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Administration of Justice Research Basics

Learn to research with ease using credible, college-appropriate resources to frame, guide, and inform your projects

Start With Background Reading

Many students turn to Wikipedia for their initial exploration of a topic. This is fine, but be sure to augment your background research with sources you can actually include on an academic bibliography.

Conduct background research because:

  • It is a great source of core knowledge on your topic
  • It can generate ideas on different ways to focus your topic
  • It can answer research questions you've already posed
  • It may help you clarify and/or expand research questions
  • It often points you towards other sources of information on your topic 

Reference sources are highly credible sources filled with thorough yet concise discussions that let you know the “who, what, when, why, and where” information on your topic right at the start of your research.  

Top Picks:

Develop Research Questions

Research questions help you focus your topic and give you a series of questions that you'll spend your research time answering. You'll create your questions based on the background reading that you do.

Broad Topic:  DNA Evidence

Research Questions to Define Your Topic:

  1. What is DNA fingerprinting and why is it an issue?
  2. What are potential benefits of using DNA evidence?
  3. Why is using DNA evidence controversial?
  4. Should DNA samples be collected from all people arrested and included in a national database?
  5. Do DNA databases pose a threat to individual rights?
  6. Based on my research, what do I think?

MJC Librarian, Kathleen Ennis, explains why you should always begin your search for relevant, credible information by creating a list of research questions that will drive your research quest.

Brainstorm Key Terms

Using the correct words to search will help you find relevant information. Use your research questions to help you create a list of key words to use in your searches for information.

Key Subject Terms:

dna fingerprinting

forensic genetics

dna data banks


Because different authors and search tools use different words to describe the same concepts, it's useful to have a list of similar and related terms in your arsenal when you set out to search for relevant information.