Criminology/Criminal Justice

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After selecting your topic the next step is to identify and evaluate sources of information.

To assist you with this task, you will complete and submit an annotated bibliography (see Annotated bibliography assignment for details). After you have engaged in some critical reading and evaluation of literature about your topic, you should be prepared to develop what is known as your controlling question on the topic. For example, if you were writing about Community Policing, your controlling question might be “Why has community policing become so popular in today’s society?” or “What are the major impediments to the introduction of community policing in major urban areas?” or “What effect has community policing had on crime rates in cities where it has been adopted?” A one-sentence answer to your controlling question becomes your thesis sentence. For the community-policing question above, a tentative thesis sentence could be “The major impediments to implementation of community policing are resistance to change by veteran officers and reluctance by police to get actively involved with community agencies.” As you can see, a thesis sentence makes an assertion and can be shown to be either true or false. Statements such as “Community policing should be adopted by major cities” and “What is community policing?” are not assertions and, therefore, not thesis sentences.

The thesis sentence that you write to guide your research will probably change, and hopefully be sharpened, as you do your reading and note taking. The thesis sentence serves to guide your research, writing and, eventually, will inform your reader of the purpose of your paper. As your research proceeds, using the community-policing topic as an example once again, your thesis sentence expands into a thesis statement, which consists of a first short sentence of your basic thesis idea, followed by additional sentences that give the major support for the thesis. An example would be: “Community policing faces a number of barriers to successful introduction into local communities. The major problem exists within police organizations where experienced police officers resist changing their established routines that include getting out of their cars and back to walking beats. Police also are averse to attending local neighborhood watch meetings where they may be challenged by citizens for not making their communities safer. Many police also believe they were hired to fight crime and arrest offenders and that community policing attempts to change them into social workers.”

Research Assignment Parameters

  1. Due in Module 7. You will submit it online through the assignment submission box. Your paper will be checked through the Turnitin plagiarism checker.
  2. The paper must be 5-10 pages.
    1. Must have a title page and a references page (does not count toward the 5 page minimum).
    2. Number each page except title page (Ex. If your paper is 6 pages of content, then your references page will be page 7).
  3. Double-spaced lines with 1 inch margins
  4. Times New Roman, 12 point font
  5. At least 8 references from books, peer-reviewed articles, and technical reports. Personal blogs and Wikipedia are not credible sources. Neither are opinion articles from CNN or Fox News. Utilize the university library, GALILEO, or your local library to locate sources. Within GALILEO, I recommend EBSCOHOST or ACADEMIC SEARCH

COMPLETE as two excellent databases for journal articles. Also, is another excellent source for scholarly articles.

  1. APA (7th edition) format is required for paper formatting and citing sources. There are a number of websites that can assist you in proper formatting. APA also has a print edition, which is a good investment for social science students.
    1. Purdue OWL:
    2. APA Style:


Your Reference page should be on a separate page and composed using APA standards.

Your references should be comprised of books, peer-reviewed articles, and technical reports. Wikipedia is NOT A SOURCE!! You should have a minimum of 8 scholarly sources.

Tips for successful completion

  1. Start early! Do not wait until the due date to start writing your paper.
  2. Pick a topic in which you can find enough relevant information.
  3. Refer to the rubric several times to ensure you are meeting the standards.
  4. Refer to the sample APA paper, if you are unfamiliar with APA formatting.
  5. Proofread, proofread, and proofread! Then have someone else proofread it for you.

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