Research Proposal Paper Sample: Mental Health Screening in Prisons

Published: 2022-07-28
Research Proposal Paper Sample: Mental Health Screening in Prisons
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Psychology Mental health
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1225 words
11 min read

Q1. Research Study Problem

"The research study aims at determining whether the standardized psychological tests are effectively and ethically applied in carrying out mental health screening and evaluations in prisons."

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Q2. The Refined Research Question and Hypothesis (Null and Alternative)

"The alternative hypothesis checks whether there is a positive correlation between the use of standardized tests and the torturing of prisoners resulting from these tests. On the other hand, the null hypothesis investigates whether there is no relationship between standardized tests and the torturing of prisoners. Nonetheless, the refined research question is determining the relationship between standardized tests and the torturing of prisoners."

Q3.The Independent and Dependent Variables Plus their Operational Definitions

The independent variables are the demographic variables such as gender, race, mental health status and sex (Currier, Holland, & Malott, 2014). On the other hand, the dependent variables include physical assault, sexual assault, depression, and trauma.

Q4. Inclusion and Exclusion Characteristics

The inclusion characteristics will involve those individuals who have been admitted to prison and were invited to participate in the study; who have undergone the mental health screening test (Martin, Potter, Crocker, Wells, & Colman, 2016). On the other hand, the exclusion characteristics will involve those inmates who did not participate in the study or withdrew their consent before the end of the study.

Q5. Participants in the Study

The study will incorporate both male and female inmates from various prisons across the country. The research study aims to incorporate around five hundred participants; At least the number will not go below four hundred participants taking into consideration the inclusion and exclusion characteristics.

Q6. How to Recruit the Sample

The participants in the study will be recruited through sending emails to their living quarters as well as posting flyers in their social areas (Begun, Early, & Hodge, 2016). The convicts who are interested in being part of the study will inform the facility staff, who will, in turn, inform the research team. Additionally, a team member will be sent to explain the purpose of the study to the interested persons as well as solicit their participation.

In preparation of the interviews, phone calls will be arranged for each participant; this will help in tracking the interview as well as scheduling the final in-person interview. However, personalized letters will be sent as a backup in case the phone calls are not sufficient. The letters will contain the information about how the participants can contact the research team. Nonetheless, the participants will be given a small monetary honorarium like $6 to compensate for their time.

Q7. Measurement Instrument and the Type of Measurement Data the Instrument Produces

One of the instruments to be used in the study is a Mental Health Consumer Outcomes System; this instrument will be used to assess the impact of services on the respondents. The other instrument will be a quality of life scale; this will cover how the respondents feel about their mental health status. A scale of 4 will demonstrate that respondents are very pleased, 3 will demonstrate mostly satisfied, 2= dissatisfied or equally satisfied, 1 will indicate mostly dissatisfied and 0 will mean terrible (Begun, Early, & Hodge, 2016).

Also, the study will use Detailed Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress (DAPS); this tool will be used to assess associated characteristics and traumatic symptoms related to a specific traumatic event (Briere, Agee, & Dietrich, 2016). Additionally, the DAPS will have a relative trauma exposure scale that will help in indicating cases of cumulative trauma among the respondents.

Q8. Issues to be Covered on Informed Consent

One of the issues to be covered is about the privacy act where the data obtained will specifically be used for research purposes. Other issues to be covered include the potential risks and benefits of participation, the procedure to be undertaken, the expected duration of the research, maintenance of confidential records, a statement indicating that the participation is voluntary and can be discontinued any time. More so, it should be noted that the refusal to participate in the study will amount to no benefit or loss to participants.

Q9. Ensuring Safety of Participants

The safety of participants should continue even after the study has to come to an end or when the participants have signed the informed consent form. There should be ongoing communication between the participants and the study team. Nonetheless, the study data should be reviewed on a regular basis to guarantee proper interpretation and reporting of events.

Q10. Possible Threats to Validity and Steps to Minimize Them

One of the threats is the occurrence of events that could alter the outcome of the study, for instance, an inmate may be released or transferred to another prison. Some changes might occur to participants in the course of the study that might affect the results of the study. For instance, some prisoners may get sick. On the other hand, there might be effects on the outcomes of the research due to inconsistency in the use of the measurement instruments. For example, what the instruments are measuring can change in the duration of the study.

Steps for minimizing threats to validity will involve standardization of conditions under which the research will be carried out, gathering maximum evidence as possible from the participants and the procedural details of the research. Lastly, choosing the most appropriate research design would be essential in minimizing possible threats to validity.

Q11. The Parametric or Nonparametric Inferential Statistical Process to be Used

The proposed study is going to use the correlation method (Thomas, et al., 2016). The above statistical test is the best fit for the study because it will give room for investigating naturally occurring variables that may be difficult or unethical to test experimentally. Nonetheless, the test will enable the establishment of a relationship between variables.

Q12. The Acceptable Behavioral Research Alpha Level for Failing to Accept or Failing to Reject the Null Hypothesis

The proposed study's alpha level will be 0.05 at a 95% confidence level (Mollica, et al., 2014). Hence, when p is equal to or less than 0.05 we will reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis. This is because at less than 5% the study will indicate that psychological tests and torturing of prisoners could happen too frequently in that there is no relationship between the two.


Begun, A. L., Early, T. J., & Hodge, A. (2016). Mental health and substance abuse service engagement by men and women during community reentry following incarceration. Administration Policy Mental Health, 207-218.

Briere, J., Agee, E., & Dietrich, A. (2016). Cumulative trauma and current posttraumatic stress disorder status in general population and inmate samples. Psychological Trauma: Theory, research, practice, and policy, 439-446.

Currier, J. M., Holland, J. M., & Malott, J. (2014). Moral injury, meaning making, and mental health in returning veterans. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1-12.

Martin, M. S., Potter, B. K., Crocker, A. G., Wells, G. A., & Colman, I. (2016). Yield and efficiency of mental health screening: A comparison of screening protocols at intake to prison. Plos one, 1-13.

Mollica, R. F., Chernoff, M. C., Berthold, S. M., Lavelle, J., Lyoo, I. K., & Renshaw, P. (2014). The mental Health sequelae of traumatic head injury in South Vietnamese ex-political detainees who survived torture. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 1626-1638.

Thomas, E. G., Spittal, M. J., Heffernan, E. B., Taxman, F. S., Alati, R., & Kinner, S. A. (2016). Trajectories of psychological distress after prison release: implications for mental health service need in ex-prisoners. Psychological Medicine, 611-621.

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