Complete Guide: Criminal Law Research Paper

Writing guide
Posted on January 9, 2019

Primary Principles of the Criminal Law Research Paper

Writing a Criminal Law research paper is an obligatory assignment for plenty of students from various disciplines, such as Criminal Justice and Criminology, Paralegal Studies, Law Enforcement Administration, and International Crime Justice. Since criminal law is a set of behavior rules for citizens, you will be allowed to discuss some of them or present cases related to those rules. In general, with the help of this task, you will be able to expand your knowledge about a specific topic and improve your analytical and critical thinking skills. Besides, thanks to this paper, your professor will be able to check your understanding of the material.

Since criminal law is one of the most compelling areas of the entire legal practice, you will be able to research a current issue and try to find your own solution to the matter. For this assignment, you may be asked to examine particular cases or even suggest your own solutions to the presented cases. Moreover, the research paper should also be based on the relevant legislation to support your points. As a result, the process of writing the Criminal Law research paper may be complicated and demanding for you since it requires a good understanding of the selected issue and basic knowledge of the entire criminal law. A lot of students choose to approach professional writers for help with criminal law papers.

Two major types of the research paper can be applied to this assignment, namely analytical and argumentative one. The central difference between these two types is the fact that each of them has specific requirements for both – the content and the topic. To receive a high mark, you have to follow those requirements strictly. Therefore, the following description of these two research paper types will help you to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Analytical Research Paper. This type of research paper states a topic which should be explored. Generally, this topic is provided in the form of a question and takes a neutral stance. In this research paper, you need to merely state the research question and provide readers with the answer only at the end of the paper.The central goal of this paper is to suggest a well-supported critical analysis and present actual information without personal opinion. Hence, the main body of the research paper should contain multifaceted information and thorough analysis of critical points. For this type of research paper, you may explore whether the United States jury selection is always conducted fairly or investigate the probable motives behind a particular crime. As you can see, there are a lot of issues that can be analytically examined.Besides, it has to be mentioned that some common analytic designs can help you to create new ideas.
  • Change Over Time;
  • Hypothesis/Proof;
  • Cause/Effect;
  • Problem/Solution;
  • Comparison/Contrast;
  • Question/Answer.
  • Argumentative Research Paper.
    For an argumentative type of research paper, you need to both – state the topic and provide readers with the position you will argue. You should include this information in your thesis statement which must be located at the end of the introductory paragraph. What is more, in this type of research paper, you should persuade readers to accept a particular side by presenting evidence, various suggestive devices, and sound reasoning. Besides, for this research type, you must choose a highly-debatable and even controversial topic to be able to discuss all possible sides. For instance, you can examine the effectiveness of the Witness Protection Program in different countries.

How to Find a Perfect Topic to Talk About in Criminal Law Research Paper

Your professor should provide you with the list of acceptable topics or indicate your topic in the paper instructions. However, it may happen that s/he will allow you to select the topic on your own. In this case, you have to take into consideration three aspects to choose the best topic.

First of all, you need to consider what fields of criminal law you have better knowledge in since if you select the issue which is connected with unknown criminal law aspect, it will be difficult for you to discuss it properly. Second of all, the future topic should be relevant and not obsolete since you have to easily find a sufficient number of sources to provide readers with fact-based evidence to support your points. Third of all, it is better to choose a topic of your interest as it will encourage you to conduct in-depth research and search for new and interesting information. Furthermore, you have to create your topic carefully since not all of them can be suitable for the research paper in the field of Criminal Law. If you find choosing a topic too difficult, you may ask your professor for help.

As a result, if you follow all those three aspects, you will be able to select a perfect topic. The following list of topics may help you to create your own.

  • Juvenile Recidivism
  • Causes of Victimization
  • The Key Principles of Forensic Science
  • The Relationship Between Aggression and Crime
  • Is the Witness Protection Program Effective?

Information Sources: the Secrets of Choosing the Right Ones

Before writing your first draft of the Criminal Law research paper, you need to search for some information. In general, professors ask to visit various libraries to find reliable sources, but you may also utilize the Internet. However, you have to remember that not all websites are credible. For example, you have to pay special attention to the sites which end in .edu and .gov since different educational institutions and governments maintain them.

Moreover, you should consider three types of sources that you can apply, namely – primary, secondary, and tertiary ones. Primary sources serve as a basis for different research papers, such as court records, constitutions, statutes and ordinances, and common law. Secondary sources are used to analyze or describe primary sources. This type of sources includes textbooks, encyclopedias, books and articles which synthesize, review or interpret the original fieldwork.

research sources

The last type of sources is tertiary one. It locates and organizes primary and secondary sources, and therefore, indexes, abstracts, and databases related to this source type. Moreover, when you find an article or book which coincides with your chosen topic, you may scan its references to collect more sources. Apart from that, if you cannot find any reliable sources on the selected topic, you may pick another one as it is impossible to develop a well-supported research paper without credible sources.

Prewriting Strategies and Criminal Law Research Paper Prewriting Tips from Our Experts

When you finished the process of collecting sources for your Criminal Law research paper, you have to start writing the first draft of it. In the beginning, you can create an outline for your writing. With the help of it, you will be able to organize the paper and collect all primary arguments. However, if it is too complicated for you, you may complete some other pre-writing strategies, such as Brainstorming, Freewriting, and Clustering.

Brainstorming is one of the most effective techniques which can help you to gather as many ideas as possible. The central goal of this activity is to write each idea which comes to your mind. For this technique, you can collect your points in the form of a list. The primary goal of the second pre-writing technique, which is called Freewriting, is to get ideas out of your head. You may think that it is the same as Brainstorming but it is not. For this strategy, you do not need to think and then write. Instead, you have to think and write simultaneously. Therefore, you have to write anything you like but never stop writing. One may state that Freewriting is the perfect activity for those who find it difficult to start writing since this exercise helps to warm up the brain. The last pre-writing technique which will be described is Clustering. This strategy will be effective for you if you have a great imagination since you should imagine the connections between arguments and link them to the supporting points. Then, you need to put central arguments in circles and draw some lines which will symbolize the supporting ideas. Hence, with the help of this activity, you will be able to see how each idea is related to other ones. If you combine all of the strategies mentioned above, it will be much easier for you to create interesting content and organize the paper properly.

Structure of the Criminal Law Research Paper

To receive as many points as possible for your Criminal Law research paper you need to organize your paper thoroughly. Moreover, it will help readers to comprehend your arguments properly and not to lose the train of thought. The structure of the Criminal research paper consists of an Introductory paragraph, Main Body paragraphs, Concluding Paragraph, and Reference page. If a professor requires you to write the paper in APA style, you need to create a title page as well. The following paragraphs are going to describe each element of the Criminal Law research paper.

    • Title Page
      This section of the paper has to be located on the first page. Generally, it contains the title of the paper, the student’s name, and the educational institution. Besides, at the top of the page, you have to create a running head which will include the title of the research paper. Your title should attract readers’ attention and never exceed the number of fifty-one characters or twelve words. Besides, the title should contain neither words which have no purpose nor any abbreviations.
    • Introduction
      The introductory part of the research paper is of high significance, and therefore, you need to pay particular attention to writing one. First of all, you need to remember that this part consists of some background information, key arguments, and thesis statement. You must create a solid thesis statement to be able to support it with some arguments in the Main Body paragraphs. Besides, the thesis statement has to contain a research question which will be answered at the end of the paper. Furthermore, you are not allowed to insert any quotations or in-text citations. In general, this section should only introduce the topic to the readers, and consequently, it has to be short.

thesis statement

  • Main Body
    This part of the research paper should contain at least two paragraphs since you have to provide readers with no less than two arguments. As you can see, you have to describe one point per paragraph. In contrast to the introduction and the conclusion, here you should you insert some quotations or in-text citations to support your point. If you use some of them, you must cite them properly to avoid plagiarism. There are many referencing styles, but the most common ones are APA and MLA. Hence, if the selected referencing style is MLA, your citation should look like this “(Smith 100),” while with APA referencing style, the citation has to look like this “(Smith, 2018)”. What is more, you can create or insert some charts to present some figures. To make your paper smoother, you need to use linking words, such as “moreover”, “although”, “furthermore”, “in addition to”, and “on the contrary”. Besides, you have to remember that the chosen linking word has to correspond to the context and not confuse readers.
  • Conclusion
    The concluding paragraph has to summarize the entire paper and give the answer to the research question. However, in this section, you cannot add any new information and insert any quotations or in-text citations. As a consequence, the conclusion should resemble a brief version of the entire paper.
  • Reference Page
    The reference page has to be located on the separate page at the end of the paper. You need to write the word “References” if you write in APA style or “Works Cited” if you write in MLA style. One should claim that you have to include all the sources that you applied to your Criminal Law research paper. Each entry should be indented one-half inch. Besides, you need to locate your sources in alphabetical order.


  1. Gibbs, D. (2018). Writing a Research Paper: Types of Research Papers. Library Guides,
  2. Lahl, A. (2008). A Guide to Prewriting Techniques. Student Learning Center,
  3. Research Help: Types of Sources. (2018). LibGuides,
  4. Volokh, E., Kozinski, A. (2007). Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review. 3rd ed., Foundation Press.
  5. Wills, T. (2011). Tips for Writing a Research Paper. NMU Student Organizations,
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