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How to write a criminology essay

Criminology essays address various factors associated with crime i.e. its nature, victim, range of theories and other social theories in order to arrive at a conclusion that answers the question.

How to write a criminology essay

The below sections give you fundamental guidelines on how to write a criminology essay.

Before writing the criminology essay, it is advised to divide the work into following steps:

Step 1: Preparation

Prior to writing, it is necessary to understand the question by asking ourselves about the requirement. Recollect whatever information you know about the question and indentify relevant sources from where you can get additional information that can address the question appropriately. Criminological essays are more often related to types of crime or associated theories. So it is necessary to understand the question beforehand, consider the various parts of the questions and try to explain the inter-relationships among them. Compare the objects in questions, present an argument and make critical observations on how a particular question needs to be answered. For example, if the question is to analyse various criminological theories in respect to a particular crime, you are being asked to present an argument on available theories and find correlation to the crime in question. There are valuable resources on key essay terms published by the University of Manchester and it may be a useful resource before beginning the essay.

Step 2: Research

Analyzing the question is an important activity before beginning to write the essay. Once you have detailed analysis of the questions, you are aware of the terms that need to be researched, what sort of information will be required and what method should be used to collect the information which can form the basis of answering the question. Gathering information becomes easier when you know the exact term that needs to be researched. For instance, in the above example, various criminological theories need to be analysed in particular. 'Criminological theories' needs to be researched from various sources which brings us plenty of information. Well, sources for criminology research are numerous for e.g. ISI web of knowledge, BUBL link catalogue, Criminology research council, Institute of Criminology and many other agencies. Nevertheless, the internet provides links to websites where papers on criminology are published and are available for free as well as on subscription.

Step 3: Planning – Writing and Formatting

After thorough research is done on the topic and necessary information collected, the next step is to design a structure in such a way that the gathered information is grouped under various themes and organise the themes into a meaningful order. The information should be organised under different sub-heads so that it's easy to use the information without confusion. Such arrangement will help you in deciding what you are going to say in the essay. This will form the introduction and will lay the basis for argument in the coming sections. The Introduction should demonstrate the understanding and importance of the research question and how the writer is going to present the answer. The next thing is to 'say whatever you want to say' about the topic in question and present a valid argument through critical analysis. Then note down every point from the resources, and whatever you intend to say in the introduction and body, which will finally conclude the answer providing befitting response to the question.

Formatting in essay writing is of paramount importance. There are certain institutions, universities and other agencies that set guidelines regarding margin, font size, style and the way of presentation. Nevertheless, it is necessary to ensure that essay is formatted using classic fonts like Times New Roman or Arial, sized at 10 or 12 with line spacing of 1.5 or double and that the margins are 1" on all sides of the A4 paper.

Knowing how to write a criminology essay is not only about writing the actual essay. It is also about the content you use, and your use of spelling and grammar. Once you feel that paper has been completed, read through the paper so as to ensure that any missing content or unnecessary statements are deleted or added and to rectify spelling and grammatical errors.

Step 4: Plagiarism

Because you have to refer to various sources that include books, websites, articles, periodicals, etc, it is inevitable that we are going to use the information collected from these sources. It is necessary to acknowledge the rightful author whose information has been used through appropriate citation and referencing. This is necessary to avoid plagiarism which is a serious offence and continuous instances of plagiarism will result in failure and dismissal.

Step 5: Referencing

There are guidelines that have been set by institutions like Modern Language Associations (MLA), American Psychological Associations (APA), Harvard, etc. which determine the style of in-text citations and referencing. Therefore, be sure to cite the sources and provide the full list of sources used in the referencing section. In text citation can be as follows:

Labeling theory is discussed by (Author, date)...

Similarly, this statement can be presented as: Author (date) mentioned labeling theory as...

For instance, if direct quotations are used in the text, it can be presented as:

"Labeling theory is the work of..." (Author, Date, Page Nos).

All the sources mentioned in the text are required to be presented in the reference list on the final page like:

For Book

Last Name, Initial (year) Title of the Book, Ed. Place: Publisher's Name

For Chapter in a book:

Last Name, Initial (Year) Title of the Chapter, In Initial (Ed) . Title of the Book, Place: Publisher's Name

Journal Article:

Last Name, Initial (Year) Title of the Article Journal Title, Volume No., Page No.

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