How To Write A Criminal Justice Research Paper: Helpful Directions

Criminal justice is an academic discipline that studies how criminal laws are created, applied, and enforced to maintain social order. It is an interesting course where you’ll be required to craft a couple of research papers on a variety of criminal topics. If you don’t know how to approach the task, consider the directions provided below.

Choosing a Topic

You won’t lack good ideas for your paper on criminal justice. Pick any crime that one can possibly commit or take any law stipulating this crime, and you’ll get a perfect topic to write about. Explore the following areas in search of the necessary topic:

  • capital punishment;
  • incarceration;
  • classification of criminals;
  • juvenile justice;
  • restorative justice;
  • wrongful convictions;
  • criminal justice theories, etc.

Working on the Paper

Once you have chosen your topic, do deep research on it and share your findings in a well-organized paper. Take the following steps to succeed in the task:

  • Explore theoretical materials on the issue.
  • The practice of criminal justice is based on a range of theories. Some of them explain why crimes are committed while others discuss how to respond to different types of criminal actions. Relevant theoretic materials can help you set the context of your paper.

  • Decide on your methods.
  • Depending on your topic, different methods can be applied. The procedures in criminal justice are likely to involve:

    • Conducting surveys: prepare a questionnaire and get necessary information from the targets;
    • Observations: observe how targets behave and what they do in certain situations;
    • Conducting experiments: provide some stimuli and check how your targets respond to them;
    • Case studies: investigate the issue by looking through police records, medical histories, court records, or life histories.
  • Conduct research.
  • Your topic idea is a question that should be answered in your project. To find the answer, analyze the data you obtained through any of the aforementioned methods. Learn what the issue or problem is, why it occurs, what will happen if a certain criminal law is implemented, etc.

  • Document all important details.
  • Details add credibility to your paper. Document all actions, equipment, participants, and materials you used to explore the topic and get the results.

  • Write the paper.
  • Your project should consist of the following sections: abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. Organize information correspondingly. Include all necessary details. Research papers in criminal justice should usually be formatted in APA style. If you don’t have any other specific requirements, follow this formatting style as well. Upon completing your work, revise and edit it carefully.