I have to write a minimum of a 25 page research proposal on any issue in our criminal justice system. I have chosen to talk about the death penalty. I have to start broad with my topic, then narrow it down something specific. I am having trouble with narrowing this topic down. I have never wrote this type of a research paper before. I also have to use a minimum of 25 peer reviewed articles with a methods section.
Any ideas on how to narrow down my topic would be greatly appreciated.
I have never
wrote written this type of a research paper before.
Hey, this is a great topic! And yes, I can tell you how to start broad and then narrow the scope. It really makes a lot of sense, and it's not as complicated as one might think. First, it's important to search for 'capital punishment' in a database of professional journal articles, like JSTR or Questia. Read some articles that have been written in the past 5 years.
I also recommend an article by Carol Sunstein, which I enjoyed a lot: No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty
That article is actually written as a response to an article written by some other researchers. Read it, and you'll see what I mean. It's great!
And after reading her article and a few that were written more recently, you will start to have a sense of all the most recent, advanced developments in the study of capital punishment -- it's effectiveness or ineffectiveness for deterring crime, the philosophical principles relevant to a discussion of it, etc.
Here is the secret: This is like jumping into a conversation that is already happening. You consider it in a broad way to understand all of it, but then you say something specific. You won't be able to say something (narrow) until after you have read several recent articles. That is, you will not be able to participate in a conversation unless you spend some time listening.
AFTER you read some great articles, you won't have to try to figure out something narrow/specific to write. You'll spontaneously have something to say, just like in a real conversation. I hope this helps! Start by reading some articles, and it will all be easy.