|Type of paper:
|United States Data analysis Analysis Law Statistics
A survey is an essential method of data collection used by most local police agencies during law enforcement. A study is a method of taking people's ideas or perspectives as a method of obtaining information. Notably, the classification of surveys is according to two ways: instrumentation and time involved in collecting data. According to instrumentation, survey research is the questionnaires, interviews, and online reviews, while, according to the period, are cross-sectional and longitudinal. However, these types of studies are preferably advantageous, but some areas require improvement. Therefore, this paper seeks to compare various types of surveys and ways of improving them.
Questionnaires are typically using paper and pen as instruments to administer research questions to the respondent. Notably, this research method consists of closed-end questions and response options. However, some questionnaires ask open questions, making it easy to explore the respondent's ideas. For instance, the Georgia police agency used questionnaires to collect information on the causes of murder in Georgia City (Kennedy, 2020). These police potently utilized a self-administered survey, also known as a mail survey, to improve the response rate. However, questionnaires limit the ability of the researchers to understand respondents' answers.
On the other hand, some police, such as the Kansas police agency, conduct interviews to collect data for law enforcement. Interviews are more personal as compared to questionnaires. This type of survey provides enough freedom for the respondents (Taylor & Rand 2019). The discussions include only two people, the researcher, and the respondent. Consequently, interviews are the most accurate and reliable survey method. However, this method is time-consuming and costly as compared to the online survey.
In contrast to that, other classifications of surveys according to period includes cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. A cross-sectional survey involves researching for a single period, while longitudinal research is conducted for several periods in a particular region.
The South Carolina police agency used the longitudinal survey to determine changes in law enforcement as crime is concerned. The police agency conducted a longitudinal study by collecting data multiple times after some duration in the South Carolina city (Harris, 2018). Subsequently, this survey method utilizes questions about a particular topic; for instance, in 2010, South Carolina police agency conducted the same survey asking teenagers views on drug abuse and its causes. The result shows that this study method is preferred to administer a comparison between different variables (Harris, 2018). For example, in the case of drug abuse and peer pressure, the research seems to have very limiting disadvantages since researchers collect data repeatedly, making it accurate and reliable.
On the other side, when a researcher gathers data in a particular region at a single period, he or she is doing a cross-sectional survey. The Delaware police agencies used a cross-sectional study to obtain data concerning political hate speeches after the 2016 general elections (Kindermann, 2017). This type of survey may not utilize all the questions and may not involve any changing factors over time due to a short time. Cross-sectional therefore becomes least reliable.
Finally, Oregon police are utilizing technology to collect data by making online surveys accessible in the city. In this case, researchers send a set of questions to the targeted respondents over the World Wide Web. Using the internet, the police agency gets feedback from the public from various environments without physical movement (Biemer, 2019). The online survey, therefore, reduces the cost that could be used to conduct environmental research. However, an online survey has limited access to a larger population since some people may lack access to the internet and cellphones. As a fact, even though most types of surveys seem to have advantages, some need improvement.
In a questionnaire, limited ability by researchers to understand respondents' answers is a significant challenge. Notably, most respondents answer surveys in an unclear manner that becomes hard to understand due to language barriers (Kennedy, 2020). Therefore, the government should provide enough education to the public about the English language and the importance of understanding questionnaires before answering.
Significantly, direct interviews are costly and time-consuming. With an increasing number of web surveys, police agencies should not ignore it. To address this challenge, police agencies concerning research should develop more web surveys with an extensive database that respondents can access easily. For instance, questionnaires should be available for the target population via cellphones or internet connections through zoom or any other web (Harris, 2018). By introducing online interviews, a widespread community can conduct interviews at a particular time rather than personal interviews by each individual. Fortunately, this can save time and costs for transport.
Consequently, a cross-sectional survey, as the least reliable method of investigation, needs a lot of improvement. This survey does not utilize all questions, and it is conducted once hence cannot consider changes in time. Researchers should consider repeating the research overtime to gain changes and provide enough time to utilize all the questions. The courses of conducting a survey just for one period may include inadequate papers for answering the questions (Biemer, 2019). Government and research organizations, therefore, should provide enough documents to police agencies conducting the surveys.
Consequently, a significant challenge present with online surveys is the lack of access to the internet and electronic gadgets. The government should install free Wi-Fi for the public and offer subsidies to cellphone companies to reduce the cost of buying cellphones. Besides, random sampling of the population is not available; hence, researchers should consult the participants if they could participate in answering questions via their telephones (Brick, 2020). However, the pioneering company in Germany has developed a panel of respondents who use WebTV with internet access for participants to use from their homes (Brick, 2020).
Besides, sampling surveys or probability sampling has resulted in the collection of data from smaller geographical areas. Notably, the U.S. census bureaus conducted a random sampling in 2015 to collect information about people’s ideas concerning the presidential candidate of their choice (Taylor & Rand 2019). The result was ineffective because respondents were in a small number. Therefore, police agencies should conduct extensive surveys to give a more accurate report. These comprehensive surveys will improve on the quality of data by involving more participants.
In conclusion, the paper provided comparisons between various types of survey researches used by local police agencies. Some of the methods had advantages, but there should still be an improvement to ensure their efficiency. This sample discussed the causes of such challenges and ways to solve them. These methods include questionnaires, interviews, and cross-sectional, longitudinal, and online surveys. The need to improve these methods would enhance the accuracy and reliability of data. Therefore, this paper recommends the government to support modern ways of surveying to enable police agencies to enforce laws effectively.
Biemer, P., Groves, R., Lars L., Mathiowetz, M., & Sudman, S. (Eds.). (2019). Measurement errors in surveys. New York: John Wiley
Brick, J. M., Waksberg, J., Kulp, D., & Starer, A. (2020). Bias in list-assisted telephone samples. Public Opinion Quarterly, 59, 235.
Harris Interactive. (2018, February). Our methodology for online research [Online]. Rochester, NY: Author. Available: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/about/methodology.asp
Kennedy, J. M., Kuh, G. D., & Carini, R. (2020, May). Web and mail surveys: Preliminary results of comparisons based on a large-scale project. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Portland.
Kindermann, C., Lynch, J., & Cantor, D. (2017, April). Effects of the redesign on victimization estimates [Online]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Taylor, B. M., & Rand, M. (2019, August). The National Crime Victimization Survey redesign: New understandings of victimization dynamics and measurement. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Sociological Association, Orlando, FL.
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