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CRJ 101: Behavior Theories Paper

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on any research project, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. 

Q. How long is the paper? 

Your paper should be at least 2 pages long.

Q. How many sources?

You must include 2 articles that support your theory on justice and at least 2 quotes from each article.

Q. What kind of sources?

You must use scholarly, peer-reviewed sources for this assignment. Newspaper articles are not accepted sources.

Q. How do you cite sources?

You will cite your sources using APA format. Check out the library's sample APA paper for formatting instructions.

Q. What is due?

What do you have to turn in? Is it just a paper? Are there other pieces like a rough draft, outline, summary, reading response, a tutorial, etc.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this project? Is there one due date for everything or are there multiple due dates for different parts of the assignment?  Plan out your time, so you don't get stuck doing all the work at the last minute. Plan extra time in case you have problems or get stuck.

Q. What other requirements should you make note of? 

Are there requirements to include a certain number of quotes or paraphrases? Do you need to have a certain number of paragraphs? Do you need visuals/images? current statistics? Make note of any other requirements on the assignment sheet, and ask your instructor for clarification on any parts you're not sure about.

Selecting a Topic

There are many ideas within the criminal justice field as to why people commit crimes and there are equally, if not more, thoughts as to what the criminal justice system should do with those who break the law. The following is a list of a few of them: 

  • Crime Control Perspective
  • Rehabilitative Perspective
  • Due Process Perspective
  • Nonintervention Perspective
  • Equal Justice Perspective
  • Restorative Perspective

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research project is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have an interest?

Look up each of the perspectives listed above. You will find there are more than those but these are a good starting place. Select the perspective you believe most closely aligns with your thoughts on justice within the criminal justice field. 

Q. Are there sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.