Directions For Students On Finding Criminal Justice Topics For A Research Paper

Criminal justice is a complicated matter itself, so deciding how to approach a research paper on the same can be a little intimidating. However, while its complicated nature makes the task of writing a paper a daunting one, it also guarantees a plethora of topics from which to choose, and invariably a plethora of ways to discover those topics.

Brainstorm: start by deciding a general direction to take

Perhaps you’ll choose a meta approach and write about the field of criminal justice itself, as a social science or its public policy or even its history. Perhaps you’ll choose to focus on one type of crime and how the criminal justice system handles that crime. Or maybe you’ll look at different types of justice. Whatever you’re going to do, it helps to start with a very general idea so that you know can narrow your search.

Start looking on the Internet

The Web is a seemingly never-ending source of information and resources. A simple Web search of the general area of criminal justice you chose will no doubt turn up anything from full articles by credible sources or crude lists of specific topics in your chosen field. Also it’s very likely you’ll be able to find forums involving students in your same predicament and may be able to get some ideas there. Talk to some of those folks and find out what has worked for them in the past and what hasn’t.

Watch the news

Regardless of whether you find a topic on the Internet, linking your topic to a current event in your paper is a powerful strategy anyway. But it can also be very handy in finding a topic. Maybe you found a general topic but a big crime-related news story deals with a niche within that topic. Well, there you go. You get a topic and a way to relate it to current events. Win-win.

Ask friends and family

If none of these are working for you, chances are you know someone in criminal justice or law enforcement, someone even indirectly involved in the field. These folks will be valuable to you. Simply ask around, find out who is or was involved (you would be surprised how many such folks you probably already know) and get them talking. Even if it turns out you don’t know anyone involved in the field, it still stands that everyone has their opinions. Get your friends talking, too, and take mental notes. There will be topics to be discovered in every conversation.