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CRJ 484: White Collar Crime

Research Guide for CRJ 484

Writing Your Legal Paper

Writing Tips

  • Decide on the research paper's main thesis (focus) and main points first
  • Everything in your research paper should point back to the thesis statement

Paper Structure

Research papers should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion:

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

  • Start the introduction with background that contextualizes the paper's thesis statement: this is where you will explain your example (Writing Assignment) or Structural Problem (Legal Paper) 
  • End the introduction with a thesis statement, which outlines your legal reforms (Writing Assignment) or "systematic and revolutionary changes" (Legal Paper) and how your paper will address them

2. Body: The body of your Writing Assignment and of your Legal Paper should have two parts:

Part 1 (the problem):  convince Dr. Patel that the example (Writing Assignment) or structural problem (Legal Paper) from the introduction is real

  • Writing Assignment: assess the ways in which your example is the result of the behavior of "bad apples" rather than "decaying roots" 
  • Legal Paper: assess the ways in which your example is the result of "decaying roots" rather than "bad apples"

Part 2 (the legal reform): discuss how your proposed legal reform would solve the problem

  • Provide details about your proposed legal reform
  • Use at least two scholarly opinions in law reviews to build your arguments for your own reform agenda
3. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned
  • Briefly summarize your problem and your arguments for why its real
  • Briefly summarize your legal reform and your arguments for why it would help
  • 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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