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CRJ 487/587: Forensic Science

Research Guide for CRJ 487/587 course

Writing Your Publishable Quality Paper

Writing Tips

  • Decide on the main focus and main points of your paper first
  • Everything in your Thesis Paper should relate back to its thesis statement


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

  • "What You're Studying": start with a thesis statement about your research question which includes background contextualizing your question
  • "So What?": demonstrate why your research question and project is important and why your reader should care
  • "Game Plan": outline the main points of your project and the order in which you will address them

2. Literature Review: survey research done in a particular area, bringing together theories and results from a number of studies to describe the "big picture" of an area of research. Your Literature Review should:

  • Be more than a summary of the articles you read
  • Bring together theories and results from a number of studies to provide background for your project and demonstrate how your thesis paper fits into this current research area
  • Be a compelling narrative about how the articles you've read have built up to your thesis paper and make the case for why it is important

3. Methods: this is an optional section, which you should write up if your analysis is data-driven. Include information about which statistical tests you ran on the data and why you chose those particular statistical tests.

4. Analysis: synthesizes, examines and interprets your data with evidence from your research sources. Use evidence from your data and/or research sources to support or make the argument for your main ideas and analyze your evidence to show how it links to your broader thesis statement. Your analysis should be theory or data-driven, generalizable, grounded in your literature review, and tied back to your thesis statement. 

5. Discussion: discusses the limitations, opposing viewpoints, what's missing, still unknown, and future directions from your thesis paper.

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

  • Restate your thesis statement from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together into the paper's main thesis
  • 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)

7. References list: a list of the sources you cited 

  • Format your References list and cite your sources according to the guidelines and requirements of your target journal.

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

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