Gathering Research Data Essay

Police officers are considered to be very decent individuals because they put their lives on the line day in and day out in efforts to protect and serve in the communities that they are assigned. They devote themselves to guarding and representing their community with the services they provide. Although they live as normal people, even outside of the uniform they are still held at a higher standard that other citizens. Many people may wonder what influences individuals to become police officers.

What inspires the decisions made by men and women to put their lives on the line and take the step in becoming an officer of the law? This paper will examine the process of researching this information. Purpose of the Paper Police work can be very dangerous. An officer never knows what will happen to them when the put on their uniform and go out on the streets to protect and serve. A routine traffic stop can become deadly within a few moments. Furthermore, there are police officers who pursue very powerful and violent criminals. At any given point, their pursuit can become fatal.

Additionally, police work can be very demanding. In some cases it can require very long hours and even sleepless nights. Some police officers are required to be on call at all times. The purpose of this paper would be to determine what encourages people to want this particular career. Additionally, the officers would be asked to express their daily duties and functions. Furthermore, an attempt would be made to provide some advantages of qualitative data-gathering strategy over quantitative methods of obtaining the data. Interview Structure

In order to effectively obtain the necessary information needed for this research, it would be important to conduct interviews with people who are pursuing careers as police officers and also people who have already become an officer of the law. It would be necessary to interview ten people who have already began their career in law enforcement and ten people who are working towards becoming law enforcement officers. The surveys would be compile and compared the answers. In order to complete the necessary interviews needed, I would ask some local police officers if they would be willing to participate until I have the necessary amount needed.

After I have interviewed the people who are already officers, I would then ask those officers if they are aware of any police academy schools nearby. After gaining this information, I would travel to the nearest police academy and interview the individuals who are working to become police officers. Interview Questions It is very important to ask the appropriate questions during the interview process. Since the main focus is about what motivated the person to pursue a career in law enforcement, I would began with a similar question such as, “What encouraged you to become an officer of the law? Also, I would ask, “What are some situations that made you glad about your decision to become an officer? ” I am also asking prospective police officers so this question would be worded differently for them. It would state, “What are some situations that you would like the help make a difference in that would make you glad about your decision to become an officer? ”

“What do you enjoy most about being a police officer and what do you enjoy the least? For upcoming officers I would ask, “What do you believe that you enjoy the most about becoming an officer and what do you believe you will enjoy the least? ” In order to determine what duties the officers have, I would have to also ask questions relating specific to this topic. I would ask, “What are some of the duties you have as a police officer? ” In order to make this question work for those who are working to become a police officer I would word it as such, “What are some of the duties you believe that you will be responsible for as a police officer? Also, “Do you believe that police officers are required to have certain morals and beliefs in order to effectively attend to these duties? ” “What are some of the morals that you believe an officer should have? ” “What are some personal morals that you have as a police officer or will have as a future officer? ’” These questions will be answered from personal experiences that have either motivated the person to become an officer and even to remain an officer. Qualitative versus Quantitative Research

The different between qualitative and quantitative research is that qualitative research creates a hypothesis while quantitative research analyzes the hypotheses. (Hagan, 2010). Qualitative research usually depend on such methods as non-participant observation, participate observation, reflexive journals, field notes, unstructured interviews, structured interviews, semi-structured interviews and analysis of the material and documents, in regards to how the information is achieved. (Marshall, 2006).

Consent and Confidentiality Confidentiality is very important in many different professionals. It is especially important in the criminal justice system. Police officer and even prospective officers may have sensitive information that should not be given or released to the public. In many cases they have vowed to keep this information confidential and should not disclose this information at any time. This is why it is important in situations such as conducting interviews you receive consent to conduct the interview.

It is also important that you disclose to the person being interviewed that that information will be used for public purposes. This way the person will be careful not to provide any information that they do not want publicized or information that you should not know. Conclusion Police officers are very important to the criminal justice system. They have many responsibilities and duties that they carry out each day. In addition to these duties, the police officers also face some great dangers in their line of work.

Each situation that they are presented with daily can become fatal. The research conducted would help determine why police officers choose to put their lives on the line in efforts to protect their community. It allows other people to gain perspective on what morals officers and prospective officers have. It also allows data from people who are already officers and the data from people who are working to become officers, to be compared to see the differences and similarities between the two.


Marshall. Data Collection Methods (2006). Retrieved from

Hagan, F. E. (2010). Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology (8th ed.). Retrieved from