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To write an abstract and add it to your paper as a second draft. The instructions for this are on the General page of the course.
In doing this, make sure you make a clear statement of your Topic, Question, and Thesis Statement and include a summary of the 3+ arguments that you are relying on to prove your thesis. The abstract should also say why the Question that you chose is both important and controversial.
The following description comes from criteria established by SMU for its Scholar Days presentations. One exception to these requirements for CJ 499 is that an Abstract may be up to 250 words and longer than three sentences. Otherwise this is how you should create the Abstract for your Senior Seminar paper.
Goal: An abstract should provide a short but clear statement of your research project. In one to three sentences, it tells the reader the purpose of the paper, the methodology used, the results, and the importance of the results.
Best Practices: A well-crafted abstract will touch on four main elements of the project, as described below. You’ll want to think through each element carefully, even though you may just touch on it in the abstract. Remember, an abstract is SHORT!!!
1. Purpose. Explain the purpose of your paper. State the primary objectives and scope of the paper. What is the rationale for your research? Why did you choose the topic of research? Is the topic you are researching an ignored or newly discovered one? Why is it significant? What is your thesis statement?
2. Methods. Clearly state the methodology (techniques or approaches) used in your paper. What is the method or “lens” you are using for analysis? What is the larger organizational structure?
3. Results. Describe your results so far. What have you learned or revealed in your research? Give special priority to new findings that contradict previous theories. (In other words, have there been any surprises?)
4. Conclusion. Describe the implications of the results. Why are the results of your research important to your field? This is a time to emphasize the “so what” factor.
Example of a completed abstract:
This interpretive study analyzes the journals of middle-school girls who attend an urban public school to determine how they use journal writing to negotiate the joys and difficulties of adolescence. Comparing the journals with statements gained through interviews, the study shows that writing is used as an outlet for positive but not negative emotions and therefore challenges previous research on the topic. (word count: 62)
ELEMENTS OF A SENIOR THESIS
- Title Page. This front page shows your thesis statement as well as your name, the date, and other pertinent data. (See APA Format Style 2012)
- Abstract. This is an executive summary of your thesis statement and its arguments. It should be limited to one paragraph of no more than 250 words. You should include a statement here explaining what your topic is and why it is important to the legal or criminal justice system. (See “How to write an Abstract for your Thesis paper”)
- Method/Procedure. This lays the basis for your arguments and explains how you conducted your research. It describes how you gathered your data and then how you analyzed it and shaped it to support your arguments. (See “Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research”)
- Thesis Statement/Arguments/Conclusion. This is the main body of your paper where you state your thesis, make your arguments in support of it, and provide the data that you found through your research which proves your arguments. (See “What is a Thesis Statement”)
- References. This is where your bibliography goes and any notes that you care to include. (See APA Format Style 2012)
- Appendixes. You will have one or more appendices only if you have reports, charts, graphs, or other materials that you want to include in the paper which don’t fit well into the main body of the thesis.
Plea-bargaining: Should we put a price tag on justice? A lot of times I don’t agree with plea- bargaining
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