Practicum in Criminological/Sociological Research (SOC 3100)
The practicum is a 6-credit-hour course that offers students an opportunity to gain valuable experience and training in field research through a placement in a criminal justice or other social service agency having a mandate relevant to the study of sociology.
The course is taught and the placements arranged and supervised by the Criminology/Sociology Research Practicum Coordinator. This is a limited enrolment course and the admission process is competitive. The course is particularly recommended for students contemplating further study or a career in criminal justice or other social service sectors.
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The field component of the course provides students with an opportunity to become acquainted with the workings of a selected criminal justice or other sociologically-related agency as well as gain some practical research experience. The Practicum Coordinator consults with the agency to identify an area of research interest, and to develop a research plan for the student's project. An agency representative is designated as the student's supervisor while in the placement, and the Practicum Coordinator provides ongoing supervision and support to the student for the duration of the project.
Students are required to spend a minimum of 105 hours in their placement, normally averaging 5 hours per week over the academic year. These hours may be, but are not necessarily, spent at the agency site. The placements are intended to provide field experience only - they are not paid positions nor do they constitute employment with the agency.
In recent years, field research students have worked with a wide range of agencies, including:
- Manitoba Justice (Correction, Probation, Courts)
- John Howard Society Manitoba
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Restorative Resolutions
- Canadian Centre for Child Protection
- Elizabeth Fry Society
- Manitoba Association of Senior Centres
- Office of the Children’s Advocate
- Macdonald Youth Services
- Winnipeg Police Service
- Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services
- Circles of Support and Accountability
- Manitoba Public Insurance
- Manitoba Criminal Justice Association
- Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
In addition to the field placements, SOC 3100 provides classroom instruction in applied field research methods. The classroom component is designed to teach the skills that students will apply in the field component of the course, as well as in their future careers. It is intended to build upon previous research methods courses by focusing on criminal justice and other sociological research as it is actually conducted in the field. Topics covered include:
- Designing a field project
- Literature reviews
- Constructing and fielding surveys
- Research interview techniques
- Qualitative methods
- Program evaluation
- Data analysis (qualitative and quantitative)
- Writing research reports
- Presenting research findings
Examples of student research projects
The following is a sampling of projects completed by practicum students in previous years (agencies in parentheses):
- “Incarcerated Women and Motherhood Perceptions” (Manitoba Justice)
- "Risk Assessment Tools and CSA Offenders Online and Offline: A Review of the Current Literature" (Canadian Centre for Child Protection)
- "Evaluation of the Pet Therapy Program" (John Howard Society Manitoba)
- “The Impact of Technology on White Collar Crime” (Winnipeg Police Service)
- "An Evaluative Study of Indigenous Harm Reduction Programming for Substance Use" (John Howard Society Manitoba)
- “Responding to Rural Crime in RCMP D Division's East and West Districts” (RCMP)
Eligibility and application
The Practicum is a limited enrollment course and advanced permission is required to register. The course is normally restricted to third-year Criminology and Sociology majors, however, exceptions may be made for particularly strong applicants.
Applicants must have completed SOC 2292 and SOC 2294 or equivalent undergraduate research methods course(s) to be eligible. Applicants should also have completed courses relevant to the area in which they are seeking a placement. For example, an applicant seeking a placement in a criminal justice agency should have completed at least Criminology (SOC 2510) and Criminal Justice & Corrections (SOC 2610).
International students must obtain a valid Work Permit (in addition to maintaining a Study Permit) in order to register for the course.
Applicants are evaluated on academic background and performance, employment and/or volunteer history, area(s) of interest, and on a writing sample dealing with a criminal justice/sociological issue of the applicant's choice. Following an initial assessment of the applications received, a short list of the leading applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview.
Course applications should be submitted no later than June 14 each year to be considered for admission to the course offered in the fall term. Late applications may be considered; however, preference will be given to applicants who meet the deadline.