CJ 3346: Intro Paper Guidelines
The purpose of the intro paper is to pose a relevant criminal justice research question that you will later develop a research methodology to answer. Remember, the most important quality of a good research question is that it is a simple question that can be answered with a simple statement rather than a complicated question that must be answered with several statements.
Good research question
R1: Do criminals have lower IQs than police officers?
Notice that the question is simple. It compares two groups on a single attribute. Also, it can be answered as:
(1) Yes, criminals do have lower IQs than police officers.
– or –
(2) No, criminals do not have lower IQs than police officers.
Bad research question
R2: Do criminals offend because they have a different set of values than the general population that result from trauma that they experienced that altered their perception of right and wrong or from a lack of meaningful relationships?
Notice that this is really a set of multiple questions. Further, some of the questions involve very complex answers. Research questions like this are difficult to address in a single research project, so they must be broken down into individual questions that are more manageable.
The goal of the intro paper is to present the question that you are interested in trying to answer. However, literature must be reviewed to show that your question has not already been answered, and that there is a good reason to pursue the research. Think of it as justifying why we should care about the problem that you are looking into.
For example, consider R1 above. A good way to frame this research question is to cite previous studies that have tested whether criminals and police officer have different IQs. Importantly, the research cited should contradict suggesting that we are unsure that criminals and officers differ in their IQs. Because the intro paper requires three citations, you should have at least two that directly contradict in their conclusions.
The general outline of a well written intro paper follows:
a. Paragraph one
i. State the problem (what do we not know), and explain why it is important to understand the answer.
II. Literature review
a. Paragraph two
i. Present research that argues one side of the possible answer.
b. Paragraph three
i. Present research that disagrees with the research presented in paragraph two.
III. Proposed research
a. Paragraph four
i. Explain the research question.
b. Paragraph five
i. Present a hypothesis.
As noted in the syllabus, this paper should be two pages in length, double spaced, and in Times New Roman 12 point font. It should follow APA citation. A cover sheet and abstract are not required for this assignment. A works cited page is not required; however, the assignment requires that you attach pdfs of the three articles that you used in the paper.
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