Dr. Tod W. Burke


The writing of a research paper provides a student with an opportunity to master the basic literature on a particular topic. Mastery in this context means not merely reading source material and regurgitating the information obtained; it also means critically evaluating the available source material. Therefore, each research paper should be a thorough survey and critical evaluation of the relevant literature on a given topic.


Having chosen or having been assigned a research paper topic, the student must conduct research to obtain information from which the paper will be written. Sources of information may be classified as being "primary" or "secondary". Primary sources include articles in scholarly/peer reviewed journals, court decisions, statutes, personal memoirs/interviews, government review articles, and so forth. Secondary sources include professional magazines in a related field of study, newspaper articles, book chapters, etc.

For the purpose of this assignment, the student will be expected to obtain information from:

The student will be graded in part on the depth and thoroughness of the research.  For a five (5) page paper, the student should develop approximately 6-10 sources.

Getting Started

To get started, the student must find some initial references to his/her topic. He/she may consult one or more of the following (but not limited to these):

American Bar Association
American Criminal Justice Review
American Criminal Law Review
American Journal of Police
American Journal of Criminal Justice
American Journal of Criminal Law
American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
American Journal of Criminology
British Journal of Delinquency
Canadian Journal of Criminology
Contemporary Crises
Corrections Today
Crime and Delinquency
Criminal Justice Behavior
Criminal Justice Ethics
Criminal Justice International
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Criminal Justice Research Bulletin
Criminal Justice Review
International Criminal Justice Review
Criminal Justice Systems Review
Criminal Law Bulletin
Criminal Law Digest
Criminal Law Review
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Federal Prisons
Federal Probation
Forensic Science International
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
International Journal of Criminology and Offender Therapy
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
International Review of Victimology
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
Journal of Correctional Education
Journal of Crime and Justice
Journal of Criminal Justice
Journal of Criminal Justice Education
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Journal of Forensic Science
Journal of Forensic Science Society
Journal of Legal Studies
Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Justice Professional
Justice Quarterly
Justice System Journal
Juvenile Court Digest
Law Enforcement Technology
Law and Human Behavior
Law and Order
Law and Police Quarterly
Law and Society Review
Law Enforcement Journal
Medicine, Science and the Law
National Sheriff
New England Journal on Prison Law
Offender Rehabilitation
Police: The Law Officer’s Magazine
Police Chief (IACP)
Police Forum
Police Studies
Prison Journal
Probation and Parole
Social Justice
Women and Criminal Justice

The student is also encouraged to use the "Electronic Resource Database" available on-line via the Radford University Library Home Page at  If the student is unable to locate source material at the Radford University library, he/she should request the material via "inter-library loans". This is a free service provided to students who wish to order (for loan) books, journals, articles, etc. from other libraries who possess the material. (This service is available "on-line" via the Library Home Page). It is important to note, that if the student wishes to use inter-library loans, they should allow approximately 2 weeks for delivery.

Writing Style

All research papers will be written in standard English. Each five grammatical, spelling, typographical errors, etc., will lower the research paper one letter grade. Ten such errors will result in immediate rejection of the paper, in such case, the student will receive an "F" for the submitted work. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that the student proof-read the material before submission. The student is also strongly encouraged to make an appointment with the Radford University Writing Center before submitting the paper (The Writing Center staff provides guidance and offers suggestions for written work).

A direct quotation will be indicated by quotation marks (followed by the page number where the quote was taken). Direct quotes longer than three lines, will be indicated by indenting the entire quote and typing it double-spaced (followed by the page number).

Unless the style or manner of presentation of the information in the quote is important to the paper, the material will be substantially paraphrased, rather than quoted. The student is reminded that the use of a direct quote or paraphrase without proper citation of the source of the material amounts to plagiarism, an offense for which the student at Radford University may be severely disciplined, consistent with the rules on academic dishonesty (See plagiarism section).

Physical Preparation of the Paper

The research paper must be typed, double-spaced on good quality bond paper or computer paper. If you use a computer word processing program, do not "right justify" the margin. Keep all margins and fonts (size 12) consistent with the processing default.

Each page, beginning with the cover page through the reference page, should be numbered in the upper right hand corner. All photographs, tables, graphs, or other diagrams will be placed on separate pages, appropriately numbered in the body of the paper (do not place them as appendices). Additionally, do not just throw charts and tables into a paper without proper citation and explanation. Such pages do not count toward the minimum requirements for the paper. An abstract (see sample below) must also be attached to the paper. The abstract should be page "2" of your paper and come after the cover page, but before the body of your paper.

The student will submit two complete typed copies of their paper (each paper stapled in the upper left corner of the paper). The student will also submit along with his/her paper(s), a photocopy of each article cited within the paper. In other words, if a student paraphrased or quoted from page 12 of the Journal of Police Science and Administration, the student must photocopy that article and highlight the paraphrase/quote in pen, pencil, marker, etc. When the typed paper is completed, the student must return to the photocopied material and note for the reader where in the typed paper (original paper to be handed to the professor) this material can be found (example: page 3, paragraph 2). Place all photocopies in order that you used them within the text (if you used the same article more than once, you only need to copy the article once, but note the page and paragraph it can be found in the body of the paper). Thus, any material cited in the text or noted in the reference page must be photocopied and submitted to the professor, along with two copies of the paper. One of the papers will be returned to the student graded with any comments. The other paper will be kept on file by the professor.

Place both copies of the paper, plus the highlighted photocopies (do not stable these onto the submitted papers) into a clasp envelope.  Please do not place your name on the final clasp envelope submission (this will allow for recycling).  However, you may choose to reuse the same envelope with your name attached for each submission deadline (prior to the final submission).

Any paper that deviates from these instructions may be rejected and the student may receive an "F" for the project.

Submission Deadlines and Point Value:

All submission deadlines will be noted in the class syllabus.  All assignment deadlines are due at the start of class.  There will be no make-up assignments or late papers accepted.  Please do not bother to ask for an extension - it will not be granted! 

As with the full paper, the student will submit two (2) copies of each assignment (with the exception of the topic selection).

The student will be required to resubmit the original of each assignment with their final paper (this will allow the instructor the opportunity to review previous written comments). 

What is an Annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a brief commentary or summary concerning the information to be used (For instance, after reading the article, book chapter, etc., simply summarize what was read).  Basically, you will be letting the instructor know what information you will be taking from the article, book chapter, etc. This is different than an abstract.  An abstract summarizes the purpose and findings of the study.  That may or may not be the material you wish for your paper.   An annotated bibliography is usually no more than a paragraph or two in length.  Do not use direct quotations unless absolutely necessary (examples: interview or definition).  This will allow the student the opportunity to practice paraphrasing the material that will be used in the paper.  All references should be in APA format.  The student must also submit two copies of the actual article, book chapter, etc. being annotated. 

Citing Work in the Body of the Paper

This paper will be written using the latest publication manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). There are two steps in the APA style of documentation: (1) works are cited, in an abbreviated form, in the body of the paper, and (2) full information about all works cited in the text provided at the end of the paper in a section entitled "Reference Page."

When you need to document the source of your information, you will provide, within the text the paper, the last name of the author(s) of the work (or a short title if the author is unknown), followed by the date the material was published. This can be done in a variety of methods, depending upon the flow of the sentence. For instance,

Burke (2001) found that…

A study (Burke, 2001) found…

Police dispatchers experience a great amount of stress (Burke, 2001).

"Dispatcher stress is defined as…" (Burke, 2001, p. 25).

If you wish to cite more than one published work to support a particular point, the works’ should be listed together, such as:

Several studies (Cohen and Brown, 2000; Dunham, 2001) revealed…

Note: While APA allows this to be done in either alphabetical order by authors’ last name (do not change the order) or by date of publication, I prefer alphabetical order. Whichever you choose, be consistent throughout the paper.

If there is no author, use an abbreviated title, such as:

The investigator found hairs and fibers at the crime scene (Two children killed…, 1999).

It is likely that you will have a cite within a cite. Make sure the proper author(s) is/are given credit:

Jones (1999, in Burke, 2001) found that…

This indicates that Jones actually made the statement, but you found the material in Burke’s article. At the very least, Burke should be noted in the reference page (you should provide Jones as well).

If an article has 3 or more authors, you must note all the authors by name the first time using them, such as:

Research (Brown, Adams & Greene, 2001) found that…

The next time you choose to use this article, you can simplify by typing:

Research (Brown et al., 2001) found that…

All authors must be noted in the reference page (do not use et al.).

** If you use an electronic source, go to the Radford University Library Homepage (link to Highlander Guide to the Library and find how to cite electronic source material.

Sample Reference Page

Your reference page must contain all work cited within the text. Since you must photocopy each source used, there will be no padding of the references (nice try!). Each reference list begins with the author's last name (or title of article if no author) to the far left margin and the remainder of the lines (if any) are indented. All entries are doubled-spaced and placed in alphabetical order by author(s) last name (once again, do not change the order as indicated in the original article). If no author is provided, place in order by the first word in the article (for instance: if the article was entitled "DNA Evidence", this would fall under the "D"s).

These are just a few examples of citing within a reference page. For more information, go to the Radford University Library Home Page (Follow link to Highlander Guide to the Library for APA references: .  If you need to cite an online source, please go to: for the latest citation requirements.

Single author journal article:

Rogers, T. (2001). Police officer stress is overrated. Journal of Police Science

    and Administration, 4 (6),  227-242.

(Note: the 4 refers to the volume; the 3 to the number of issues for that year; and 227-242 are the page numbers).

Multiple authors journal article:

Jones, B. & Burke, T.. (2001). DNA Evidence is Nonsense. Journal of Forensic Science, 3 (4),


Single author (book):

Lofland, L. (1999). The World of Criminal Justice. New York: Harper & Row.

Chapter with a book:

Spritzer, S. & Samuels, J.  Corporal Punishment as a Means to Control Student

    Behavior. In I.M. Beatings (Ed.), Corrections and Punishment Today (pp. 356-392).

    West Hollywood, CA: Sage.

Monthly Magazine:

Klinger, E. (October, 2001). The power of day dreams in the classroom.

    Psychology Today, pp. 36-52.

Signed Newspaper Article:

Smith, T. (2000, July 25). The world of indifference. The Washington Post,

    p. B4.

Court Case:

Sierra Club v. Froehlke, 816 F. 2d 205 (5th Cir.), 1987.

(Note: To cite a court case within the text, simply use the case name and the year of the hearing: For instance, Sierra Club v. Froehlke, 1987).

A Check List and a Few Reminders:

Did you:

Title of paper, Your name, Course title, The University, and Due date.

Sample abstract:

    The purpose of this paper was to examine the variables associated with police stress. Research revealed that     police stress is a function of situational, environmental and biological factors.

IMPORTANT: No late papers will be accepted! There are no exceptions or excuses! A late paper is defined as not being presented directly to the professor the beginning of the class period of the due date (if you are tardy that day, the paper will not be accepted).


Radford University is committed to the highest standards of academic honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty   include plagiarism, cheating, bribery, academic fraud, sabotage of research materials, the sale of academic papers, the purchase of academic papers, and the falsification of records. An individual who engages in these or related activities or who knowingly aids another who engages them, is acting in an academically dishonest manner and will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the bylaws and procedures of Radford University (See Student Handbook).

Each member of the academic community is expected to give full, fair, and formal credit to any and all sources that have contributed to the formulation of ideas, methods, interpretations, and findings. The absence of such formal credit is an affirmation that the work is fully the writer’s. The term "sources" includes, but is not limited to, published or unpublished materials, lectures, lecture notes, computer programs, mathematical and other symbolic formulations, course papers, examinations, theses, dissertations, and comments offered in class or informal discussions. The representation that such work of another is the writer’s represents plagiarism.

Care must be taken to document the source of any ideas or arguments. If the actual word of a source is used, it must appear within quotation marks. In cases that are unclear, the writer must take due care to avoid plagiarism.

The source should be cited whenever:

  1. A text is quoted verbatim
  2. Data gathered by another are presented in diagrams or tables/charts
  3. The results of a study conducted by another are used
  4. The work or intellectual effort of another is paraphrased by the writer.

Since the intent to deceive is not a necessary element (strict liability), careful note taking and record keeping is essential in order to avoid plagiarism. In other words, it is like being a little bit pregnant (you either are or you are not). One cannot have "accidental/unintentional" plagiarism!

Students should consult members of the faculty for clarification of the definition and substance of this policy on plagiarism as it applies to their particular discipline.

(Source: City University of New York – Proposal on Plagiarism).