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So what do tPP team members do?

As we begin recruiting for the next class of tPP students, I have been receiving a lot of emails asking what exactly being part of the team entails. Well, in the fall, tPP will be ran through SJS497 where we will learn data science and methodology skillsets in the classroom each Tuesday, and then practice them in the classroom each Thursday. For example, on a Tuesday we may learn how to verify a newspaper story via locating and interpreting a criminal indictment, and on Thursday, use that approach to verify and complete various cases under analysis.

Throughout the semester we plan to cover a wide range of tasks, including but now limited to:

  • Coding cases: This is one of the main tasks of tPP. This involves studying a particular criminal case, collecting the necessary source documents (e.g. Case Docket, Indictment, Criminal Complaint, Plea Agreement, Sentencing Memorandum, newspaper article) and then translating these texts into codes from our code book. For a bizarre cartoon explaining Qualitative Coding, check this out. Like all tPP skills, this will be taught in class and then practiced in a workshop style
  • Checking, improving and verifying cases already in our system. This is especially important as cases change–defendants are sentenced, fugitives are captured and tried, and arrests continue to occur
  • Helping to identify new cases for inclusion through reviewing and monitoring services of the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, FBI and others.
  • ‘Scraping’ and ‘mining’ texts from large documents to help locate new cases for inclusion and to ensure all appropriate cases are counted
  • Evaluating cases marked for exclusion through investigating the facts of the cases and working them through a decision tree
  • Evaluating documents for accuracy, authenticity and reliability; rep-lacing poorly scoring sources with better sources
  • Reviewing the work of your fellow coders, providing peer-review and intercoder reliability and helping to refine the code book
  • Refining the data for analysis which involves ‘cleaning’ the data, shifting its format, exporting/importing and learning how to work with the materials in SPSS, R, Tableu, GIS and a variety of other tool suites.

So if this sounds like you, get in touch with us. Check out this post for information on SJS497 and the application process.

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