Evaluation and Program Analysis in the Criminal Justice System

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Course Number: CRIMLJUS 7730
Course Name: Evaluation and Program Analysis in the Criminal Justice System (Online)
Course Description:    This graduate level course will focus on the key concepts, methods, and issues in the field of evaluation research. Students will be exposed to the theoretical, methodological, and utilization of evaluation approaches in order to design, implement, and assess the most effective programs. Specific focus will center on needs assessment, impact assessments, monitoring, applications of various quantitative and qualitative techniques, and proposal writing. A review of basic research methods principles will also be provided.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online

Registration Instructions

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, you should:

  • Be familiar with basic research method principles.
  • Understand the value of evaluation, and the appropriate uses of evaluation research.
  • Have an understanding of the history, definitions, and key concepts of evaluation research.
  • Know how to access relevant evaluation research literature.
  • Have skills in conducting evaluability assessments, determining program goals and objectives, and determining the needs of populations served.
  • Know how to identify political and ethical issues associated with program evaluation.
  • Be able to review and critique the design, implementation, and findings of an evaluation.
  • Be able to write an evaluation proposal.  

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1

  • Understand what the systematic approach to studying human behavior entails
  • Distinguish the characteristics of science
  • Understand the limitations of science
  • Understand the foundation of science, including identifying concepts, variables, hypothesis, theory development, and types of research designs

Unit 2

  • Understand the history and development of evaluation research
  • Be able to distinguish between summative and formative evaluation
  • Understand evaluation type questions and basic methodology
  • Understand how to tailor questions and evaluation plans to fit the program/policy under analysis
  • Understand the importance of the evaluator-stakeholder relationship

Unit 3

  • Understand how to plan to conduct an evaluation
  • Understand ways to go about collecting evaluation information
  • Understand what is and how to conduct a needs assessment
  • Understand how to express and assess program theory

Unit 4

  • Understand how to formulate questions
  • Understand ways of measuring and identifying outcomes
  • Understand the use of focus groups, case studies and outer qualitative designs in evaluation research
  • Understand the use of quantitative approaches in evaluation research

Unit 5

  • Know what impact assessments are
  • Understand ways to measure efficiency
  • Understand cost-benefit analysis
  • Understand cost-effective analysis
  • Know how to report and use evaluation information
  • Understand ways to deal with ethical issues related to evaluations

Number of Exams:  There is 1 final exam for this course.

Number of Assignments:  There are 7 writing assignments, 6 mini-assignments, and 9 discussions for this course.

Number of Projects:  There are no group projects for this course.

Grading Information

Points and Weights
Activity    Point Total
Summary of journal article  30
4 Abstracts / Critiques    80
(20 points each)    
Proposal    75
GAO Report    25
Exam     75
Weekly Discussion Assignments   75
(3 @ 5 points each, 6 @ 10 points each)
Powerpoint Presentation  20
Participate with online discussions 20
Total Points    400

Grading Scale
A = 365-400
A-= 360-364
B+= 356-359
B = 324-355
B-= 320-324
C+ =315-319
C = 284-314
C- =280-283
D = 240-279
F = 239 and below
*** There is no extra credit in this class.
This is a graduate-level course. You must earn a C or better if you want the course to count toward graduation.

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