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PhD Prospectus Form
Students | Complete your doctoral prospectus within this form. Write your responses in the white spaces using a scholarly tone and include in-text
citations and APA reference entries, where appropriate. You can click on underlined terms and headings for descriptions, resource links, and
examples located in the Appendix. For additional prospectus information and resources, refer to the Doctoral Research Coach. Complete the
Research Design Alignment Table within this form using the information from earlier sections and self-assess your research design alignment.
Submit this completed form into MyDR for formal evaluation and feedback when your committee chair indicates that you are ready to do so.
Student’s Name | Click or tap here to enter text.
Student ID | Click or tap here to enter text.
Program and Specialization* | Public Policy and Administration- General l
Submission Date | Click arrow to select a
*Remember that your study focus must be within the realm of your program and specialization area.
Evaluators Only | Complete this section and provide feedback on responses and rubric scores in the form where noted.
Committee Chairperson Name: Click or tap here to enter text.
Second Committee Member Name: Click or tap here to enter text.
PhD Program Director: Click or tap here to enter text.
Overall Assessment: Choose score.
Overall Assessment: Choose score.
Overall Assessment: Choose score.
In 12 words or less, what is the working title for this study? Include the topic, variables/concepts and relationship between them, and the most critical key
Abuse and Unfair Treatment Of Minorities At The Hands Of the Police.
The first step in developing your prospectus is to search the literature related to the general area you want to investigate (see social problem below). In your
review of recent, empirical literature, what keywords did you search and in what databases?
The keywords and databases searched included Spatial profiling , racial profiling , racial disparities in police-citizen encounters, law enforcement
Provide at least 10 brief summaries of recent, scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles that support/justify a current and relevant problem in your discipline or
professional field. Source(s) supporting your framework should be included. Include the complete, APA reference entry, followed by (a) an in-text citation; (b)
what was studied; (c) what was found; and (d) why this research is important in relation to your study. This evidence provides the justification for your
Assari et al. (2018) reported on the impact of abuse, unfair treatment, and discrimination against black Americans on their overall
2. Aymer (2016) examined the challenges that black Americans go through while living in an environment where they are constantly
harassed, treated poorly, and their civil rights are denied.
3. Cintron et al. (2019) investigates whether the talk concerning the behavior during citizen-police encounters is similar across races like
African Americans, white families, and their Latino counterparts.
4. De Soto (2018) provides various views on whether police officers should be trusted by all American citizens equally.
5. DeVylder et al. (2017) focused on the severity of police victimization, especially the victimization of minorities such as African
6. English et al. (2017) shed light on the police-based discrimination experiences of black men living in the United States. In particular,
the authors examine the experiences that black men in the U.S. have had with police officers.
7. Menifield, Shin, & Strother (2019) explores the rates at which African Americans are abused and treated unfairly by police officers in
the United States, especially the improper use of deadly force of African Americans.
8. Robinson (2017) focused on the policing disparities in the African American community. Particularly, the research assessed the
historical relationship between the black community and police officers in the United States, while focusing on the unfair treatment and
killings of unarmed black men from January 2015 to 31st December of that same year.
9. Stokes et al. (2017) provided insights on the issue of abuse and unfair treatment of black Americans by the police by attempting to offer
varied reasons on why blacks have always been treated unfairly and even killed by white police officers.
10. Taylor et al. (2018) assessed how criminal justice contact impacts the experiences of African American men following constant
harassment and discrimination by police officers.
Rubric Standard | Justified > Is evidence presented that this problem is significant to the discipline and/or professional field?
What was the social problem that prompted you to search the literature to find out more? Write in complete sentences using a scholarly tone.
The situation or issue that prompted me to search the literature is the last decade has witnessed an unprecedented rise in racial profiling,
especially with respect to charges of abuse and unfair treatment of minorities at the hands of the police. To those who have not experienced racial
profiling or do not know someone who has, it may seem to be nothing more than a mere inconvenience. However, racial profiling is much more
than a hassle or an annoyance. It has real and direct consequences. Those who experience profiling pay the price emotionally, psychologically,
mentally and in some cases even financially and physically.
Now that you have read and summarized some of the recent literature to understand your problem, and given what other researchers are exploring, what
meaningful gap have you identified that your study will address? (What have others not yet explored about this problem that you will contribute with your
Although researchers have investigated this issue, the topic has not been explored in this way: on the charges of abuse and unfair treatment of
minorities by American police officers..
Based on all of the above information (social problem, literature review, gap), in one sentence, what is your research problem?
The specific research problem that will be addressed through this study is
officers in America?
How are minorities being charged and unfairly treated by police
Rubric Standard | Meaningful > Has a meaningful problem and gap in the research literature been identified?
Rubric Standard | Original > Does this project have potential to make an original contribution?
To address your stated research problem, what is the purpose of your study? Will you describe, compare, explore, examine, etc.? Complete the purpose
sentence below and be sure to clarify your variables/concepts of interest.
The purpose of this Qualitative study is to improve the understanding of racial profiling, especially with reference to charges of abuse and unfair
treatment of minorities at the hands of the police in the United States.
Framework (Conceptual or Theoretical)
What theory(ies) and/or concept(s) support (frame) your study and who are the original authors? Provide an in-text citation with your response, and the
complete APA reference entry with summary in the Background section.
The theories and/or concepts that ground this study include Howard Becker’s theory of labeling. According to English et al. (2017), this
theory emanated from a sociological view referred to as symbolic interactionism, which was a school of thought founded on the ideas of Herbert
Blumer, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, and W.I. Thomas. As a theory of social behavior labeling theory posits that
an individual’s behavior is influenced greatly by the way he or she has been labelled in the community by other people (Menifield, Shin, &
Strother, 2019). Research shows that this theory has been used in explaining various social behaviors among diverse groups, especially among
people of color. As argued by this theory, those people who have been labelled as criminals by society are more likely to take part in offensive
activities than those who have not been labelled as criminals (English et al., 2017). Based on this theory, minorities are often harassed, treated
unfairly, and discriminated against by police officers in the U.S.; because society has labelled them as criminals. According to this theory, the
interpretation of minorities in the U.S. by police officers is often influenced by stereotypes and behavior. Besides, this theory holds that the way
offences are handled once an individual has been arrested is significantly influenced by ethnicity and social class. Hence, minority Americans have
always found themselves being treated unfairly and discriminated against by the police because of their ethnicity (De Soto, 2018).
How do these theories and/or concepts relate to your research problem, purpose, and the nature of your study?
The logical connections between the framework presented and the nature of my study include that an individual who has been labelled as a
criminal is likely to participate in criminal activities. Based on this tenet, African Americans and other minorities in the U.S. are greatly affected by
the label applied to them since such labels often affect an individual’s behavior. The framework for this study will represent the knowledge and
understanding that law enforcement agencies, police officers, and the general public should possess. This study will be guided by two different
concepts. The first concept concerns the understanding of what spatial profiling with reference to the unfair treatment of minorities by the police in
America. The second concept concerns an understanding of the impacts that unfair treatment of minorities by police officers may have on them.
This second concept will impact society understanding of the issue and inform them of strategies that can be employed to address the issue. This
approach offers details on issues that emerge as a result of labelling by society. Moreover, succeeding studies and application of Howard Becker’s
theory offers guidance on ways to end discrimination and unfair treatment of minorities by the police officers in America (Stokes et al., 2017).
Rubric Standard | Grounded > Is the problem framed to enable the researcher to either build upon or counter the previously published findings on the
Research Question(s) and Hypotheses (if applicable)
List the question(s) that you plan to use to address the research problem. Your question(s) must align with your study purpose and include the variables
and/or concepts and how they will be examined.
How are minorities being charged and unfairly treated by police officers in America?
How do minority Americans have a high likelihood of being the targets of severe discrimination in the United States?
How do minority Americans experience disproportionate contact with the United States’ criminal justice system?
Nature of the Study
What systematic approach/method and research design do you plan to use to address your research question(s)?
To address the research questions in this Qualitative study, the specific research design will include the rationale for selecting a qualitative
research methodology rests on its effectiveness in enhancing understanding of law enforcement and race in the United States, especially
understanding of why minorities are constantly charged and treated unfairly by police officers.
Reference entry for the work on which this research design is based:
According to Robinson (2017), qualitative research methodology allows the researcher to understand lived experiences without having to
make any assumption. By exploring research questions in the study, the justification of using a qualitative research methodology may develop
acceptable explanations and interpretations of this study. As argued by DeVylder et al. (2017), a qualitative study is the in-depth understanding of
the ways individuals come to understand and deal with their daily situations in specific environments. Because the goals of this study are to focus
on lived experiences of minority Americans in the hands of police officers in America, the qualitative approach is the best approach to understand
this particular issue and the experiences.
For your planned research design, what type of data will you need and what data collection tools and sources will provide it?
For my planned research design, I will need interviews with minority Americans, Latinos, and non- white Americans who have witnessed
minority Americans being discriminated against and unfairly treated by police officers in the United States. Besides, the data for this study will
consist of interviews with non- white Americans, African Americans, and Latinos who have been directly affected by the issue of unfair treatment
by police officers.
What data points from these sources do you plan to use to answer your research question(s)?
During this study, the kind of data that I anticipate include both primary and secondary data. In the context of primary data, I will anticipate
getting the participants perception, opinions, and feelings about charges of abuse and unfair treatment of minorities at the hands of the police in
America. There is no doubt that most Americans have heard about charges of abuse and unfair treatment of minorities at the hands of the police
since it a commonplace occurrence in the United States (Assari et al., 2018). In terms of secondary data, I anticipate collecting data concerning
information on the severity of racial profiling, the number of minorities who have been affected and even killed because of profiling, and the
prevalence of charges of abuse and unfair treatment of minorities at the hands of the police in America. From the secondary data, I will be able to
gather more facts since such data often contain things that have already been done on this topic. Among the participants there will also be those
who have been unfairly treated and charged by the police officers despite the fact that they did not commit any offense, even killed because of
profiling, and the prevalence of charges of abuse and unfair treatment of minorities at the hands of the police in America.
What limitations, challenges, and/or barriers might you need to address while conducting this study (e.g., access to participants, access to data, requirements
for storing data, separation of roles or other ethical considerations, instrumentation fees, etc.)?
While the analyzed literature documents the effectiveness of the qualitative research methodology to understanding the lived experiences
of minority Americans and other American citizens who have witnessed the issue of charges of abuse and unfair treatment at the hands of the
police in America and the use of the participants’ data, there are numerous limitations to this study. Foremost, while the study will involve
interviewing various people, there are limited experiences from which to draw. The main reason why this would be a barrier is that some of the
participants will be people who have not experienced the issue charges of abuse and unfair treatment at the hands of the police in America or those
who only heard it from other people since unfair treatment of minority Americans has sometimes ended in the death of the victims. Another barrier
or limitation to this study is language barrier. Given the nature of this study, the research may encounter participants who speak slang to the extent
that understanding them becomes difficult. Additionally, ensuring confidentiality and anonymity may be challenging during this study. In spite of
these limitations, the results of this study can be integral in bridging the gap in the literature related to lived experiences. Given the vast body of
literature on the issue of racial profiling, this particular study will add further information on the experiences and perceptions of people concerning
the treatment of minorities by police officers in the United States.
Rubric Standard | Feasible > Can a systematic method of inquiry be used to address the problem; and does the approach have the potential to address the
problem while considering potential risks and burdens placed on research participants?
How will your study address the meaningful, discipline-specific issue that you identified and therefore contribute to your field, discipline, professional
practice, etc. contributing to positive social change?
This study is significant in that by focusing mainly on the charges and unfair treatment of minorities by police officers in America. Unfair
treatment of minority Americans by police officers is a severe issue in the U.S. and is considered one of the leading causes of mortality and
morbidity among minority Americans. Despite being a serious issue, most available studies have examined police behavior. Hence, this study is
unique because it addresses one of the most under researched areas both in the fields of social research and criminology (De Soto, 2018). The study
contributes to the literature involving an understanding of charges of abuse and unfair treatment of mainly minorities at the hands of the Police.
Additionally, this study contributes to a better understanding of the severity of this issue in the United States. The study findings will offer muchneeded insights into the challenges that minority Americans have to go through when they encounter police officers in America. Insights from this
study should help researchers and other relevant bodies in developing a lasting solution to this grave issue. The results of this study can provide
some understanding of how minorities in the U.S. are being abused and unfairly treated by the same police officers who are employed to protect
Walden’s mission of social change is greatly influenced by my proposed research, which is about charges of abuse and unfair treatment of
minorities at the hands of the police in the United States. In fact, my proposed research contributes to this institution’s mission of social change in a
number of ways.
Foremost, my proposed research contributes to Walden's mission of social change in that it informs its policies on social change. In this
respect, this research significantly influences the policies that Walden implements concerning social change. With the help of my research, the
institution's policymakers can develop and implement policies that may make it easy for Walden to advocate for the kind of change that it wishes
to see in the globe (Stokes et al, 2017).
Additionally, my proposed research contributes to Walden’s mission of social change by helping the university develop an improved
understanding of the social problem that the community faces and how best it can be tackled. From the research, racial profiling has continued to
present a lot of challenges to the minorities in the United States despite efforts that have been put in place to mitigate it. Even though racial
profiling is a serious issue, very few people, including social institutions, understand it well (Robinson, 2017). Therefore, my proposed research
will contribute to Walden's mission by improving its understanding of the issue at hand and informs them of how best they can deal with this issue.
Rubric Standard | Impact > Does this project have potential to affect positive social change?
Rubric Standard | Objective > Is the topic approached in an objective manner?
Partner Site Masking Self-Check
Walden capstones typically mask the identity of the partner organization. The methodological and ethical reasons for this practice as well as criteria for
exceptions are outlined here (link to posted guidance).
☒ Check here to confirm that you will mask the identity of the organization in the final capstone that you publish in ProQuest.
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