Doing Justice

GenEd 0853


Potential Assignments and Exercises



Which assignments students actually were assigned will depend on the size of the course and the particular topics covered.

Each of these assignments can result in a written product.

Title Comment Scope of assignment & placement Link for detailed assignment and grading rubric
On-site observation: two sites: Black and the direction of law
  • Writing Assignment
  • ok for very large class
  • Students will need 3-4 weeks lead time because of field component
  • Large
  • Links to SES dimension of Black model
  • Could be due as early as  week 3-5 of semester
Using a feature of Black's model: Concept Application Assignment
  • Writing Assignment
  • ok for very large class
  • Large
  • This is a major paper in which they apply a key element of Black model
  • Students will need at least 1-2 weeks lead time
  • Could be due in weeks 8-11 of semester, after Black materials have been covered
A Movie and Black's Model: Concept Application Assignment
  • Writing Assignment
  • ok for very large class
  • Medium
  • Students will need 1-2 weeks lead time
Finding Census Data on Jurisdiction with an Example from Hazleton City (PA)
  • Could be outside writing assignment or in-class exercise
  • ok for very large class;
  • includes a tech guide to finding census data using Census Finder
  • used here for Hazleton City, PA; another jurisdiction and another variable could be substituted as needed
  • Small
  • Links to discussion of native born/foreign born dimension in Black model
  • Exercise and "fill in the blanks" part could be done in class, with written portion due later
  • Introduce the US Census - what it is, how it is done - prior to assigning paper

Difficulties surrounding investigations of police excessive force: Applying Black's model to a hypothetical (but realistic in many ways) investigation of alleged police excessive force: Apply and critique Black's model

  • Writing assignment or outside work with in-class follow-up

  • ok for very large class

  • if students watch the videos outside of class, this could be used either as a short paper assignment, or as a way to get discussion started about difficult policing issues

  • Placement is in the 8th week; links to materials on police lawlessness (from NCLO&E readings, 1970s police brutality allegations)

  • Requires students get hold of 2 disks from "Homicide: Life on the Streets," 1990s TV series; this may take them a week or two

Exploring differences in public opinion about justice using Roper Opinion Poll two-way tables: Information/Quantitative literacy exercise/assignment
  • In-class work with follow up writing assignment
  • works best if you have a very small class and all can be on the computer at once;
  • alternative is to have hours when instructor or TA staff a drop-in computer lab
  • Placement in last quarter of class when the Law & Order agenda is being discussed
Getting to the Mid-Atlantic Federal Archive and Looking up 1930 Census Records of Police Officers Involved in the 1928 Corruption Probe


  • extremely time consuming
  • students will resent being required to visit the archive
  • it is best if they first go as a group
  • Archive has Saturday hours once a month; check with the archive; if you use this exercise/assignment be sure to tell students the first week of class that they are going to have to give up a Saturday morning
  • Only do this if you have a very small class, and you notify them up front about Saturday visit
Examining 1920s Municipal Court Reports on Delinquency processing


  •  in-class exercise
  • works in small groups
Mapping 2000 Census Data in Philadelphia to get a closer look at the demographics of the 39th Police District. The link takes you to a PDF file with instructions about SimplyMap, followed by a specific mapping exercise. For an overview of SimplyMap CLICK HERE
  • In-class work with follow up writing assignment
  • Works best if you have a very small class and all can be on the computer at once
  • Alternative is to have hours when instructor or TA staff a drop-in computer lab


  • Moderate scope
  • Students need to create account before they start the work, preferably a couple of days beforehand
  • NOTE: there may be limits on Temple's license in terms of the number of concurrent users. Check with Greg McKinney at Paley before you assign.