Basic forms of interviewing in survey research

The American Heritage Dictionary (2ed) defines an interview as a conversion initiated by two parties for the purposes of fact finding, assessment of ones qualifications, etc. Interviewing is one example of qualitative research methods as used in conducting surveys. Interviews are usually intended to effectively capture given situations as experienced by the interviewee and not as pre-determined by the interviewer or detective (Modell, 2007). These techniques generally involve broad application of inductive reasoning, investigative research questions, reference to human subjectivity and social context of the criminals under investigation.

There are several forms of interviews used in criminal justice research. A common example is the use of intensive interviewing to gather relevant information. This nature of interviewing comprises of usually unstructured open-ended questions. The interviewer or criminal detective in this case seeks detailed information related to the suspects experiences, feelings, or perceptions. This method does not require orderly surveillance andor scrutiny of the interviewees in their naturalordinary setting. In general, this nature of interviewing usually goes on for an unspecified time period, bringing on board new respondents andor suspects, and new interviewers until a point is reached where no more additional information can be gathered.

During the evaluation process, interviews are conducted for many different reasons including initial introduction, familiarization, fact gathering, verification and confirmation of information either gathered from the respondent or from a different source, and for clarification purposes (Modell, 2007).

The advantages of using interviewing as a data gathering strategy
This method of data gathering has several strengths when compared to other research methods. To start with, interviews are relatively cheap, especially those administered individually by the officers and suspects already under police custody. There are no logistical costs incurred when arranging such face-to-face interviews.

Interviews may also be used in gathering data from several locations. This is based on the fact that they may be administered from distant geographical locations for instance through arranged telephone interviews, use of online questionnaires and mails among other methods. These factors make them more applicable in data collection. In addition, a large population may be accurately described using this mode of research survey making it easier to draw general conclusions (Modell, 2007).

The accuracy levels and reliability index of using interviews is high. For face-to-face interviews, specific information without distortions or manipulation is obtained directly from the horses mouth. This makes it possible for the interviewer(s) to fully exhaust and explore the topics in details.  The interviewers may ask as many questions as possible during the investigation and thus giving substantial flexibility to the cross-examination and analysis.

Standardized interview questions enables the interviewers (detectives) to collect data from different parties involved in the case and comparatively interpret the information gathered from the group different accomplices of the same crime. Standardization also eases decision making by enforcing regular designations upon those concerned. They also give room for the interviewer to clarifyexplain questions thus increasing the chances of valuable responses.

The disadvantages of using interviewing as a data gathering strategy
Just like any other qualitative method of data collection, interviewing relies on the nature, simplicity and type of questions developed by the researcher, interviewee or detective in question. This encounters some difficulties in that some of the questions designed may be minimally appropriate or suitable for all interviewees, probably due to the fact that they may miss some aspects regarded as most suitable for most targeted respondents. Clarifications from the interviewers may result in discrepancies and thus influence the response.

In situations requiring face-to-face interviews, some of the respondents may experience some difficulties in recalling the fine details related to the interview subject. Some of them may also find it practically impossible to tell the bitter truths concerning a controversialcontentious question. Due to this, those concerned, usually suspected criminals end up faking cover up stories in order to secure their freedom. Such actions raise many questions regarding the information gathered from interviews. This gives its reliability and accuracy a benefit of doubt.

Interviewing aids that further enhance the technique
Some of the aids applied include use of interview forms questionnaires with leading questions on specific information needed, use of behavioral observation interview questions and also the application of medically approved methods that may be used to improve ones memory during the interview. Another potential aid that may further enhance the technique is the use of analogies by the interviewer (Modell, 2007). The investigator may relate similar cases, familiar to the respondent when trying to bring a proper image of the ongoing investigation.

The basic process for conducting an interview in survey research
The basic interview process comprises of three steps namely establishing rapport, gathering information and closing down the interview. Each step in the interview has its own requirements and individual protocol. For the interviewing process to be successful, maximum cooperation is needed between the interviewer and the respondent. The first step is the building of rapport. At this stage, some information may be gathered based on the first impression derived from the initial responses. When gathering information, the interviewer in this case asks questions and matches the responses of the interviewee against hisher organizations critical determining factors. The nature of questions asked at this stage is usually probing, intended to dig deeper into the respondents background and may even extend beyond the interviews veneer. Information gathered during the probing usually ends up answering the inner doubts of the interviewer and has a great influence in the overall decision making.

The final stage of the interviewing process is the close up step which ends the session. From this step, future strategies can be formulated based on the success or failures on the part of the detective to draw the much needed information for a specific case. From here, another interview may be scheduled with the same suspect, this time involving a different detective or a panel of detectives in order to ensure fairness and accuracy in the final decision or judgment.

The impact that wording on interview responses
In most cases, the wording and sentence structures followed by the interviewer may have many positive and negative impacts on the responses. In situations where the interviewer uses leading questions, the response is likely to be inclined towards the question. In addition, use of short questions that my either require a YesNo answer limits the response of the interviewee to the choices available. Use of open ended questions requiring detailed opinions and explanations gives the respondent the freedom to predetermine the nature of the response.
The Administration and Operation of the Criminal Justice System
The sentencing process in the United States

This is the courts official declaration of judgment upon the defendant at the instant where the penalty or punishment is set forth. In most US states and at the federal level, only the judge has the power to determine and impose sentences. In many other states, the defendant has the option of either electing a jury or a judge to sentence him after conviction. For capital cases, the sentencing process for many states requires that death penaltyexecution of such offenders should only be determined and imposed by a panel of not less than 12 jurors. The decisions made by the jury may however undergo a review by the same panel in order to exhaust all evidences produced during judgment and also scrutinize the suspects past criminal record. This review ensures fairness in the nature of sentence imposed.
After the sentence has been formally imposed, a grace period determined by the court is usually set aside before the actual dispensation of the recommended punishment. This grace period gives room for any post-trial motions such as appeals filed by the defense lawyers, and also enables the probation officers to carry out a pre-sentence investigation before making a conclusive recommendation to the judge.

The general factors that influence a judges sentencing decisions
The decision by judges to some extent is influenced by guidelines provided by the US Congress. These provisions allow the judges to depart from the traditional judgment requirements in situations where they come across mitigating or aggravating scenarios not properly addressed by the commission on sentencing. 

The recommendations filed by the probation officers may to some extent have an influence on the judges decision before issuing a sentence. This is based on the fact that these professionals with a background in social work, psychology, criminology after completing their investigations are in position to determine how individual convicts may respond to particular penalties. Their recommendation therefore settles on the appropriate punishment.

Mandatory, indeterminate and structured sentencing
Some of the goals of criminal sentencing include incapacitation, retribution, rehabilitation, restoration and deterrence. In the United States, the just deserts model is a high-ranking sentencing philosophy (Schmalleger, 1995). It puts more emphasis on the revenge and retribution elements of punishment. The nature of sentence issued by the judge or the jury is expected to portray justice, proportional to the crime committed. Structured sentencing as incorporated in the federal sentencing procedures is derived from the just deserts philosophy. This model is characterized by a reduction in inequitable and biased sentencing practices clearly portrayed in other sentencing models (Schmalleger, 1995).
Inequitable practices and discrepancies in indeterminate sentencing model are not as widespread as previously postulated by its critics. Instead of making the sentence lenient as expected, the structured sentencing model does not reduce the sentencing discretion. It instead shifts this discretion from the judges and gives room for plea bargaining. Since it criticizes parole, this model tends to weaken the desire of prisoners to undergo positive rehabilitation and thus result in an increased prison population (Schmalleger, 1995)

The development of federal sentencing guidelines
In an attempt to eliminate gross inconsistencies in sentencing, the US federal government together with many other individual states has tried to develop an optimum set of guidelines aimed at ensuring uniformity among judges. This attempt was boosted by the endorsement of the 1987 Sentencing Reform Act, which put in place strategies to reorganize the sentencing process. Despite the great impact that judges may have over the nature of sentence, their powers are surpassed by the parole laws of the states and the federal government and to some cases the state governors andor the president who may either commute sentences or grant pardon.

The significance of federal guidelines at the state level
At this level, there are several programs put in place to minimize the vast discrepancies in sentences pronounced by judges. By the mid 1990s, twenty two states had established commissions to institute sentencing guidelines to be adopted by their judges. Presently, nearly all the US states have put in place standardized sentencing laws that clearly define the nature of sentence or punishment to be imposed on an individual convicted of particular crimes, e.g. armed robberies, murder, sexual crimes etc.

Ethics and Moral Behavior in the Criminal Justice System
Ethical course of action pursued within the context of Kants categorical imperative
The ethical course pursued is to release the lady, confiscate the drugs and make follow up measures to ensure shes enrolled in a rehabilitation centre. According to Immanuel Kants categorical imperative, humans are expected to act by maxims that would guarantee harmony. Such maxims always tend to create coherent state of affairs by completely minimizing the chances of greatly undesirable and unstable scenarios such as losing on the charities, losing police sponsorship among other possible benefits.

Deontology and the Call to duty
This action or decision may be regarded as an individual or personal step. However, it may also be a conglomeration of all the possible states on condition that they are morally binding. According to Kants deontology, such actions do not attract condemnation but ironically attract praise since the actions extend beyond the normal call to duty. If follow up steps are not taken into completion, then Kant argues or regards such a decision as an imperfect call to duty.


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