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Conducting research with the Department

High quality research and evidence based approaches and practices shape services and enhance outcomes in the justice sector. The Department encourages researchers, students, and academics to conduct research that informs the Department’s practice and policy development according to its strategic priorities.

Before conducting research that involves access to the Department’s data, facilities, staff, and/or clients, you must submit an application to the Research Applications and Advisory Committee (RAAC) and receive approval from the Department.

The information available on this page will help you to prepare your application.

Research Application and Advisory Committee (RAAC)

The role of the RAAC is to consider student and researcher requests to ensure they meet the following requirements:

  • a high level of ethical integrity
  • proposed projects are of high methodological quality
  • where applicable, there is consistency of approach across proposed research projects
  • proposed projects will not impact on the safety and security of Departmental personnel and infrastructure
  • proposed projects comply with relevant laws and public sector standards; and
  • proposed projects do not place an unacceptable resource imposition on business areas and they are relevant to the Department’s strategic priorities.

As the Department is the main point of access to courts, prisons and victim services, it is asked to support many research projects. However, the capacity to do so is limited. Moreover, the Department has a duty of care towards its clients, which includes the protection from projects which might cause harm, on-going stress or inconvenience, or do not sufficiently contribute to knowledge about issues relevant to the Department.  For these reasons, the RAAC may restrict research access. 

Research priorities

The Department is committed to building its policies and service delivery on good practice and evidence-informed foundations. It is the RAAC’s responsibility and intention to promote, encourage and support justice-related research to underpin the Department’s strategic directions, planning, resourcing and service delivery.

Accordingly, research projects must:

  • advance knowledge in the various court, corrections and other service delivery and policy areas of the Department
  • contribute to the advancement of knowledge about the justice system.

As such, each year the Department identifies priority areas to guide its focus, and suggests that research applications fall within these areas. However, high quality proposals outside these areas will also be considered.

The current research priorities for 2018-2019 are:

  1. Access to justice and improved effectiveness and efficiency in process:
    1. Particular areas of interest include Indigenous women and culturally and linguistically diverse groups
    2. Assessing the demand and effectiveness of interpreting services available in WA.
  2. Innovative technology/technical solutions in the civil (courts) and criminal (courts and corrections) justice systems.
  3. Solutions to address growth trends in justice system including substance use and Indigenous overrepresentation.
  4. Effective court or correction based interventions to target perpetrators of family violence.
  5. Innovative interventions in the rehabilitation of young offenders eg relevance of risk and resilience.

Requests to conduct research

Step 1: Contact the RAAC

It is recommended that applicants contact the RAAC via RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au to express their interest in undertaking a research project prior to submitting a research proposal. The RAAC will be able to provide advice regarding the timing of applications and appropriate application forms to be completed.  

All research projects should comply with the rules and safety and security practices of Department premises, including courts and prisons. A significant proportion of the Department’s day-to-day business activities are strictly regulated by legislation.  Research cannot be supported outside these rules.

Researchers who would like to visit corrections facilities are encouraged to read the Visiting Prisons page and/or the Banksia Hill Detention Centre page on the Department’s website.

Step 2: Research application

Researchers will then be requested to submit a full application using the Research Application Form (Application Form) and attach all supporting documentation.

Researchers must address the following criteria:

  • alignment with the Department’s research priorities
  • an estimate of the required Departmental resources – access to clients, staff, data etc
  • benefits of the research to the Department, clients and the community
  • brief summary of the research including background, aims, methodology
  • details of ethics approval (note that an application can be submitted prior to ethics approval being granted, however, research cannot commence until a copy of ethics approval has been provided to the RAAC)
  • type of publication intended
  • proposed commencement and completion dates for the project.

The research application should contain a detailed rationale for the project. It should include information about the selection and size of the sample, the practical implementation, participant consent forms, data protection etc. Researchers should include copies of any information sheets, consent forms, surveys and interview schedules with the research application.

Note that the Department does not support the offering of incentives or rewards to any individuals as inducement to participate in a research study. It may be acceptable for researchers to reimburse participants for the associated costs incurred with participating in the research (eg travel costs).

Email the Application Form, together with any supporting documents to RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au.

The research application will then be considered by the RAAC and its members, as well as the relevant business areas. Once a decision has been made by the RAAC, the recommended outcome for the research application will be forwarded to the Director General for consideration and final approval.  After this process is complete, researchers will be informed in writing of the outcome of their application.

Step 3: Post Approval

When a research application is approved by the Department, a staff member will be allocated as the contact person for the researcher. In addition, researchers involved in all successful research applications will be required to attend a start-up meeting with the relevant business area and a representative from the RAAC.

At the start up meeting, the RAAC and the business area contact will:

  • provide support and guidance to researchers to ensure compliance with the Department’s policies, procedures and guidelines
  • discuss any conditions of approval
  • finalise required documentation before commencement of the research
  • organise site visits (if applicable) subject to agreement by:
    • the Executive Director Court and Tribunal Services and by arrangement with the Executive Manager or Manager Court and Tribunal Services; and/or
    • the Superintendent of a prison and/or Manager or Director of any other building/facility.
  • outline the requirement to provide status updates every 6 months or as advised by the RAAC.

Code of conduct

It is a Departmental requirement that researchers agree to the conditions specified in the RAAC Code of Conduct and prior to commencing their research.

The Code of Conduct states that researcher(s) having direct access to Departmental clients, facilities or client data may be required to provide a criminal history report and, if applicable, a Working With Children clearance, at the researcher’s expense.

The Code of Conduct also requires that the Department reviews any outputs prior to distribution, such as the submission of research reports, theses, dissertations, manuscripts, conference presentations, journal publications, press releases and internet postings. RAAC requires a copy of the output at least four weeks prior to its intended distribution/public release.

Researchers who do not comply with the Code of Conduct may jeopardise the success of future applications from that particular research institution.

Once a research application has been approved, the RAAC Code of Conduct should be signed and emailed to RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au.

Step 4: Completion of research findings

Researchers are required to obtain approval from the Department before any research findings are distributed. Distribution is considered to be the provision of research beyond those persons listed as a researcher on the Declaration page of the Code of Conduct.

Email research outputs to RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au at least 20 working days prior to any proposed distribution.

Contact

RAAC meetings are held monthly. Please email RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au to discuss the timing of any applications, or for any other research related enquiry.

For more information


Last updated: 4-Jul-2018

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