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Outline for Paper

The term paper will require each student to demonstrate their knowledge and assimilation of investigative processes and crime scene processing theory, research, and practice, as presented in the readings and lectures.  Students are expected to write one concise and succinct term paper of 10 double spaced pages of text without going over the 12-page maximum.  (Note: A cover page, abstract page, and a work cited page do not count towards the 10-pages minimum paper length requirement).  The paper shall be written in APA format and shall not have been previously submitted to any other instructor for any other course.  These papers should synthesize major ideas and themes outlined in the readings and lectures and reflect critical analysis

For this project, students will choose a contemporary investigatory method used by police and/or forensic scientists, using only articles from academic journals, official government publications, and reputable trade publications, to discuss in detail the entire criminal investigative process used in the method chosen, ensuring to incorporate major ideas and themes outlined in the readings and lectures.

EXAMPLE: A student may wish to write their paper on the use of mitochondrial DNA in sexual assault investigations, or perhaps witness/victim racial bias in viewing physical suspect line-ups.

In addition, historical papers, such as the OJ Simpson murder case, or a history of American prisons will not be accepted.  Term paper topics are required to address a contemporary area if criminal investigations.

The term paper should be prepared on a Microsoft Word document and emailed to the instructor, via the Blackboard email system, NO LATER THAN midnight Sunday of WEEK 7 or risk losing points (see Late Assignments section, below).  Students are reminded that the term paper is NOT a group activity, but is considered an individual assignment; therefore, no collaboration of any kind will be permitted (see Academic Honesty section, below).

Since this is a graduate school level course, the use of Wikipedia, the assigned course textbooks, or popular culture magazines such as People, Jet, the National Inquirer, etc. are prohibited sources of information.

Grading of the research paper is based upon the following grading rubric:

Grammar/Spelling:  15 points

Proper use of grammar and punctuation
Proper spelling

Style/Coherence:  20 points

Sentences are complete in thought
Sentences are concise, eliminating unnecessary words or phrases
Sentences vary in structure
Sentence transitions are present
Words used are precise, unambiguous and used properly
There is an appropriate tone for the assignment.

Organization:  20 points

There is clear structure to the answer
Logical flow of ideas
Appropriate introduction and conclusion

Format and APA Style:  10 points

Orderly presentation of materials, following general format requirements. Adherence to APA Style, sources properly attributed and citation format correct.

Content:  35 points

Major topics/theories are stated clearly and are supported by details and analysis
Content is comprehensive, accurate, and/or persuasive


In addition, the Minimum Format Requirements for the Term Paper are as follows:

  • Font: Times [New] Roman
  • Font Size: 12-Point Type (bold and italic should be used only for special sections/text)
  • Margins: 1 inch for left, right, top, and bottom
  • Pages: Include page numbers
  • Spacing: Double spaced
  • Indentation: Indent paragraphs. Do not use double return.


How to Read Articles and Books

Many students have never received formal training and/or practice in how to efficiently obtain the most from reading assignments.  The following are some questions to be considered for understanding and assimilating the reading assignments:

  • What is the author’s thesis or major point he or she is trying to make?
  • What are the major assumptions the author makes (and expects you to accept) in arguing that thesis?
  • What are the implications for theory, research, and practice?
  • What are some important or useful concepts the author presents?
  • How does the reading relate to previous readings?
  • What are its strengths and weaknesses?

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