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Criminal Justice Research Methods: Developing a Topic

This LibGuide is a work in progress designed to assist upper lever Criminal Justice students with research

Developing Your Topic

To properly focus your topic on a research question, you first need to understand what is known and believed about your topic, in other words, the scholarly consensus on your topic. Begin with reference sources, such as encyclopedia articles, textbooks, surveys in books and articles, informational web sites, and statistics. Make a note of any questions or unresolved issues about the topic. These may make good research question ideas!

Focus on a Research Question

Subjects are large ideas, concepts, or area of discussion Find a subject that offers smaller elements and will encourage focus  i.e. juvenile justice system, group dynamics, ebooks Topics are more focused and look at specific issues being researched Begin looking at issues within the larger subjects to find topics i.e. recidivism in teen offenders, workplace diversity, ebook texts The neck of the funnel is your research question, it should be focused and directing your inquiryi.e. Is the rate of recidivism in minority teens the same as in non minorities? How is diversity addressed in gendered jobs? i.e. recidivism in teen offenders, workplace diversity, Research on a college level is not compiling and regurgitating information as you did in the past.  It is about investigation and finding answers to questions.  It begins with a broad subject with general content, gets funneled down into a more focused topic such as a specific issue, and then narrowed further until it is whittled down to a concise research question, thesis statement, or hypothesis.  The research in the end answers that question.

Online Reference Sources

Boolean Searching

Boolean Searching using AND, OR & NOT for better s

For more help using Boolean Searching See the LibGuide Boolean Searching