“The Fixer” Papers Becoming the Next Mayor of Pawnee by Solving the Big Problem

“The Fixer” Papers Becoming the Next Mayor of Pawnee by

Solving the Big Problem

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Overview Exciting news! You are currently running for the Mayor of Pawnee, and

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you and your opponent (Ron Swanson) are neck and neck! To pull

ahead, you really need Pawnee’s Criminal Justice Board of Directors to

endorse you.

The CJ Board of Directors consists of the Chief of Police, the Warden of

the state prison, and the Presiding Judge for the City. So far, the

members of the Board haven’t been able to come to any agreement

about which candidate they plan to endorse. So, they’ve asked you each

to come up with a proposal to identify the biggest problem Pawnee’s

Criminal Justice System is facing, explain that problem, inform them of

how you would solve that problem, and then lastly, how you would

evaluate whether your solution to that problem is working.







Paper Outline The full paper should follow APA format & be at least 3500

words. Each section has a recommended # of words; however, as long as your full paper is 3500 words of your own writing,

that is fine!

Part I: The Problem(s) (750 or more words) (>750 words) • Identify and Explain the problems that Pawnee is facing within its police force

(for paper 2, change this to courts; for paper 3, change this to

prisons/jails/correctional system). This is 100% fictional, and you should have

some fun with this!

• The problem(s) identified should be grounded in real problems. For example, you cannot say that a problem the PPD is facing is that they have hired too many

zombies who are eating citizens. This should be a problem that has occurred (and

there are records of it occurring). For example, perhaps public trust in the police is

at an all-time low due to a few high-profile cases of excessive force, on top of

officers’ exercising speech that may be discriminatory in nature. Or, perhaps

crime is at an all-time high within a few select areas of Pawnee; however,

traditional forms of policing seem to be having no effect in these areas.

• Give a lot of detail here—think about how long it has been a problem, how pervasive it is, etc.

• You can identify one to three problems—it is up to you. There is no correct number here; it is just dependent on how specific or big the problems are.

Generally, I recommend sticking with one big problem and identifying themes

within that problem (for instance, race relations: racial profiling, police-citizen

encounters, and use of force).

• Explain why this problem matters—think about what motivates people in politics/government to make changes (morality is not typically the #1 motivator,




Part II: Background (Literature Review & Theoretical Foundation) (>1250 words)

• In order to understand a problem and solutions to the problem, you will need to provide theoretical foundation and a review of past studies that have examined similar issues. For

this, you will need to cite at least five peer-reviewed journal articles. (Need help here?

See the video on Finding Peer-Reviewed Sources, located in “The Fixer” module).

▪ Past Literature



• How did the researchers of the study define and explain the problem?

• What was the main purpose of the study? (Hint: Look at the introduction and the abstract to figure out the primary goal of the


• Did they use a theory to explain the problem? What theory?

• Within their actual study, how were the data gathered? How were the concepts operationalized from the research questions? How

were the variables of interest measured? How were the data


• What were the findings of the study? (Look at the results and discussion section)

• What sort of solutions do they provide to the problem? For instance, if they were looking at the effects of prison overcrowding

on inmate victimization, they will likely provide some future

research and policy implications in the last section (the discussion).

Look here to help find potential solutions to the problem you’ve


Theoretical Foundation

• You need to identify a theory that helps to explain either the presence of your problem or to justify your proposed solution to the problem.

• You can use either criminological theory (explaining crime and criminality) or criminal justice theory (explaining the CJ system, enforcement, punishment, and/or prevention of


• For instance, if you were looking at police-citizen encounters, you might look at defiance theory (criminological theory). The articles you select will likely have some sort of

theoretical foundation. If they do not—you probably want to look for some that do!

• If you need a refresher on theory, look at the theory notes provided in the “Refresher Module.”


Part III: The Solution (>750 words) • Describe your proposed solution in four parts: needs, approach, administration, and


• Needs: In this part, readdress the problem and explain why is should be a priority

• Make sure to make a case for why this problem must be fixed

• Approach: Describe the solution/project/program. Discuss the overall idea, and then specify its elements and how it would be implemented. For instance, if you are trying to

address prison overcrowding, do not just say “we will get more room for inmates.” That

certainly is not detailed, and it has no longevity as a solution. Dig deep here—remember,

you are trying to get a job with this proposal!

• Administration: Within implementation, remember that you will be the administrator of this organization. Discuss how you would get employees on board, and how work would

be distributed. Think about leadership, management, and organization theories here.

• Outcome: What do you think the outcome of your solution will be? Provide detail here regarding specific outcomes and benefits (both direct and indirect)



• Part IV: Evaluation (>750 words) How will you assess the effectiveness of your solution?

Evaluation Questions

• List 1-3 questions that will guide your evaluation. These are your research questions that should be guided by whether your solution is working.

Evaluation Design

• Your design should be mixed-method (include quantitative (e.g., closed-ended survey) and qualitative components (interviews, observations, etc.). This should be VERY

detailed—someone should be able to read this section and replicate your study.

Data Sources

• Describe your sources of data (for instance, if you were evaluating whether an increase in speeding tickets had an effect on the speeding problem, your data source would probably

be vehicles’ speeds before and after the program was implemented. (This is an example

of quantitative data).

o You could also conduct interviews with drivers to see if they have noticed increases in speeding tickets (qualitative data collection)

• For each data source Identify and define your population, your sample, your sample size, and your sampling technique


Collection Methods and Administration Procedures

• Describe your plan of action in a systematic fashion. How do you plan to collect your data? Identify each step prior to actual analysis of the data. Describe step-by-step how

you will conduct your evaluation. How will you obtain access to your population? How

will you obtain permission to access the population? This should be incredibly detailed,

to the point that someone could replicate your study by following your procedure.

Analytic Plan

• How will you analyze your data? What will your data tell you?

• Are there specific statistical tests you should use? Which ones? (If you need some help here, check out the statistics notes in the Refresher Module—Also, this should be

attempted, but does not need to be perfected).




  • Overview
  • Paper Outline
    • The full paper should follow APA format & be at least 3500 words. Each section has a recommended # of words; however, as long as your full paper is 3500 words of your own writing, that is fine!
    • Part I: The Problem(s) (750 or more words) (>750 words)
    • Part II: Background (Literature Review & Theoretical Foundation) (>1250 words)
    • Part III: The Solution (>750 words)
    •  Part IV: Evaluation (>750 words)

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