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CRJ 480/580: Applied Criminal Justice Theory

Course Research Guide for CRJ 480/580

Writing Your Policy Paper (CRJ 580 Students)

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

  • An overview and background that contextualizes the criminal justice problem that you want to address and your proposed policy
  • Your introduction should give a real sense of the criminal justice problem and the context/reason why addressing it is necessary
  • Every piece of information in the rest of your policy paper should clearly and easily connect back to this criminal justice problem 

2. Literature Review

  • Use your scholarly sources to make a convincing argument that the criminal justice problem from your introduction is real
  • Put your criminal justice problem in context:
    • Is the problem statewide, national, or international?
    • Who are the people affected by this problem?
  • Are there existing criminal justice policies or programs that address this criminal justice problem? Why aren't they working and why is it necessary to find an alternative?

3. Theoretical Framework

  • The criminal justice theories and concepts that you are using to understand your criminal justice problem and to develop your proposed policy to address it
  • Demonstrates that you understand the theories and concepts that are relevant to your criminal justice problem and policies/programs that currently address this problem
  • Review your course readings for theories and analytical models that are relevant to your criminal justice problem

4. Proposed Policy

  • Provide details about your proposed policy
  • Discuss how your proposed policy would solve your criminal justice problem
  • Why would this be more desirable than existing policies or programs?

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

  • Briefly summarize your problem and your arguments for why its real
  • Briefly summarize your proposed policy 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)

6. References List

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