The Role of Ethical Principles in Improving (Critical) Decision Making

Good evening classmates. My research proposal consists of determining how radical Islamic terrorism is spread amongst convicted inmates, how various countries manage their convicted terrorist inmate population, and the effects of de-radicalization programs. This forum is difficult for me to answer, because I see myself utilizing a little of each method. Non-experimental and the quasi-experimental methodologies mostly apply to my research proposal, however I cannot eliminate using experimental design as well. I chose the non-experimental design method because it does not have manipulation of an independent variable (APUS, 2016). I’m proposing a hybrid approach to answer how terrorism is spread throughout prisons. This will include observations, interviews, and a survey. The formalized interview process will be conducted with professionals (psychologists and trained prison staff) in an attempt to answer questions pertaining to how/if they became radicalized in prison and how were they managed compared to the general population (contained, dispersed, or mixed). The results of such observations, interviews and surveys can assist in determining how radical Islam spreads throughout prison systems as well as seeing the effects of how prisoners are being managed in relation to curbing recruitment. I also plan to utilize two assessments already in use: Extremism Risk Guidelines (ERG22+) and the VERA (Violent Extremist Risk Assessment). These two assessments, used in conjunction with a survey should culminate in an effective approach for combating radical Islam within prison systems.

A quasi-experimental design can be applied to convicted terrorists who have gone through a de-radicalization program. Rather than randomly assigning subjects to an experimental or control group, quasi-experiments utilize the pre-test and post-test to measure the phenomenon (APUS, 2016).  A pre-test of attitudes, beliefs, and feelings will be conducted on convicted inmates prior to their participation in de-radicalization. Following vocational training, counseling, and individual and group therapy sessions, a post-test can be given to the participants to determine if any change has been made when compared to the pre-test. This will give valuable insight into the effectiveness of de-radicalization programs. When inefficiencies are found, changes can be made and the program can be altered for future practice.

Experimental design can be applied to this research proposal. According to our readings, experimental design compares two equivalent groups (cooperating convicted terrorists vs non-cooperating convicted terrorists) (APUS, 2016). These two groups can be divided and treatments, such as counseling sessions, group therapy, and intervention can be applied to one group, while the other group (control group) would consist of the inmates that choose to not partake in de-radicalization programs. The findings from this design can also further prove not only the effectiveness, but the validity and reliability of de-radicalization methods.




APUS. (2016). Understanding Experimental Designs in Research.


My research proposal is on the topic of “The Role of Ethical Principles in Improving (Critical) Decision Making”. Experimental research is commonly used is the science of psychology. The proposal is focused around this science because the question being asked is weather ethical training effects the thought process of a police officer in immoral/unethical dilemmas. Social scientists are the ones who mostly use experimental research to test human behavior. The disadvantage to experimental research is human responses in experimental research can be difficult to measure. (Oskar, 2008)

An experiment is often conducted because the scientist wants to know if the independent variable is having any effect upon the dependent variable. Variables correlating are not proof that there is causation. (Jung, 2014) Experimental research is the most familiar type of research design for individuals in the physical sciences and a host of other fields. This is mainly because experimental research is a classical scientific experiment, similar to those performed in high school science classes.

Experiments are more often of quantitative nature than qualitative nature, although it happens. Experiments are conducted to be able to predict phenomenon. Typically, an experiment is constructed to be able to explain some kind of causation. Experimental research is important to society – it helps us to improve our everyday lives. They are of 3 types, namely; pre-experimental, quasi-experimental, and true experimental research. (Jung, 2014) Experimental research contains dependent, independent and extraneous variables. The dependent variables are the variables being treated or manipulated and are sometimes called the subject of the research.

Field experiments are done in the everyday is real life environment of the participants’ or is my case the police officer. The experimenter still manipulates the independent variable, but in a real-life setting. (Oskar, 2008) The strengths of this test contributes to the behavior in a field experiment is more likely to reflect real life because of its natural setting, like higher ecological validity than a lab experiment, and there is less likelihood of demand characteristics affecting the results, as participants may not know they are being studied. (Jung, 2014) This occurs when the study is covert. This experiment also has limitations like having less control over extraneous variables that might bias the results. This makes it difficult for another researcher to replicate the study in exactly the same way.

In conclusion, experimental research is suitable for research whose goal is to examine cause-effect relationships, like explanatory research. It can be conducted in the laboratory or field settings, depending on the aim of the research that is being carried out. (Oskar, 2008) Field work is where the focus would have proposed and the research would be conducted.


Oskar Blakstad (2008). Experimental Research. Retrieved Mar 16, 2020 from

Jung, C.G (2014) “Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 2: Experimental Researches”. Princeton University Press.

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