Research Methods

Due Friday by 11:59pm Points 100 Submitting a file upload

The purpose of this class is to understand the elements of the research process and how to apply this information.  In order to become consumers of research, you need to understand how research is produced.  This assignment will require you to complete a literature review on a criminal justice topic so that you can understand what previous research has found regarding that topic.

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A literature review is exactly that – it is a review of the literature regarding a specific topic.  The purpose of the literature review is to outline what others have found regarding that topic.  This then provides the jumping off point for new research.  In other words, before completing new research, we need to understand what has already been done in the area that we are researching.  In writing a literature review, the first step is to find articles regarding your topic.  The second step is to read and summarize the findings of those articles.  The third step requires integrating your information.  You should not have a paragraph for each of the articles.  Instead, you should be integrating the information together.  Explain how they fit together, how one expands on the findings of a previous study.  Compare and contrast the articles.  Indicate what gaps there are in the literature and use this information to make the transition to your research question and hypothesis.




Some questions that you should address in your review of the literature include:


What was the purpose of the studies?

What did they find?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this literature?

What theories have been used to discuss this topic?

How well have the hypotheses and theories been supported by the research?

How does all of this tie into what you know (or think you know) about the topic?



Your literature review should include a general introduction to your topic, an integrated discussion of the articles you used, a paragraph linking these articles to a research question that you develop based on your topic and why this question is important to examine.  At the end of the literature review, you should present a number of hypotheses based on your literature review.




If you would like to complete your literature review on your topic for the presentations, that would be fine, but this assignment should be done independently.  If you then want to use what you found here in preparation for the presentation, that would be okay.




PAPER SPECIFICS:  This paper should be 3-5 pages long, not counting the title or reference page, both of which should be included.  The paper is to be typed, double spaced, use Times New Roman, 12 point font, and one-inch margins.  Citation method should be APA (6th edition).


Any papers received after the due date will be considered late.  For every day your paper is late, five points will be deducted from the final grade.






WARNING:  The assignment you submit must be your own.  DO NOT plagiarize from sources (such as the articles) as you are writing this paper.  You must include citations in the body of the paper and include a reference page at the end of the paper.  If you have completed this paper and you have not at least cited your articles, you have done something wrong.  If you have used any ideas that are not your own, you need to cite.  I have included some guidelines with this handout on citing.  Please examine this often.  IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ON THIS, PLEASE ASK ME!!!  I would rather you ask me before the assignment is due, than to have to deduct points.  Please see the journals list for acceptable sources.  For this assignment, you need to utilize at least three scientific journal articles.  Additionally, you need to include photocopies of at least three of the original articles.  Make sure to use citations to support your ideas.  Use quotation marks when taking material directly from a source.


See here for a review of the Do’s and Don’ts for Literature Review and Guidelines for Citation and Academic Honesty.




EVALUATION CRITERIA:  Your paper is worth 100 points.  You will be evaluated on the


following criteria:


Concepts (30 points): How well did you apply concepts, theories, and research?

Overall Content (30 points): How well did you discuss, illustrate, and use the concepts?

Construction (15 points): This includes grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.  (Please at       least take the five extra minutes and run spell check).

Overall Structure (15 points): Does your literature review include a title page, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference page?  Also, how well is the paper logically and coherently organized?

Sources (10 points): Have you included a reference page?  Have you correctly cited within your paper?

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