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Level 6 undergraduate research projects – how to maximise the impact and value within UK policing

Research into the value and impact of Level 6 undergraduate research projects that support UK evidence-based policing.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Zoe Tetley
Police region
East Midlands
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

Evidence-based policing is leading the way in best practice for UK police forces and the College of Policing's Crime reduction toolkit is a database summarising the best-available evidence in what works to reduce crime.  However only Level 7 and above research projects are considered and shared as part of this framework.

The aims of this research project are:

  • to examine and understand the current impact and value of Level 6 undergraduate research projects in three regional police forces
  • to explore national best practice in the use of Level 6 undergraduate research projects in the context of UK policing
  • to develop a framework that will assist the operational use of Level 6 undergraduate research projects

As a result of a literature review, little evidence has been found to understand these aims and objectives and the review was extended to include any field of occupation in the UK.

The main themes found in the literature review were the impact and value to the individual students and how the projects enhanced their abilities and skills in research skills and critical thinking. Another theme that was identified was the improvement of the students' written communication skills and self-assurance.

Research methodology

An examination of three UK constabularies and their current processes will expand the knowledge of how evidence-based policing is being used.

A qualitative approach through semi-structured interviews, as described by Bryman and others (2016, chapter 9), will be used to obtain knowledge from these constabularies. An unstructured interview will also be carried out with the College of Policing to establish their current practices and whether there is any scope for change in the future.

A focus group of students currently studying the degree in Professional Policing will also accompany this research to add the views of the subjects. These methods will employ primary data in an inductive approach to identify a framework by using an epistemological orientation, interpretivism and realism approaches. 

The semi-structured interviews will allow consistency and standardisation to the answers received without bias and diversion, minimising errors, but also allowing freedom to divert where necessary. The questions, through an interview schedule, and answers, will be recorded.

The research will support the realistic evaluation theory as the resolve of evaluation research is to ensure that the advancement of policy and practice are continuous in policing. The research will then be distributed within policing to allow for future practices and joint working to be enhanced.

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