why?

    B. What leadership style would be best for correctional line personnel towards the inmates? Comprehensively explain WHY?

A. For effective running of the facility, a Laissez-faire leadership style would be best suited to deliver quality services while paying attention to the missions and goals of the organization. Using this style, the warden will be able to give subordinate staff enough freedom in doing their work at the facility. This leadership will result to job satisfaction by the correctional officers.


             B. Due to the complexity of managing and getting inmates to do what is expected of them, an autocratic leadership style by the correctional personnel would be highly effective. An autocratic officer will make decision without asking or consulting with inmates, an appropriate style when decisions have to be made quickly. In most cases, agreement with the prisoners about key issues affecting the facility is not relevant.

16. Discuss THREE problems/issues related to the administration or management of the department or facility and explain how YOU would resolve each one IF you were the C.E.O. (Warden or Director, or …) List them as A. B. and C. (Hint: This could be budgetary, corruption, staffing, grievances, organizational, disciplinary, or …)

             One of the major problem facing the prison is overcrowding of inmates. This has resulted to increased difficulty in execution of key operations and has fueled grievances from the prisoners.  With an overcrowded facility, there is risk of controlling inmate behavior, minimizing incidences of violent attacks and it becomes problematic to monitor disease outbreak such as Legionnaires infection.

.Classification of inmates in terms of their ethnicity and race is another problematic issue related to the administration of the facility. This is especially the case with prisoners of Jewish origin, who fall somewhere between White and Asian.  Accusation have been forwarded against the administration for using race as a predominant factor in categorizing cellmates and putting Jews in dangerous positions when classified as White. As a result, the Jews might find themselves in same cell with racists and end up being mistreated.


 The third administration challenge that requires immediate intervention is the question of correctional officer- inmate relationships. While some inmates make it harder to administer the facility due to their violent and stubborn behavior, there are cases when officers use extreme measures to achieve order. This has resulted to complain from inmates, human rights activists and other stakeholders demanding better treatment of the prisoners. The Adjustment Center (AC) is one cause of problem. Now partially exposed by the media, the AC has resulted to hunger strikes at the facility by inmates who demand an end to extreme torture.

17. A. Define the managerial concept of span of control as it relates to management of a CJ agency.

B. Apply the concept and tell me what the span of control is for TWO management or supervisory assignments.

17. A. Span of control refers to the number of employee who report to the manager in a hierarchy of command. When there are more people under the control of the manager, the span of control becomes wider. Less people mean a smaller span of control. It is the highest number of people supervised by a manager, and the number may be increased or reduced according to the nature of the work done. Span of control allows an organization to experience a smooth running of functions.


B. For an organization with two managements, span of control concept means that the employees will be reporting to two managers within the same organization at different levels of management. This also means that the organization has only two levels of management where decisions are made.

18. Describe the physical layout of the correctional facility. IF you selected to do a Department, pick one facility in the department and describe its physical and staffing facets. Publicly available information only, include the address, number of dormitories, etc. Google EARTH may assist you with this question. If they tell you that its confidential for security, they are misunderstanding the question. You want the public basics only, if they have a concern, advise them of this.

             The physical address of San Quentin prison facility is CA 94964, California. The complex is mounted on Point San Quentin which entails 1.75 Km2 northern San Francisco Bay. It stretches 275 acres and has its own ZIP code for mail sent to prisoners. It’s bordered by San Francisco Bay to the south. They prison comprises four cell blocks, one maximum security block, central healthcare building, medium security dorm n a firehouse house.

19. Hierarchy of command.

A. Define it (in the context of Criminal Justice)

B. List all (hierarchy of command) ranks of correctional personnel that are responsible for custody of the inmates, from bottom to top. Start with title of the persons that directly have care and custody responsibilities of the inmates (often titled “correctional officer”) and End with the C.E.O., often titled the “Warden” or “Director” (note: Its not the Governor or President) , or they may have another title in your selected Department. Do not list the NAMES of personnel, ONLY the title, like Ofc. Sgt, Lt. …. or similar for YOUR selected Department.

19. A. A chain of command refers to a group of individuals who execute orders based on authority within the group. Its part of structure that delegates how power is distributed form the top most management to the rest of the people in an organization.

19 B. Shift Commanders

  Commanding Officer




             Warden: Title for the administrative head

19. Answer ONLY A or B and C.

A. IF your agency has a DEATH ROW, describe how many males and females are housed there. Also, describe the cell (size and what’s in it, sink? Bed? Toilet? Desk? And describe the daily life activity of a death row inmate (how many hours of outside area time, etc.).

                San Quentin has the largest death row for male inmates, and the largest in United States. The different units house 725 male inmates. However, there has not been any death execution for the past ten years as a result of challenges to the execution protocols. The cells in the facility look old, given by the fact that much of the structure were built 100 years ago. There is nothing automatic with the sinks, beds, doors and cells. Each cell must be locked manually using hands.

20. No right or wrong answer: Just a personal survey, with 5 easy points credited.

 A. How many actual hours did it take to complete this assignment? Between 40 to 50 hours.

B. Did you find it difficult? Yes. The assignment was a little frustrating but become easy and interesting towards the end.

C. Did you find it was a good review/repeat of the text material that ensures a student a student learned/understood what was to be learned in the course? Yes, the assignment is a good review to help understand classroom knowledge.

D. Most write that at first it looks tough and.. But later write that it was a great asset to the course, mostly only repeating the same concepts and terms, do you feel that way, that you learned a lot? Yes, it looked challenging given that information is not readily available. In the end, I realized there is much about correctional facilities that I learned.

E. What would you change? F. Any personal comments? This is all used to improve the content and RA for the future. The assignment should not be limited to correctional facilities in states of Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Texas, New Orleans, Utah, California, Minnesota, Idaho, or Wisconsin

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Rape Case Study: Formulating Research Questions


Rape Case Study

Discussion 3: Formulating Research Questions

In the case of Talia, several questions ought to get researched on because of the massive effects a victim of rape undergoes. However, the author has critically analyzed and chose the following two questions as the most appropriate in providing a reliable solution for this persistent and growing menace. The questions include:

  • Why is it suitable for a victim of rape to open up to someone they trust about the condition?
  • How has the enacted laws and rules affected the issue of rape cases?

The first question is vital in the sense that it explores the reasons for the victim of abuse to report the case instantly. Talia Johnston failed to report her case to anyone for about three weeks a condition that left her with painful scars she wouldn’t bear. This question, therefore, would help the researcher to seek for new and appropriate reasons for the victim to share the occurrence.

It would lead to the enhancement of new knowledge in the field of art. Through informing a person about the case of rape, then greater and efficient interventions will transpire (Lisak & Miller, 2002). Besides, the process of healing of the victim would become faster, and hence there would be social change. The question will as well open a good way for more research to erupt.

Also, the question “How has the enactment and implementation of rules and laws impacted the issue of rape cases?” is very crucial. In essence, Talia went through a traumatic condition because of sexual abuse by an unfamiliar person. The question would lead to the exploration of the impacts that lack of law application can result in dire effects altogether as detailed by Lisak (2006).

This would add a lot of knowledge for social work. Besides, a critical analysis of how these rules have affected the number of rape cases need to be carried out. There would as well be a positive impact on the social change of the approach taken concerning rape cases. Answering the question would assist greatly in more research to get done about sexual assault.

The author has selected the resources by applicability, the content in the articles and the recentness year of publication of the articles.  The content of the two articles would aid in answering the above questions critically.


Lisak, D. (2006). Understanding the predatory nature of sexual violence. Boston.

Lisak, D., & Miller, P. L. (2002). Repeat rape and multiple offending among undetected rapists. Violence and Victims, Vol. 17, No. 1, 73-84.

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