Research Paper


Research Paper

Students will write a scholarly paper that is a minimum of 6-8 pages in length (6-8 pages excluding the title page, abstract, and reference page). Format is to follow the most recent edition of the Manual of the American Psychological Association.

References may be found in the APUS library or search engines such as Google Scholar.  The paper must include at least five, peer-reviewed sources that cover your chosen topic from the list below. Keep in mind that 5 is the minimum.  A good quality research paper usually contains in excess of 10.  Sources should be less than 10 years old and if using statistical data, it should be less than 5 years old.  Do not forget to use in text citations to credit your sources.

Note that references used for your research need to be peer-reviewed/scholarly journals. These journals typically have the following characteristics:

1. articles are reviewed by a panel of experts before they are accepted for publication;
2. articles are written by a scholar or specialist in the field;
3. articles report on original research or experimentation;
4. are often published by professional associations;
5. utilize terminology associated with the discipline.

Use of newspapers, news magazines, and similar periodicals must be kept to a minimum, and will be acceptable only as sources for supplementary information.

References like “Wikipedia,” “Psychology Today,” and “Court TV” are not primary sources, are not peer reviewed (reviewed for empirical integrity, accuracy, and authenticity), and are not appropriate references for scholarly writing (with the possible exception of use for anecdotal background information).

While dissertations are closely supervised by a dissertation committee made up of scholars, they are still considered student work. Dissertations are often included in scholarly writing, although they are used sparingly.


Research Paper Topics

Choose one of the following topics relevant to evidence and procedures:

  1. Documentation, collection, and preservation of DNA evidence
  2. Discuss the role of the first officer of the scene. How can his/her actions impact investigation?
  3. The pros and cons of relying on modus operandi and signature in a serial homicide investigation.
  4. Discuss at bitemark examinations, document examinations, and microscopic hair examinations and exactly why each is now considered “junk science”.
  5. Discuss the impact of visual aides in the courtroom and how they assist in explaining forensic science to the jury. Provide examples drawing from specific forensic disciplines such as fingerprint analysis or ballistics.
  6. Discuss the different methods of documenting and searching a crime scene. What are the pros and cons of relying on 3D imaging systems?


Remember that statistics, studies and case examples add depth to your writing.

The paper should be of high quality, free of spelling and grammatical errors, and of original work. Plagiarism will not be permitted and occurrences of it will result in the procedures outlined in the “Student Handbook.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you have submitted the assignment it is automatically run through (plagiarism checker).   You MUST be below a 20% match to other sources.


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