What is Criminal justice Research Paper?
Criminal justice is an interdisciplinary course that has seen increasing enrollment at the degree and diploma levels over the years. The demand for professionals in the field of criminal justice is high and rising as the focus shifts to crime and criminal activities. This is an exciting career in the social science department that is immensely rewarding. The start point, however, is excelling in your coursework and practicing to gain extensive experience.
Criminal justice is divided into three main categories:
- Policing and Law enforcement. The law enforcement branch comprises agencies, police service, detectives, and investigators who are charged with investigating crimes, tying, and penalizing criminals.
- The courts. The courts are the middle stage after the arrest of criminals and before being convicted and handed over to correctional institutions of authorities. Courts comprise judges, paralegals, attorneys, bailiffs as well as the administration and other support staff.
- Correction. In criminal justice, correction refers to the criminal justice function involved with executing punishment, supervision, and overall treatment of persons convicted of crimes.
Criminal Justice Career Paths
Are you interested in pursuing criminal justice? This is just the first step. As you go along you will need to curve your career path in the following specializations depending on your career goals and interests.
- Forensic criminology. A research field involved in studying criminal behavior that leads to criminal activity. This branch of criminal justice assists criminal justice systems to understand crime and come up with better crime intervention measures.
- Criminal psychology. The study of motivations behind individual criminal activities and behaviors.
- Mental health crime. The study of the relationship between mental health/illness and crime.
- Juvenile justice. This major looks at the juvenile criminal justice system and its distinction from the adult criminal justice system. It covers juvenile delinquency, juvenile offender behaviors, as well as the processing of juvenile offenders.
- Correction and case management. The bridge between prison systems and social services. They carry out correctional casework. They are involved with developing, assessing, and analyzing program needs that may include inmates training programs, ex-convicts rehabilitation and counseling e.t.c for offenders before and after their release.
- Criminology. Study of crimes, criminals, crime victims, anti-crime policies and their impact, the social impact of crime, as well as theories and concepts that explain illegal, deviant, or criminal behavior. Criminology has a wider focus on society as a whole and not just the criminal justice systems.
- Criminal law. This major takes an in-depth look at the fundamentals and foundations of the American criminal legal system.
- Criminal investigation. The criminal investigation covers investigation techniques and principles, procedures, and processes in criminal court proceedings.
- International criminal justice. Looks at crime at the international level. It covers the criminal justice systems for international crime, nature, and cause of international crime including crimes against humanity, international law and human rights, international crime prevention and control.
Even before pursuing your specialization, you realize that criminal justice in itself is broad. It covers many topics that students are required to understand and excel in to move to the next level. Criminal justice affects individual lives, communities, society, and international society in many ways. A criminal justice student is expected to understand theories and concepts of criminal justice and relate them with everyday happenings as well as with emerging affairs. Of importance to note is that the criminal justice course involves a lot of research and studies.
Studying criminal justice? Things you need to know
Several disciplines in academia revolve around research and extensive studies and criminal justice is one of them. While fighting crime and being a part of the solution to society’s criminal-related matters can be exciting, it is equally challenging. For this reason, pursuing criminal justice is not for the faint-hearted.
- Most of your time will be spent analyzing, investigating, scrutinizing issues, and solving problems affecting humans and the community. Also, you will need to refer to precedents to better understand these problems and have a basis for developing positive interventions for the same.
- Criminal justice is not only about law. You also need organizational, multi-tasking, a keen eye for detail, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and others to be able to write a comprehensive research paper on a particular given topic.
- Lay a solid foundation by taking introductory courses seriously. Courses such as criminal justice research methods, college study skills, as well as fundamentals of criminal investigation and procedures will help you tackle more advanced courses ahead in your course.
As we have already seen, this course requires a lot of research into various issues thus students should be prepared to do a lot of research writing assignments. Research work is different from college essays and term papers in many ways. To help you with writing your research paper, we have compiled general but valuable guidelines below. However, let’s first understand why students write research papers in criminal justice.
Research Writing Matters In Your Criminal Justice Studies
Research is a powerful tool in advancing the criminal justice discipline. Research has curved policies, advocacies, principles, processes, and practices in criminal justice to what they are today. In the same light, research will influence the way in which policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders in the industry in various areas including policing, prosecution, sentencing, correction, policies and advocacy, and all other areas of criminal justice.
Here is why research is critical in criminal justice.
- It helps solve mysteries.
A good part of the criminal justice discipline is about solving crimes, mysteries, and uncovering the truth through an investigation. As a professional, you will be researching why people commit crimes, and how their motives, habits, and past history influence their actions. You will study criminal behavior, its impacts, and why it is rampant in some areas more than others. You will also study the effectiveness of policies, processes, procedures, and systems that have been put in place to address crime. Writing a research paper hones your mystery-solving ability which is core to criminal justice.
- Intelligence sharing
In criminal justice, intelligence refers to the collection, compilation, and distribution of information for the purpose of anticipating, monitoring, or preventing criminal activity. Intelligence starts way before your career begins. It starts during your studies. As you carry out research and compile information for your assignments, you will be uncovering information worth sharing with the world.
- Builds critical thinking and analytical skills.
Learning research methodology builds your critical thinking ability and analytical skills. Your intention should be to build strong researching skills including the procedural and intellectual approaches to investigating and analyzing evidence, data, or information. These skills will go a long way in building a successful career in criminal justice.
- Score good grades
Well, every student wants to score top grades and earn a distinction at the end of their studies. Your research paper marks make up a good percentage of the total score in your studies. Good grades in your research work are an indication that you have mastered the ability to identify and solve a problem.
Handy Tips Before Writing Your Research Paper
- Consider purpose. For every research paper, you will write, there has to be an objective behind it, and one that applies to your career goals from a broader perspective. Take some time to reflect on the topic of your research and the insights you intend to communicate through it. Remember that if it does not bring any value to your criminal justice career, it probably won’t to your professor or intended audience. What problem do you intend to solve through the research?
- Your research questions. Is it time to start brainstorming the research questions for your topic? By all means, yes! Brainstorming means putting down every possible research question that may apply to your topic of research before narrowing it down to settle to a few. This process gives your entire research a bearing.
- Seek opinion. Criminal justice research touches on an entire community and the society at large. Collaborating with others to get their view during research is a way of building strong research. Others’ opinions including professors, experts in other fields, and your peers can be a valuable resource during your research.
- When all this is done, delve right into your research. Carry out your research ensuring that you are using recent credible sources of information.
Criminal Justice Research Paper Structure
The standard format of a research paper includes
An introduction. The introduction introduces the background of the study. It gives an idea of the problem, research questions, objectives, why the study is being carried out, and the thesis statement.
Literature review. This section provides an overview of studies that other scholars conducted previously on the same topic and critically evaluates, compares, and analyzes their findings.
Methodology. This section explains the methods that will be employed in collecting data, research design, research participants, and other details of how the student will conduct the research.
Findings. This refers to a report on the results obtained after collecting information from primary sources and applying the methodology to analyze it.
Discussion. This section interprets or explains the findings of the research and their implications.
Conclusion. Recaps the details of the research paper i.e the research problem, research questions, thesis statement, and the findings in brief.
Recommendation. The recommendation section provides suggestions that can be taken into consideration in future studies.
Aside from the elements listed above, research papers vary in length and detail depending on the study.
The research writing process: EssayMojo writers guidelines to writing your criminal justice research papers
At EssayMojo, we have set a high standard for all criminal justice papers that students give us to write on their behalf. We take all the ideas from your brainstorming sessions, organize them, and develop them into an insightful research paper. While we understand that research criminal justice research papers will come with different requirements, here is the basic process it takes to write a standard research paper.
- Topic selection
It is important to note that a good topic in criminal justice equals research success if all other research writing steps are done right. Choosing a good topic makes the research process more effective. We shall help you select a topic that:
- Will follow the guidelines set by your instructor for the assignment.
- is of personal interest to you. One that you can defend without a struggle.
- Whose information is within your capacity to research based on a preliminary search of information sources.
- Relevant and appropriate to your research questions
- Is interesting and original
Important tip: Your research questions should allow you to select as many topics and then narrow them down to the ones you will work on.
- Planning and organizing the research activities
Planning is an essential part of the research. A research schedule helps you to know how your research will be conducted before you start. You will plan where and what time to collect particular data, where to seek consultation, and how much time to allocate each activity. It is a way of making good use of your time and resource.
- Locate research material and evaluate their sources
You already have a topic formulated from your research questions and a research schedule in place. It is time to start identifying sources of information. Remember that your sources of information have to be credible. You can search for books by the subject title. If searching for journals, periodicals, or news articles, make use of the library’s electronic periodical databases. The Google and Google Scholar search engines are also very good information resources. Finally, ensure that you have selected credible sources with top information quality.
- Research and note-taking
During your search, you should be taking notes and noting down the details of your sources of information including the author, title, URL, date, publisher, etc. This makes it easier for you to write the first draft and go back to search for information for topics you feel that you have covered inadequately. Also, this will be your draft bibliography. You may have to go back to your selected sources and dig deeper for more information.
- The first draft
Armed with your notes and sources of information, try to organize them and write your first draft. All information that you use should strongly back your hypothesis. Here you have two options depending on the availability of the information you are searching for. Research further for the missing piece or modify your hypotheses to fit the information you have already gathered. Remember relevance is key.
- The final draft
Important things to note when writing your final draft include:
- Develop your thesis by critically analyzing and arguing your points in reference to previous studies by scholars.
- Properly cite each source of information in-text and in the bibliography. Ensure that you comply with the citation format required by your instructor.
- Editing and proofreading
Read through your final draft keenly a few times making sure that there is a flow of ideas and that all topics are well-researched. Correct typos, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Finally, use a plagiarism checker to check for plagiarism in your work. Plagiarism is unacceptable and comes with serious consequences.
It is advisable to set your paper aside and come back to it two to three days after to go through it again. Secondly, have someone else, a coursemate, or a friend go through it.
Research is core to criminal justice during studies and during your career. As you will be doing several research papers, take time to master research writing skills. Finally, always refer to the research writing guidelines that we have provided if you are ever in doubt.