Death penalty process analysis essay


Research focus and hypothesis

In this paper, I will examine the controversial issue of the death penalty. The debate over whether or not capital punishment for state crimes is an efficient deterrent for future crime has raged on over the years with a lot of states in the United States changing their stand on the matter with various changes in administration (Guyys, 2009). Currently, only 19 states in the United States have banned capital punishment while a staggering 31 states practice it. The remaining four states rely on a gubernatorial moratorium on the matter (NCIP, 2016).

Variables of the study

The independent variable for this study will be the crime rate within these states over the years. I will be compiling information off a few studies conducted over the years to try to examine if the death penalty is a deterrent for future crime or not. The dependent variable of this study will be an exploration of whether the states that practice capital punishment have lower incidences of the death penalty.

Research methodology

Methodological approach

I plan to use a qualitative methodological approach for my research that will be deductive and will entail the exploration and explication of said variables. This will be an exploratory study. The research will take into account a few of the states that practice capital punishment and critically examine the number of capital crimes committed before and after the state has executed a number of these criminals to determine whether the capital punishment has had any effect as a deterrent to capital crimes in those particular states. I will do the same with the states that do not practice capital punishment to have a scale of comparison between the two.

Internal and external validity

The research will take into account aspects of history, maturation, and testing it commensurately to ensure that it holds its ground against threats of internal and external validity.

Participant selection process

The participant selection process will capture a region-based selection of an even number of states that practice the death penalty with clear statistics of their crime rates over a number of years vis-à-vis the number of states that do not practice the death penalty with the same kind of statistics so that a clear comparison can be drawn.

Ethical considerations

This being a controversial matter as it involves life and death, the ethical standpoint comes in strongly. The main aspect that would require ethical consideration would be the subject of religion. What specific religions dictate on the subject of capital punishment will need to be considered as well as a conflict of interest for the researcher in case there is some sort of bias to one side of the study.

Data collection process

Data will be complied from a few case studies that will provide statistics on capital punishment rates in various states over a number of years. The most prevalent case studies that will be feature in this study are those from the U.S Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Research Council of the National Academies and a number of case studies based in the various states that practice capital punishment such as California, Arizona, and Colorado (Johannsen, 2012). Most of this information will be collected from the Death Penalty Information Centre website, which features fact sheets on state to state executions and even offers information on upcoming and past executions in every state. These case studies feature information concerning each state’s crime rates in percentages alongside the number of capital executions from the year 1990 to the current year in order to give a clear representation on the levels of crime so that one can deduce for themselves whether or not the levels of crime have reduced, remained stagnant or have risen.

The research will then compile the information collected from the various case studies in order to examine it and come up with a hypothesis that has evidence backing. This study will not put anyone involved in any risk, emotional or otherwise since it will be an ambiguous study that will not involve direct contact with any person in line for capital punishment and will involve no one but myself researching on the internet. My study can however be submitted to an Institutional Review Board that deals specifically with matters relating to capital punishment to ensure that the information compiled is correct and not slanderous in any way to the institutions in charge of correction.

Study timeline

Since this study will solely be operated by myself and involve the collection of information from the internet, the approximate would be two months. This timeline captures the amount of time that the Institutional Review Board would require to review my study and ensure that it is up to par with the information that they have pertaining the matter and have it back to me in time to be able to make changes if necessary.

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  1. Guyys, B. (2009). ‘Effects of Change in Administration.’ Justice Review: Houston. 1(12)
  2. Johannsen, J. (2002, July 12). Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime? Comparing States. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from
  3. States with and Without the Death Penalty. (2016, October 21). Retrieved May 08, 2017, from
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