How to Write an Analytical Essay in Criminal Justice: Secrets of Academic Success

Writing guide
Posted on June 20, 2020

In the academic context, analyzing the subject means more than simply taking part in short debates or making wise assumptions. When you are a criminal law student, you are to conduct an academic investigation and provide an analytical essay that involves the implementation of unquestionable mechanisms.

You can be a great speaker, a decent researcher, or an A-student but you are having a panic attack every time you have to complete analytical work in criminal justice. To take the burden off your shoulders, we’ve written a profound guide on how to complete a decent analytical essay in criminal justice. Read, absorb the useful information and use it while researching and drafting.

How to Write an Analytical Essay in Criminal Justice: The 4 Types to Know

Before you actually start investigating the subject and working out an outline, you have to conduct an open talk with your supervisor, asking him/her about the exact kind of analytical work in criminal justice that you are ought to complete.

For your information, there exist four different options that you can pick from:

  1. Expository — This written assignment requires a writer to explain his/her idea and communicate the explanation to readers.
  2. Persuasive — According to the requirements of a persuasive type of analytical essay, a student states his/her position on the problem and supports this position by providing various arguments and relevant evidence.
  3. History — As the name goes, you need to cover the analysis of the event that took part in the past. Upon stating the fact, display your own position along with relevant data from other scientists who talked on the same topic.
  4. Comparison — In this essay, you take two or more ideas and compare them by providing evidence and arguments. The goal of the academic assignment is to provide readers with information and finalization at the end of the analytical draft.

Analytical essays on criminal justice are basically expository or persuasive. Nevertheless, you can’t be 100% sure about the type you have to work on until the general ideal is checked with your professor.

Three Steps of How to Write an Analytical Essay in Criminal Justice

To successfully finish the written task, you’d better divide the writing procedure into the three manageable parts. By doing so, you will have a well-crafted analytical work supported by reliable proof and your own opinions.

  • Workout the topic of the analytical essay

Let’s start with the fact that you might already get the subject assigned. If yes, then you can either omit this step or (if the issue poses no interest to you as well the audience) you can ask the supervisor for a change.

Picking the appropriate topic predetermines the need for research. It will take days to find what you really want to compose about. While choosing, it is better to look for examples that sustain or refute the idea. By choosing something too narrow, you put yourself at risk of finding very little information. By choosing something too broad, you may fail at covering all the aspects of the subject. So you’d better go with the middle ground.

Say you are ought to convey the topic of Bad Parenting and Children’s Behavior. To turn the issue into an analytical work, it’s isn’t enough to recount statistical numbers and quote others’ works. What you need to do is to minimize the circle of the topic to investigate some of its aspects. Explore the issue. Here’s what you can concentrate on:

  • Enumeration of the Negative Effects of Bad Parenting;
  • Top Ways How Parents Destroy Their Children;
  • Lack of Parental Supervision;
  • Criminalizing Poor Parenting Skills;
  • Effects of Parents on Crime Rates;
  • Should Bad Parenting Be Considered as a Crime?
  • Criminalizing Poor Parenting: Pros and Cons;
  • Is Bad Parenting Criminogenic?
  • Does Poor Parenting Provoke Crime?
  • Parents’ Responsibility in Juvenile Crime;
  • Harsh Parenting Leads Bad Studying, Early Sex, and Crimes;
  • Are Parents Responsible for Children Breaking the Law?

When choosing a restricted focus, you manage to craft an analytical work that is more persuasive and tighter to a reader.

  • Investigate the principal moments

This is exactly where all your analytical skills are supposed to be used. The matter is that there may be so many information sources that choosing reliable and trustworthy facts is something that requires many checks and profound analysis.

To pick reliable facts, find and exclude weak elements. Which of the points are weak? Usually, they are containing too little analysis and few ways for discussion, or which don’t offer reliable examples in textbooks and journal articles.

  • Find evidence for analysis backing

Upon investigating the principal points, find proof to back up each point. Use excerpts from laws and judicial processes, experiments, and surveys as the core proof sources. Mind that any proof works for a general written assignment. But in the case with its analytical kind, you are expected to be ready to backup all the stated claims to have strong work.

And finally, you can proceed with crafting the initial draft of your analytical assignment in criminal justice. Later on, you will see a detailed structure on creating this sort of written assignment. While reading, note down the key aspects and follow them when crafting — your essay is going to be graded accordingly.

How to Write an Analytical Essay in Criminal Justice: Structuring

Before you start writing, work on the outline of the analytical essay. Why is it essential? It permits you to organize all the gathered data point-by-point. In order not to rewrite the entire essay, consult your supervisor concerning the outline. So the procedure looks like this: you research, organize the data point-by-point. Write a short description to every point, share it with the professor, wait for feedback.

1. Introduction
The first chapter of your analytical essay — the intro — is committed to attracting the interest of the reader(s). The intro is the part that lays the groundwork by stating a thesis and provides a brief and blurry explanation of the evidence that is helpful in arriving at the thesis statement.

2. The hook as the key of your intro
Usually, it is the initial sentence of the introduction abstract that (as you can judge from the name) hooks readers into keeping reading the essay further. What can be used as a hook? Whatever you want — that is what most instructions state. But we suggest you stick to some background details that may pose interest to the audience. Go with an anecdote or statistical figures, for example.

If the topic allows, write a question as a hook. Experienced scientists often choose to go with introducing controversial points or relevant data.

“Opinions on whether or not bad parenting should be considered as a crime differ: some agree that bad parents need to be punished, others state that bad parents should be re-educated and rehabilitated, in any case, everyone understands — the law must react”.

The hook introduces the subject of your essay, shares two opposite opinions that still share a common ground. Upon establishing the hook, you can proceed to crafting the thesis statement of the college or university assignment.

3. The thesis statement as the summary of the intro
The second top essential part of your introduction chapter is the thesis. Its primary mission is narrowing down a rather broad essay topic into the issue that is more specific. To craft the thesis statement strong and well-grounded, you should better give readers a hint of what is going to be written in the following parts of the essay you are working on.

While narrowing down, verify that your thesis doesn’t lose its coherence: ‘Regarding parenting, American families aren’t model ones, and as the recent studies show, the situation is not improving.’

4. Supporting facts
Even if you intend to cover a five-paragraph analytical essay, including facts (even briefly) is the proof of how the statement is planned to be supported. When your task is to write a rather long essay (2,000 words or more), every fact you provide must be explained within 2-3 long sentences. Further on, the facts you are providing in the support chapter of your assignment will be further detailed.

If supporting facts are multiple, include the top ones that serve as a reflection of the core idea you are eager to disclose.

5. The four parts of the body
It is the top significant part of the analytical work both in respect of backing and word count. Don’t make it the huge section, but rather the one which is divided into four smaller sections, readable and logically placed.

Every section is the reflection of the supportive proof that was presented in the block above. Every section is a paragraph long. So what are the exact four parts? They are called Claim, Evidence, Connection, and Transition.

  • The aim of the claim is to open the body and paraphrase the very first supportive fact of the thesis statement. It directs readers to what is going to be revealed in the workflow of the next three paragraphs.
  • The evidential part supports the aim of the claim by providing details on the given data. Experts call this very part the meat of an analytical essay in criminal law. In other words, it’s the framework of the entire piece.
  • Connection — the why part — has to follow the evidential section. Exclude any quotes from the connection. Don’t try to paraphrase the already-stated things. The connection ties the meat part and proof for a cohesive analysis. You may start with a phrase like ‘All this signifies that… ‘
  • And finally, there is the transition part that follows the connection you have successfully included. Typically, this is the part that allows you to smoothly move to another claim of yours: ‘Likewise, we see that… Now you understand the influence of… ‘

When your essay is long, you have more than one idea, several claims, and more than a single theory or evidence to be analyzed, these four parts can repeat: provide the claim, support it with evidence, connect both parts, transit… and again — provide the claim, support it with evidence.

How to Write an Analytical Essay in Criminal Justice: Conclusion

Correcе summing up isn’t an easy task, knowing the height. In this guide, we’ve decided to draw your attention to the essence and structure of the conclusion. The role of the conclusion is to make the entire analytical essay make a very strong impression on readers. Think of the conclusion as the final chance to impress and improve the feedback after the essay is read up to the end.

Start with restating the thesis statement from the introduction part. Upon starting, apply an effort to make a brief summary of all supporting evidence. Make the concluding sentence sound like a statement. As an option, tell readers what you personally have learned from the issue you’ve researched and analyzed.

So, the structure is going to look like this:

  1. A paraphrased thesis statement (one sentence only);
  2. A brief summary of the given evidence (one sentence for each evidence);
  3. A concluding statement (one long sentence).

Proofread your work. For better results, do it more than once at two- or three-hour intervals. Maybe, while proofreading, you’ll generate new ideas or find mistakes. Reread the article once more. It will take you a few minutes to grasp all the requirements, but those few minutes will highlight the entire process once more. For those doubting their writing and analytical skills, we suggest not to be afraid to consult a supervisor as often as it’s needed for a productive result. It is better to clarify all the specifications at the early stages than rewriting the whole work.


  • Friedman, L.M. and Fisher, G. (1997). The crime conundrum : essays on criminal justice. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
  • Hilton, O. (1941). The Collection of Writing Standards in Criminal Investigation. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1931-1951), 32(2), p.241.
  • Morn, F.T. (1980). Academic disciplines and debates : an essay on criminal justice and criminology as professions in higher education. Chicago: University Of Illinois.
Upgrade your essays with these FREE writing tools!
Get started now