Project #46439 - Research paper

I. Statement of the Research Problem and Introduction (1-4 pages)

Your paper should start out with a general introduction of the concept or concepts you are planning to study.  To start out, write 1-3 paragraphs setting up the purpose of the study followed by a thorough review of the literature and previous research findings.  If you are studying a topic that has a lot of divisiveness, or differences of opinion/outcomes, you will want to include previous research that shows both sides of the issue.  That means you should include previous research that supports and does not support the topic at hand.  For example, if one was studying abortion, they would include research that is both pro and con on the topic of abortion.  If you noted any problems with the research studies you have reviewed, you can include that information in this section as well. 

     Next, explain why it would be interesting to study the hypothesis you have set up or are setting up.  For example, explain what is different about your study or if you are simply trying to replicate the work of a previous researcher, explain why.  If you are replicating another study with slightly different variables or time frames, explain how the changes you are making might enhance the existing research on your topic.  The key is to try to create interest and engage your audience in the project. 

     Provided below is an example of an introduction that was written for a criminal justice research paper that examines the effect race and sex have on sentencing outcomes for drug offenses.  The author sets up the rational for the study and provides a literature review (note that this is an excerpt only).  For your paper, you will start with the earliest research on your topic and end with the most recent research).

 

EXAMPLE

Over the last three decades, women have come to represent a rapidly increasing population in state prisons across the country and women are going to jail for drug-related offenses at a rate significantly higher than men (Lusane,1991).  However, research into why the female population is increasing at such a rapid rate for these types of offenses is quite sparse.  

     The putative “War on Drugs” which became America’s battle cry in the 1980’s has often been placed at the core of attempts to explain the incarceration rates for males of color within the United States and some have suggested that the war on drugs has also been at the center of the rise in female incarceration.  However, much of this discussion has been at the level of speculation, lacking firm empirical and theoretical base.  We suggest that these key questions are both theoretical and empirical.  In particular, we propose that the “War on Drugs” was in effect, a war on vulnerable and dominated segments of society and resulted in increasing rates of incarceration for men and women of color.  Using conflict theory as it’s rational; this paper will attempt to shed light on the reasons behind the increase in the women’s prison population.

     Conflict theory (similar to critical theory; see Flowers, 1988 or radical theory; see Renzetti, 1994) became popular in the 1950's.  It arose out of Marxist ideas of societal inequality between the classes that societal laws were codified to preserve the interests of the elite or more powerful classes.  It is believed that extreme power differentials exist between political and economic groups in society and that such power differences are embedded in the institutional organization of society (Farnworth and Horan, 1980).

      The main proponent of conflict theory was George Vold who wrote his book, Theoretical Criminology, in 1958.  His approach traces back to Georg Simmel who proposed in 1950, that conflict is a fundamental social process.  It is also related to the conflict theories of crime proposed by Thorsten Sellim in 1938 and Edwin Sutherland in 1947, along with Ralph Darendorf a sociologist who developed his theory independently of Vold during the same time period. 

     Vold proposed that there was a conflict between the upper and lower classes and that this conflict explained not only criminal law, but criminal behavior as well (Akers, 1993).  In societies and communities characterized by rigid economic stratification and heavy urban concentration of the poor, elites are likely to use the administration of criminal justice to enforce laws which preserve the economic order (Chambliss & Siedman, 1971; Spitzer, 1975.)  The whole process of law making, law breaking, and enforcement is implicated in this conflict among social, economic, and political interest groups.  Law violation itself is simply one aspect of this on-going collective conflict (Akers:160). 

     Conflict theorists contend that powerful groups impose greater legal constraints on the socially disadvantaged than on other members of society.  These constraints are regarded as providing advantages to the powerful in the continual struggle over society’s resources (Kempf and Austin, 1986; Chambliss and Siedman, 1971). The dominant groups see to it that their definitions of normality or deviance become enacted through laws and protected by the criminal justice system (Akers, 1994) and Turk (1969) suggested that minorities might be more likely to receive harsh treatment in the legal system. 

      In regards to the incarceration of females, a number of studies have been conducted which tend to show that women are generally treated with more leniency by the court (Black 1976; Daly 1989; Harris 1977; Kruttschnitt 1984a, 1984b; Nagel and Weitzman 1971; Simon 1975). However, while women in general receive more lenient treatment than men, this treatment is not uniform for all women. Indeed, Visher (1983) and Kein (1973) have found that leniency tends to apply more to those who fit a "traditional sex-role," and are "white and middle class."  Other researchers (Hochstedler and Frank, 1990) assert that the differences in incarceration rates between males and females are due to white male ideals of chivalry and that females are less capable and therefore less accountable for crimes.  According to Hochstedler and Frank, the elite members of society, who tend to be white males, and espouse the virtues of patriarchy, uphold these ideals in the way women are treated in the criminal justice system (particularly women who are members of the dominant culture).  If this assertion is correct, why then, are women going to prison more often than men for drug related offenses?

     There are two competing perspectives that have shown explanatory success in predicting variation in criminal justice leniency for women.  The first theory, “informal social control” (Kruttschnitt 1980-81, 1982) proposes that lenient sanctioning trends for women reflected their higher degree of informal social control from family/kin ties.  In contrast, Daly (1987a, 1987b, 1989a, 1989b) makes the distinction between the court's concern for protecting women (Female Paternalism) and its concern for protecting children and families (Familial Paternalism). Daly's theory of ‘familial paternalism' suggests that the court sees the female defendant with children as more responsible and anchored and realizes the impracticality of imprisoning a person on which children depend. This theory predicts that women with children, independent of marital status, will be more likely to receive lenient treatment from the court. 

     Both perspectives have been tested empirically with respect to sentencing and indicate that there are also racial differences that impact sentencing dispositions. In particular, Visher (1983) and Daly (1989a) found that African American offenders do not receive the same degree of leniency that non-African American offenders receive. We hope to extend their findings in this study.

       Since other researchers have found no differences in the treatment of males and females within the justice system (Bishop and Frazier, 1984) this is an area open for additional research which this study will also address. We take the stance that patriarchy further serves to differentiate the experiences of women from those of men of color.  Despite the similarity of ways in which each group deals with alienation in a society of declining opportunities, it is further posited that women are punished more harshly when they transgress norms of femininity.   One of which, is the norm of motherhood, that socially constructs the use of drugs by women as especially onerous.  This is evidenced by the recent rash of fetal endangerment cases against pregnant women who either use drugs or are perceived as not providing adequate care for their unborn children (Lusane,1991; Randall and Smith 2002).  Therefore, we expect this to result in a greater proportion of women’s incarceration (across all racial/ethnic groups) than that of men of color for drug related offenses. 

 

 

            II. Design of the Study (1-3 pages)

 

            In this section you will clearly state your hypothesis, based on your knowledge of the research question and relevant literature that you have reviewed. Specify test variables (be sure to clarify your Dependent Variables and Independent Variables). 

Using another excerpt from the same paper this is how this author stated their hypothesis.

 

EXAMPLE

       We expect patterns of racial domination and patriarchy to be intertwined in the incarceration of women of color given the rather unique history of racial relations in the United States.  We expect this to be manifested in the statistics of incarceration for drug violations.  In short, our hypothesis is that minority women are likely to be incarcerated at a larger rate and to receive harsher sentences than white women who were convicted of drug possession or trafficking for the same offense types.  The model posits that in accord with the basic tenets of conflict theory, women who are minorities and who are engaged in criminal activity that is considered transgressing the ideals of femininity and motherhood will receive greater sentences than their white female counterparts.  Additionally, it is expected that white females will be incarcerated at a higher rate for narcotics related offenses than white males since these types of offenses also transgress the ideals of the dominant cultures ideal of “femininity”.   Our independent variables are race and sex and our dependent variables are sentence length and incarceration for narcotics crimes vs. other offenses.

    

** I need my paper to look like the examples shown, but only with my data and my references used. My hypothesis is that " Christians have more conservative views on premarital sex and divroce." The independant variable is religion and dependant variables are premartial sex and divorce. You can prove it wrong or right, whatever the readings suggest. This is not the full assignment, but I will do the rest on my own. Attatched are the peer reviewed articles I plan to use.

                       

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Due By (Pacific Time) 11/09/2014 12:00 am
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