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CRJ/SOC 467: Drugs, Crime, & Justice

Research Guide for CRJ/SOC 467

Writing Your Reflection Paper and Essay Exams

Your reflection paper and essay exams should have an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Sections

1. Introduction: summarizes what you will write and puts it into context

  • Start the introduction with background that contextualizes the paper's main topic
  • End the introduction with a thesis statement, which outlines the main points of the paper and how you will address them

2. Body: presents the main points of the paper, with each paragraph representing one aspect of the paper's main focus. Prioritize and organize your main points and paragraphs to logically build your arguments to a compelling conclusion. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, analysis, and a transition sentence:

  • The topic sentence summarizes the paragraph's main idea
  • Use evidence from your research sources to support or make the argument for your main ideas
  • Analyze your evidence to show how it links to your broader topic
  • Include a transition sentence at the end of each paragraph to connect what you discussed in that paragraph with the main idea of the next paragraph

3. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned

  • Restate your thesis from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together into your conclusions on your topic
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
  • No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)
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