Complete Guide: How to Compose a Criminal Law Term Paper that Rocks

Writing guide
Posted on January 9, 2019

The Peculiarities of Criminal Law Term Paper Writing

Criminal Law is considered to be a foundational course for all the college undergraduates who want to fight on the side of justice and build their careers in this field. Having enrolled in this course, all the students usually study a number of additional disciplines that include psychology, sociology, criminal behavior, criminology, criminal procedure, and public policy. Needless to say, that the course of Criminal Law implies that college undergraduates have a chance to study some critical aspects of the legal system. Such aspects may involve the basic knowledge of the parole system, law enforcement, courts, investigations, and corrections.

The important point is that these students are often assigned with the task to write a term paper to give the professors an opportunity to evaluate their knowledge of the course material. Moreover, in the attempt to write an A+ term paper, the individuals should demonstrate their abilities to observe, to reason, and to reflect their critical thinking skills. Since a term paper may influence your final course grade, you should take great efforts to submit a well-structured and plagiarism-free term paper.

If you want to write a term paper that deserves a high grade, it is critical to have a good understanding of the general structure of such a college assignment. Apart from that, you will need to use some pre-writing and post-writing activities to make your term paper informative and concise at the same time. It is a common thing that all the academic writing assignments should include your personal thoughts, as well as evidence of critical analysis, related to the topic of the research. For instance, imagine that you are writing a term paper entitled as ‘Assisted Death: Mercy or Just a Crime?’ In this case, you should explain your point of view regarding this controversial issue.

Another important element of a good term paper is the use of factual information to support the main arguments introduced in the written assignment. Since a term paper is regarded as one of the common formats of academic writing, you should remember the importance of appropriate and credible sources used in the process of writing. Turning back to the same topic related to the assisted suicide, you can refer to the Suicide Act of 1961 that prohibited the euthanasia and to the Death with Dignity Act of 1994 that legalized the physician-assisted death.
According to the recent statistics, the majority of the modern college undergraduates faces numerous challenges while writing a term paper in criminal law or criminal justice.

A list of such difficulties may include:

  • Choosing a bad topic for the research. A bad topic may be either unknown to you or irrelevant to the research. Without a doubt, looking through the additional materials in the attempt to get a particular knowledge of the chosen topic is a time-consuming task. Hence if, for instance, you have the insufficient knowledge of the criminal defense issues, avoid choosing this particular topic for your research.
  • The poor understanding of the paper’s structure. Usually, the poorly structured college writing assignment lacks one of the key sections that include the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion.
  • The use of different sources that cannot be regarded as credible ones. The use of newspapers as the sources of information is a great mistake since they are often biased. Such sources like The Crime Report, The Conversation, and Fox News should not be included on the list of references.

Choosing a Perfect Topic for Criminal Law Term Paper

It is no need to restate that the process of choosing a topic for the research is one of the most challenging steps in completing this college assignment. Indeed, in most cases, college undergraduates have a chance to select a topic among the ones provided by their professors. However, there are some cases when you need to choose the issue to be discussed in your term paper on your own. In this case, you can choose the topic of your interest that will make the writing process even more engaging.

The process of choosing a topic for a criminal law term paper looks beyond finding a particular issue that attracts your interest. There are seven steps that should be taken through the process of choosing a topic for a paper.

  • Step 1. Brainstorm for ideas in order to select a topic for your college assignment. While choosing the topic for your research, ask yourself the following questions: “Do I have a strong opinion regarding the issue discussed in the paper?” or “Do I want to learn a particular issue better?”
  • Step 2. Find general background information regarding the chosen topic. In this case, you may use academic publications, journal articles, and newspaper posts. If we take the topic of euthanasia for illustrative purposes, it is required to find reliable materials that examine this issue from different perspectives.
  • Step 3. If you have chosen a broad topic, you are highly recommended to narrow the field of your research and limit your topic. Since the topic of physician-assisted suicide is a broad topic for the research, you can try to narrow it by asserting that euthanasia should be legalized.
  • Step 4. Make a list of useful keywords related to the topic you would like to discuss in the college written assignment. Taking into account the topic that we use for illustrative purposes, the list of keywords may include “active euthanasia”, “dying with dignity”, “Suicide Act”, “assisted suicide”, “passive euthanasia”, “involuntary euthanasia”, and “quality of life”.
  • Step 5. Be flexible and use the opportunity to modify your topic during the process of research.
  • Step 6. Find the required materials that would be useful for your term paper and read them carefully. The more knowledge of your topic you have, the better grades you will get.
  • Step 7. Do not forget to formulate a strong thesis statement. A good example of an effective thesis statement can be found in the following sentence – “Euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide should be a legal option for the individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness”.

term paper tips

Eye-Catching Ideas that Work Best for the Criminal Law Term Paper

  • Should Capital Punishment Be Banned in the United States?
  • How to Explain the Public Opinion Regarding the Mandatory Sentencing?
  • Mandatory Sentencing as the Way of Punishment;
  • Lethal Injection Drugs and Legal Challenges;
  • Mental Disorders, Crime, and Punishment.

Selecting Relevant Sources for Criminal Law Term Paper

It is common knowledge that finding reliable sources is considered to be an important stage of the research process. If you fail to find relevant and credible sources, the ideas presented in the paper will not be regarded as effective arguments. Needless to say, that you should be able to understand which sources of information are credible. While searching for the required materials, you should take into account several factors that include depth, objectivity, currency, authority, and purpose.

  • Depth
  • While evaluating the sources, analyze each of them from the perspectives of breadth and depth. Make sure that the scope of these information sources is broad and intense.

  • Objectivity
  • The sources of information that you want to use in your criminal law term paper should not be biased in any way.

  • Currency
  • The factor of currency implies that the materials introduced in a particular source should represent accurate and current information.

  • Authority
  • You should consider whether the author has a required degree in the field of your research.

  • Purpose
  • Analyze the purpose of the source you want to use while writing your term paper. Take into account the target audience as well since it is considerably important.

In most cases, the majority of college undergraduates does not have any difficulties in finding and using the information sources. In fact, many scientific journals that represent a variety of disciplines may include a particular literature related to the fields of crime and the criminal justice system. Evidently, while writing a term paper, you can use the criminal justice journals as well as the criminology publications. For instance, the most popular criminal justice and criminology journals include American Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, and the British Journal of Criminology.

Governmental publications usually contain some important materials that can be useful for your research. These sources are often used when it is necessary to provide evidence of the descriptive statistics used in the paper. As follows, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as well as the National Institute of Justice, tends to publish regular reports in different areas of criminal justice. Both federal government agencies use the basic statistical techniques to publish some materials related to the issues of violence prevention, incarceration, or juvenile delinquency.

Apart from that, a common list of sources that are frequently cited includes the Constitutions, statutes, and ordinances.

Importance and Efficiency of Pre-Writing Activities

  • Before you start working on your college assignment, you should have a clear understanding of the grading system for the term paper used by the professor.
  • Apart from that, it is critical to understand his or her expectations.
  • Think about the target audience since it is a considerably important factor that may influence your final results.
  • The draft of a thesis statement, as well as the one of a term paper proposal, should be ready before you start writing the paper.
  • When the professor approves your term paper proposal, it is recommended to create an outline for your writing.
  • When you proceed with the first draft of a term paper, use this outline as a guide.
  • Do research and find all the required materials before you start working on the paper. Needless to say, all the sources should be credible, reliable, and relevant.
  • Additionally, you are recommended to create at least two drafts before writing a final paper.

If you follow all the recommendations mentioned above, you will have a better chance to submit a high-quality term paper. Furthermore, these pre-writing activities may bring you a lot of benefits that will ease and accelerate the writing process.

In fact, when college undergraduates plan out these activities, they are more likely to form coherent and concise arguments developed in their term papers. Plus, while creating the first draft of the assignment, they may think about the organization of the body paragraphs included in the paper. In turn, the ultimate advantage of the pre-writing activities is related to the content of the paper. While using these strategies, students can prevent some errors that could be committed occasionally.

Common Structure of Criminal Law Term Paper

term paper format

A good understanding of the term paper structure improves your chances to submit a perfect paper and get the desired grades. Usually, a term paper has a basic structure that should be followed by all students. Generally speaking, this type of academic writing should include the particular key sections placed in a logical sequence. Since a term paper is considered a formal writing assignment, your paper should consist of Title Page, Table of Contents, Introduction, Main Body, Conclusion, and References. In the following passage, you can find a brief explanation of the key components of a criminal law term paper. Let us take the topic “Mental Disorders, Crime, and Punishment” to illustrate the theoretical issues related to the structure of a term paper.

Engaging Ways to Begin a Term Paper: Tips from Our Experts

It is a common knowledge that an introduction is the first part of a writing assignment. Although it is usually placed at the beginning of a term paper, you are highly recommended to write this part when the body paragraphs and the conclusion are already finished. In general, with the introduction, writers bring the topic of their research to the attention of the target readers. This paragraph should also include a perfect ‘hook’ that will spark the interest in the audience. In addition, it is required to provide relevant background information related to the topic of research. A strong thesis statement is one of the critical elements that have to be included in this section.

As you remember, we have chosen the topic related to the criminal responsibility of the individuals suffering from different mental disorders. In the introduction, we should provide a brief overview of the current state of this important issue. What is more, we can discuss two possible outcomes for criminals with mental disorders. In the thesis statement, it is necessary to explain that this problem is a considerably controversial issue and provide two opposite sides of the problem. For instance, “While some individuals claim that such criminals should be punished, the others state that they should be treated for their behavior”.

The Main Body Where the Things Happen

The main body is the basic component of your writing, and hence, you are recommended to complete the body paragraphs at the beginning of the writing process. Depending on the purpose of this college assignment, this particular section of a term paper may be organized in different ways. Below you can find some common recommendations that will be useful in the writing process.

  1. Divide this part of the paper into several sections and subsections to make your term paper readable. In this case, we can divide our writing into three main sections. The first one will discuss the current state of people with mental disorders in the criminal justice, as well as the current laws related to the criminal responsibility of the mentally disturbed individuals. In the second section, we can attempt to prove that such criminals should be punished. Finally, the third section will explain why the individuals with mental illnesses should be rather treated than punished for committing a crime.
  2. Do not forget that credible and reliable sources of information should support all the arguments presented in the body paragraphs. The materials needed for your research can be found in various peer-reviewed journals, government publications, and professional journals as well. Every publication used in your college assignment should be cited properly.
  3. The clear, well-organized, and logically comprehensible text is a must for a criminal law term paper.
  4. Although you have to use some additional materials to complete a paper, do not forget to mention your standpoint. What is more, you can disagree with the arguments presented in the sources you have used in the writing process. However, your ideas should be supported by evidence.

End Your Criminal Law Term Paper Powerfully

In this part of a term paper, you should refer back to the issue discussed in the introduction. In conclusion, it is required to restate the topic for the research, as well as the thesis statement, introduced in the opening paragraph. Apart from that, it is necessary to summarize all the important points discussed in the body paragraphs. Do not forget to talk about the significance of all the arguments you have provided.

Post-Writing Activities: Proofreading and Editing

The final two elements known as the proofreading and the editing are the final stages of the writing process. The following useful tips and recommendations will turn the draft of your term paper into a polished college writing assignment.

  • Check the critical grammatical aspects that include the use of a consistent tense as well as the subject-verb and the noun-pronoun agreements;
  • Spelling, Punctuation, and Capitalization are the other three factors that should be taken into account if you want to get the best grades;
  • Check whether all the sentences, as well as the sentence fragments used in the paper, have a good structure;
  • Make sure that the entire text is coherent and that all the body paragraphs are placed in a logical sequence.


  1. “Before You Start That Paper: Some Prewriting Tip”. University Of Kansas School Of Medicine, r_rev.pdf. Accessed 18 Aug 2018.
  2. Buttram, Cayla et al. “Source Credibility: How To Select The Best Sources”. UNA Center For Writing Excellence, 2012, Resources/Source%20Credibility.pdf. Accessed 10 Aug 2018.
  3. “Essentials Of How To Write A Term Paper”. A Research Guide, Accessed 9 Aug 2018.
  4. “How To Select A Research Paper”.University Of Michigan-Flint, Accessed 9 Aug 2018.
  5. Saprik, Khairunnisa. “Why Study Criminal Law?”. Hot Course Abroad, criminal-law/. Accessed 9 Aug 2018.
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