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Final Research Paper: Each student is required to complete a final research pape
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Each student is required to complete a final research paper for this
course. Papers will following along with
the theme of the course, with topics related to an ‘untold story’ of capital
punishment. Throughout the semester, we have learned about some of the history
of CP, in terms of HOW our society as a whole related to this extreme form of
punishment. In other words, we discussed the history of how America experienced
capital punishment (via discussion on the book The Death Penalty: An American
History, by Stuart Banner). We then read
and discussed a selection of chapters from the book: Capital Punishment’s
Collateral Consequences, by Robert Bohm. This collection featured various accounts, via qualitative interview, of
capital punishment through the experiences of individuals who had some form of
direct involvement – such as Homicide Detectives, Judges, Victim Families,
Offender Families etc. These accounts,
while based upon individual experiences, do represent an attempt to try and
describe how certain groups experience the death penalty in America today. Finally, we are reading the very individual
experience of Sister Helen Prejean, spiritual advisor to former inmate and now
deceased Patrick Sonnier. Through
these three main sources, we have been examining capital punishment in America,
through the eyes of those who are/have been most directly impacted by it, but
whose stories are rarely told. For your
paper, you will choose a group to further study and research regarding their
experience(s). You have quite a bit of
flexibility with this, but you can start by thinking about the groups in the
Bohm book we read (any of those groups are appropriate for your paper if you
would like). You can also choose a group in that text that we did not cover
(full table of context provided for your reference)…or you can choose a
different group altogether (an example could be spiritual advisors – such as
Sister Helen, or perhaps you might be interested in studying anti-death penalty
advocates more generally-think those who are active in some of the anti-death
penalty organizations). Be as creative as you would like. Poke around in the
research databases to see what pops up, and this might help you make your
choice! All final topics however must be approved by the professor.
Basic guidelines/components include:
must be a total of 8-10 typed pages. Cover page(s) and reference pages do NOT count towards the 15-page
total. Papers must be typed in Times New
Roman, 12-pt. font, and double-spaced with 1-inch margins. NO EXCEPTIONS! 2. Electronic
copies will be submitted to the D2l dropbox and checked for plagiarism. 3. Students
are encouraged to take diligent notes on assigned readings from the text, as
well as from the various articles assigned and distributed in class or via
D2l. These may be used in your papers,
and will help guide you to additional resources. This will also help you to choose your paper
topics must be approved by the professor prior to final submission. It is required that you demonstrate you have
conducted preliminary research on your paper topic, and have collected various
academic sources you will be able to use for your paper. THIS IS CRITICAL! I will not approve any paper topics without a
list of viable sources. Typical Paper
Title Page with Abstract
a. Covers generally, the topic and major research
question(s) of interest.
II. History/Background of Capital Punishment,
particularly as it relates to your specific topic
a. Here, you want to state what you expect to find
upon completing your literature review (review of the academic research on your
b. For this particular type of paper (a perspective
piece), your hypothesis will be fairly simple… a broad statement about what you
believe the overarching perspective your chosen group will likely have re:
example, if you choose homicide detectives, after reading some preliminary
research, you might reasonable hypothesize that further investigation is likely
to find that homicide detectives overall, will be supportive of capital
punishment, given their intimate involvement in the investigation, to include
the initial-often disturbing crime scene, as well as the emotionally
challenging task of communicating with the victims family.
IV. Literature Review
a. Here, review the actual studies related to your
topic. You need not (should not) go one-by-one, but instead look for the common
threads/conclusions, as well as how the findings of each study might differ.
b. Summarize the findings overall – what do they
say about the topic? Your question?
c. Specifically state whether the research supports
or rejects your hypothesis, and why. You
may offer limitations of the existing research if you feel that may be
contributing to your findings (esp. when they don’t support your hypothesis).
V. Summary and Conclusions
a. Overall, what did you find?
b. What is the strength of the research? The limits
of the research?
c. What would you recommend for future research on
this topic? OR, regarding policy as it relates to you topic.