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Community Service And Criminal Justice

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For the summer between my sophomore and junior year of undergrad at the University of South Carolina, I was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. The program was my first introduction into the world of academic research and created a strong foundation for me to build upon as I moved forward, even before I was accepted. The application process for the program required me to create a research proposal, something that I had never attempted before and I began to understand the complexities of what I would be delving into during the summer. There was no clear direction about what questions to ask or what hypotheses to posit; it was all up to me and what I was interested in. I settled on the two areas that I…show more content…
By learning the software while using data that I had gathered and knew in-depth to conduct analyses that were crucial to my project, I believe that I came to understand the processes of the software much better than I would have in the classroom. My hypotheses for this project posited that areas with greater numbers of community service programs would have lower rates of crime, both violent and property. The results came to show a very different picture: areas with high crime rates had a greater number of programs, centralized around larger urban areas. These results intially confused me but it became apparent that my hypothesis was based on the assumption that these community programs were preventative measures and preceded the higher crime rate. Instead these programs arose as a way to combat and counter the symptoms and byproducts that arise from higher crime rates. While these results were the opposite of what I had hypothesized, I was glad that they were so. It showed me the research does not always follow the path you believe it will and that the results you do get can show something more important than what you had hoped it would. I have presented my findings several times, including at a national McNair symposium in Atlanta and at a global conference, The Ninth World Congress on Mental Health. In continuing my research
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