The purpose of this assignment is to choose a topic that you will develop into your final 7-11 page Research Paper for this course. The topic you select must be germane to the field of human services or your major Criminal Justice. It must be an original topic; no previous papers or assignments may be used. Additionally, Research Papers may not be completed on Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. You should not write about a subject in which you possess a bias, or a desire to prove a preconceived notion. It should be a topic to be examined objectively as it will be written in third person and should not reference personal experience. You should perform preliminary research utilizing the Stafford Library’s databases to help identify a topic and ensure that sufficient research is available to support your paper.
The Research Paper Topic Submission should be comprised of 2-3 short paragraphs (first person) that includes your topic and explanation of why it was selected.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to read the items below and watch the videos as well before selecting your topic. It will provide you with a good understanding of the project as a whole and what the instructor is expecting.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a scholarly paper, which reviews current knowledge, including substantive findings, and may include theoretical and methodological contributions on a particular topic—the topic you picked. Your paper is derived from the content of your sources.
In a scholarly paper you do not use personal narrative. The paper is not written in first person, where you would discuss at length your own experiences regarding the topic at hand. This is not a paper about you. It is a paper where you demonstrate your ability to read professional peer reviewed research articles (six from the online databases) and synthesize the findings.
The entire purpose of the paper is to analyze and summarize the literature on your topic. Your entire paper is a literature review (as opposed to just one section of a research article). Here is an outstanding video on what a literature review is: the link provided below is to the video the teacher requires you to watch.
What It Is Not
Literature reviews are not research reports. Often students try to write this assignment using the research report format which most text books provide. You will not use headings/sections such as:
Research reports are actual research projects doing original research, whereas literature reviews are a review of the scholarly literature on a given topic (which are usually research reports). Literature reviews are considered secondary sources as they do not report new or original experimental research.
This Editage Insights article opens in a new tab goes into detail about the exact differences between a research paper and a review paper.
Helpful hint. It is always helpful to let the literature lead you. You won’t know what is specifically there until you start reading what has been written about your topic. You can start out rather narrow as long as you focus the scope of the paper as you explore what the articles you are using have to say about the topic you picked.
Writing a Literature Review
This is the method that works well, and many students have agreed. It is especially helpful in the eight week format, and it is a method where the organization, and the outline, of the paper emerges organically. Pay special attention to steps 4-6 which you’ll be using to create your Thematic Outline.
Research Paper Outline
Title page with running head
Body of paper
The Purdue Online Writing Lab opens in a new tab is an excellent resource for any APA questions, tutorials, and all the information you will ever need for APA papers (including examples). Your Research Paper must be written in APA style.
A good paper will use both paraphrases and direct quotes, and will be written in precise APA format. It is very important that no information of any significance (the general rule is anything that is not “common knowledge” must be cited.
Turnitin has been incorporated into the dropboxes in this course. (You do not need an outside link to it.) Turnitin will generate a “Similarity Report” for each assignment submitted. The report indicates where words in your document match those found in their database. It will make you aware of places where you may have forgotten to quote or prephrase information from one of your souces. There is no “right or wrong” level of Similarity score, but your instructor will likely look closely at anything over 25%. They will be unable to determine though, if your plagiarism is intentional or due to lack of knowledge.
One good way to avoid plagiarism issue is to avoid the practice of copying and pasting material from your source directly in your paper and trying to reword it. That is seldom successful. Writing a paper in a way that avoids plagiarism is only hard the first time or two and prevents much grief later on down the line. Columbia College keeps tracks of plagiarism, and it is a serious academic offense.
In this class you are allowed to submit your Dropbox assignments multiple times up through the due date. This will allow you to view your Report and revise your assignment if necessary. Second and subsequent submissions will experience a 24-hour lag in the posting of a new Turnitin report. Your final submission will be the one graded by your instructor.
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