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CRJ 415/515: Principles of Restorative Justice

Research Guide for CRJ 415/515

Writing Your White Paper

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that discusses related issues and makes recommendations for addressing them or making decisions about them. Your white paper will draw on academic research, but it should be written for a lay audience.

Part 1. Introduction/Executive Summary

Summarizes what you will write and puts it into context. Should consist of 3 parts:

  • "What You're Studying": start with background contextualizing your criminal justice-related problem
  • "So What?": demonstrate why your problem and its impacts are important and why your reader should care about them
  • "Game Plan": overview of how you intend to address your problem using a restorative approach

Part 2. Background/Literature Review

You will synthesize your sources to provide a comprehensive review of the nature of your criminal-justice related problem and provide relevant background on it. Your literature review should provide a compelling narrative about the importance of your problem and build your evidence-based arguments that you will then use to build your recommendations in Part 3. Your literature review will bring together a variety of sources: 

  • concepts from course readings 
  • theories and study results from scholarly sources and books
  • personal experience

Part 3. Policy Argument/Solution and Conclusion

  • Build on your evidence-based arguments from your Literature Review to make a strong argument for a policy recommendation(s) 
  • Explain why your recommendations are preferable to other options in terms of feasibility, cost, efficacy, etc.
  • Summarize lessons and discuss possible future directions 
  • End with a strong, final concluding statement that summarizes what you learned, what you recommended, and that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end

Part 4: References List: 

  • List of sources that you have used throughout your policy paper to guide your discussion and policy recommendations
  • Cite your sources and format your list in ASA Style or APA Style

For more writing help, contact the Writing Center and make an online appointment to meet with one of their consultants.

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