Policy Research Paper Option: This
choice will have you identifying a policy you are interested in that is
specific in scope, such as firearm restrictions, solitary confinement, supermax
prisons, etc. You will then identify an issue within that policy. Your research
paper will examine this issue in the criminal justice system, exploring how it
is currently being addressed, what improvements could be made, and what policy
you would want to create to address this issue.
As such, this
paper should have an argument/thesis that describes the problem you have chosen
and what the best option is to address the problem and you will need to utilize
multiple sources of information. You must use peer-reviewed academic articles
to support your arguments as well as other policy-related documents. Your paper
will be an informed synthesis of prior research done on the topic of your
choosing, therefore the sources must be comprehensive. You will need to cite a
minimum of 10 peer-reviewed articles, but more are welcome. Please note these
is the minimum for RESEARCH ARTICLES which are separate from government
reports/data, news articles, legislative documents. Paper will be 15-20 pages.
Focus will be on policy/criminal justice problem, finding articles and other
sources to look at all sides of the policy debate/problem, and suggesting a
policy implication based on the articles you collect.
Overall, your report typed,
double-spaced and page counts do not include the title and reference page. Your
paper must be in American Psychological Association (APA) citation style and so
must your references. For some quick assistance with this see the online
Furthermore, your report
should follow the template (with labeled section headings) as explained in
“Organizing and Structuring the Research Report” reading, as
discussed in class, and as outlined below.
The nine sections of your paper are as follows (with the sections that
you are to label in your paper in bold):
Title Page: See student
paper example.
Abstract: This is
a brief summary of your research, no more than a paragraph.
Introduction: This
is your opportunity to set up the “focus” and “rationale” for your paper and
include a sentence or two that delineates your argument.

Why this topic is
important. Why are you interested in it?

Now that you’ve set up
why you care and why we should care, what is your research question?

Background information?
Define key terms for what you are discussing?

Must include your
research question!
Literature Review: In
this section, you must cite scholarly sources that help advance your research
question. Make sure to relate the articles to your research! Don’t
oversummarize, but include pertinent details to why it helps you understand
your current research.

What were the findings of
the studies as they relate to your research question?

Make sure this section is
Data and Methods: Your “discussion of the methodology used for the study” should
provide a description of your data (see how scholars describe their data in scholarly
research articles).
How did you search for
What kinds of sources did
you look for?
Search terms?
you will discuss either your findings from the research or where you will
really make recommendations about the policy and why you think you should do
what you suggest.
o What policy intervention do you
o What data supports your potential
policy implication?
o What are some alternatives?
could your “issue” be attended to?
Conclusion: As with any conclusion, here
is your opportunity to return to the “focus” of your paper and bring together
your literature review and results sections—which you reiterate for the reader
in a condensed way. In this section, you
also should provide either a “recommendation” for future policy or for future

How did you answer your
research question?

What would you recommend based
on this?

What were your limitations and
what would you want to do next?

Why was this research
References: Do not forget that this
section should be in APA style.
Please also attach a plagiarism report as well.

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