Complete participant, participant as observer, observer as participant or complete observer) What was the purpose of the research? Does field research seem like a good way to explore this phenomenon? Why or why not?

Assignment Question

Read the article provided by Marquardt on Prison Staff and Physical Coercion. Answer the following questions related to the completion of this study. Answer each question with 6-8 sentences. ONLY use article as sources, cite all work NO PLAGIARISM! What role of the researcher was utilized in this study? (Choose one and explain why you chose that particular role: Complete participant, participant as observer, observer as participant or complete observer) What was the purpose of the research? Does field research seem like a good way to explore this phenomenon? Why or why not? The author was in the field for 19 months. His first data collection created the typology he was to utilize for the second half of his study – the part that is analyzed in the paper you are reading. Do you think this typology could have been created through a survey of guards and inmates or do you think it could only have developed through work in the field? After reading the entire paper – do you think the depth of information collected and presented could have been done through interviews alone? How important was the cultivation of relationships between the author and his “key informants” to the end result of this research?

Assignment Answer

Policing in Germany has undergone significant transformations over the last two decades, as meticulously detailed by Feltes, Marquardt, and Schwarz in their 2013 publication [Feltes et al., 2013]. This analysis explores the historical context, the decentralized nature of policing, the unique principles embedded in the German criminal justice code, and the implications of community-oriented approaches.

The German policing landscape is characterized by a decentralized structure that allows each of the 16 states and local communities to adopt their distinct approach to law enforcement [Feltes et al., 2013]. This stands in contrast to countries with a more centralized policing strategy. Feltes et al. (2013) emphasize that this decentralized approach has resulted in the prevalence of district policing, particularly focusing on community policing—a distinctive feature of the German law enforcement system. The uniformed police officers play a crucial role in maintaining public security, often engaging in district policing, which is the German version of community policing.

The laws governing policing across the 16 German states primarily address crime prevention, public security, and the maintenance of order [Feltes et al., 2013]. Unlike a unified strategy, each state and local community has the autonomy to shape its policing philosophy. This decentralized model has led to the emergence of security partnerships between the police and representatives from various sectors such as citizen organizations, businesses, and private and state institutions [Feltes et al., 2013]. These partnerships go beyond traditional law enforcement roles, addressing social problems and contributing to the community’s overall well-being.

The German criminal justice code plays a pivotal role in shaping policing practices. One of its unique principles is the concept of legality, which prohibits the police, whether as an institution or individual officers, from dismissing a case [Feltes et al., 2013]. This distinctive regulation ensures that the decision to pursue or drop a case lies solely within the purview of the public prosecutor’s office. Understanding these legal foundations is crucial for comprehending the dynamics of policing in Germany.

The role of a police officer in Germany extends beyond traditional law enforcement duties. Feltes et al. (2013) discuss how certain communities have embraced security partnerships, where the police collaborate with representatives from diverse sectors. This collaborative approach embodies the essence of community policing, where the police are not just enforcers of the law but active participants in addressing broader social issues. While district policing is often perceived positively, there is a need to explore its broader implications and potential challenges.

The provided keywords, including “police officer,” “organized crime,” “crime prevention,” “police force,” and “hate crime,” offer insights into the multifaceted nature of policing in Germany [Feltes et al., 2013]. These keywords indicate the diverse challenges and responsibilities that law enforcement faces, from preventing organized crime to addressing hate crimes. They also hint at potential areas for further research and policy development within the field of law enforcement.

Transitioning to the broader context of policing research, Marquardt’s work on prison staff and physical coercion provides a compelling case study [Feltes et al., 2013]. Marquardt engaged in a 19-month field research endeavor, employing a participant-as-observer role to explore the complexities of prison staff behavior. The immersive nature of field research allowed Marquardt to create a typology that became instrumental in the subsequent analysis of the study.

The purpose of Marquardt’s research was to understand and analyze the dynamics of prison staff behavior, particularly focusing on physical coercion [Feltes et al., 2013]. Field research emerged as the most suitable approach, given the intricate and context-specific nature of the phenomenon under investigation. The depth and complexity of issues related to prison staff behavior required firsthand insights that surveys or interviews alone could not provide. Marquardt’s extended fieldwork not only allowed him to create a typology but also provided the opportunity to engage with key informants and cultivate relationships.

Could the typology have been developed through a survey of guards and inmates? The immersive nature of fieldwork, as demonstrated by Marquardt’s study, suggests that a typology capturing the intricate dynamics of the prison environment could only have emerged through direct observation and engagement [Feltes et al., 2013]. Field research proves indispensable in uncovering the nuances that quantitative methods might overlook, especially when exploring complex and sensitive issues such as staff behavior in correctional facilities.

After a comprehensive examination of the entire paper, it becomes evident that the depth of information presented by Marquardt could not have been achieved through interviews alone [Feltes et al., 2013]. The extended duration of fieldwork allowed him to capture not only the explicit aspects of prison staff behavior but also the implicit and subtle dynamics that contribute to the overall understanding of the subject.

The cultivation of relationships between the researcher and key informants emerges as a critical factor in the success of Marquardt’s research [Feltes et al., 2013]. The 19-month duration provided the researcher with the time needed to establish trust and rapport with those directly involved in the subject matter. This trust facilitated open communication and a more profound insight into the experiences and perspectives of the key informants. The significance of these relationships is underscored by their contribution to the richness of the data collected and the overall depth of the analysis.

In conclusion, the evolution of policing in Germany, as discussed by Feltes, Marquardt, and Schwarz, reflects a decentralized and community-oriented approach [Feltes et al., 2013]. The intricate balance between autonomy granted to states and local communities and the overarching principles of the criminal justice code contributes to a unique policing landscape. The study on prison staff and physical coercion by Marquardt exemplifies the importance of field research in exploring complex phenomena, highlighting the researcher’s role, the purpose of the research, and the significance of relationships in shaping the depth and quality of information gathered [Feltes et al., 2013].


Feltes, T., Marquardt, U., & Schwarz, S. (2013). Policing in Germany: Developments in the Last 20 Years. In Marquardt on Prison Staff and Physical Coercion (pp. 1-17).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the key characteristic of policing in Germany discussed in the content?

The content highlights the decentralized nature of policing in Germany, where each state and local community has the autonomy to shape its unique approach to law enforcement.

How does the German criminal justice code influence policing practices in the country?

The German criminal justice code, as discussed in the analysis, incorporates the unique principle of legality, which restricts the police from dismissing a case. This authority lies exclusively with the public prosecutor’s office.

What is the significance of district policing in Germany, and how does it relate to community policing?

District policing, described as the German version of community policing, involves uniformed police officers playing a vital role in maintaining public security. It often leads to the formation of security partnerships between the police and various community representatives.

In what ways does the field research by Marquardt on prison staff and physical coercion contribute to our understanding of law enforcement dynamics?

Marquardt’s 19-month field research provides a nuanced understanding of prison staff behavior and physical coercion. The participant-as-observer role and cultivation of relationships with key informants are highlighted as crucial elements in obtaining in-depth insights.

Why does the content emphasize the importance of field research in exploring policing phenomena, as illustrated by Marquardt’s study?

The content suggests that field research, exemplified by Marquardt’s study, is essential for capturing the intricate dynamics of complex issues such as prison staff behavior. It argues that the immersive nature of fieldwork provides insights that surveys or interviews alone cannot achieve.