Assignment: Criminal Justice Databases ESSAY



The criminal justice issue that I am choosing to look at is the increased number in K-12 school shootings. Looking at the database presented by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security and

FEMA, we can easily identify a steady increase in the number of school shootings over the past 50 years.

This research is a widely inclusive database that documents each where a gun is shown, fired, or

bullet hits a school building. As a parent, this issue is increasingly worrisome as my children near school

age. Therefore, I am interested in researching it more and using the available data to analyze patterns and

trends within this broad topic.

This database can be used to explore the identified issue in a number of ways. One way that this

issue can be explored further is through exploratory research. This is essentially research that is being

conducted for a problem or issue that needs to be studied more clearly. In this specific case, we can use

this database to look at K-12 shootings in relation to other criminal justice issues (such as gangs, bullying,

and drug related incidents) as there is a portion of the database that breaks the shootings down by

category. Another way that this issue can be is through explanatory research. This type of

research is used to identify the cause and how it can vary based on situation. For example, this database

may be used to explore the correlation between shootings and the shooters affiliation with the school (if

the shooter was a student being bullied or a disgruntled employee). Evaluation research is another option

here, as we can look to see if regions with higher risk for shootings have any type of programs in place to

prevent them from happening, or if they should look into adopting some kind of social program.

Research is important when identifying not only this problem, but any problem in the criminal

justice field. Without proper research, patterns and trends cannot be properly identified and many acts of

violence can occur unnecessarily. Proper research is also important so that communities and groups can

put action plans in place for specific events. Understanding cause and effect, in most cases, can help to

identify threats sooner and ultimately help to catch and identify red flags before a tragic

accident happens.


CHDS. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2020, from

Bachman, R.D., & Schutt, R.K., (2019). The practice of research in criminology and criminal justice (7th

ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications