The format of a criminology research paper differs from papers in other subjects mainly in the areas of analysis and statistics. Criminology research papers tend to rely heavily on crime statistics; therefore, the student must demonstrate awareness of how to interpret statistics effectively. Since criminology is a social science, research papers in criminology need to also demonstrate the ability of the student to analyze crime trends and offer insight as to why certain crimes happen in certain socio economic circumstances and not in others. If you have been assigned a research paper in criminology, consider the following guidelines for help getting started:
- Organize the statistics that you will be using for the essay into larger sections that target the meaning behind each set of statistics that the criminology research paper intends to interpret. For example, if the essay is about the escalation of crime during a certain time period, demonstrate the progression of the criminal acts using the statistics in ascending order, interspersed with appropriate analysis from one year to the next.
- Use appropriate academic language throughout your essay. Criminology research papers need to be rigorous academic documents. Avoid the use of slang or colloquial speech, and make sure that the tone of your essay is serious and scholarly. Do not use humor or excessive metaphor.
- Keep your verbs in the active tense. For example, write “the police arrested” instead of “the suspect was arrested by the police.” Passive verbs slow the flow and the readability down, and often create turgid documents. Keep the pace fast and light and make the paper flow.
- Offer your own solutions to the criminology research problem that you are researching. The point of the term paper is not to demonstrate your ability to paraphrase your sources. The point of the term paper is to demonstrate to your professor that you have ideas of your own that you can apply to the real world criminology work in law enforcement, for example.
- Use the freshest, most recent research sources you can find. Ideally, no reference should be older than five years.