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Using Online Study Groups to Prepare Police Promotional Candidates

, Wilmington University , United States

Wilmington University . Awarded


Quality policing requires selecting and retaining the best and the brightest officers and supporting their advancement into the leadership ranks of police organizations. This study investigates two aspects of police promotional testing: identifying and understanding the barriers to participation in the promotional process and the use of online study groups as a mechanism for supporting law enforcement officers in the promotional process from corporal to sergeant. Moreover, the study examines whether there will be a significant difference in exam scores after the intervention of an online study group.

The study participants were the 393 Delaware State Police corporals who were eligible to participate in the promotional test to rank of sergeant. Data was obtained by the use of several instruments. A survey questionnaire was distributed to the eligible troopers who did not participate in the process. This survey was used to determine the barriers that prevented the troopers from participating in the process. A second survey questionnaire was distributed to the 95 troopers who took the written exam. This survey asked the respondents to identify whether or not they were a member of the virtual study group, hours of study time, importance of anonymity in the study group, study strategies utilized, and level of experience in taking the written exam. The information was analyzed and a comparison of study strategies, hours of study, and level of experience were made between those who participated in the virtual study group and those who chose not to participate in the virtual study group. Moreover, comparisons were made between the test scores of virtual study group participants and non-participants. A further breakdown by demographics was also completed.

While the results of the study are not considered statistically significant, the results are meaningful and encouraging with virtual study group participants out performing non-virtual study group participants. This research study offers a new approach to promotional test preparation and highlights how innovative and creative collaborative partnerships can impact institutional practices.


Kirkpatrick, B.L. Using Online Study Groups to Prepare Police Promotional Candidates. Ph.D. thesis, Wilmington University. Retrieved July 23, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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