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JST204 Research Skills Guide: Plan

Your Assessment Task

It is important to break down the requirements of your assessment task before you start searching for information so that you can plan your approach.

Assessment item 4 requires you to write a 2000 word research essay on the following question:  

Compare and contrast the three common responses to youth crime as discussed throughout the subject (See Textbook Table 13.1 for an overview):

  • Punishment/Justice Responses - e.g. Detention, Mandatory sentences, Boot camps
  • Welfare Responses - e.g. Rehabilitation, Therapeutic Services, Community-based Responses
  • Restorative Responses - e.g. Youth Justice Conferencing, Victim Reparation Schemes

In your answer you should research widely, going beyond the textbook, and:

  • Describe these three responses;
  • Provide one or more examples of responses that draw on each model;
  • Identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of each response; 
  • Consider what some of the criticisms or problems with them might be;
  • Consider the professional roles related to these responses;
  • Evaluate how effective these responses may be.

Let's first undergo a topic analysis, then we'll look at some search strategies to help find the information you need.

Topic Analysis

Let's start thinking about what terms you will use when searching for information. To do this:

  • Identify the key concepts of your topic (watch the topic analysis video for assistance); and then
  • Brainstorm as many synonyms and similar terms/phrases as you can.

This is a useful exercise because the language used to describe your topic may vary from source to source, and you don't want to miss out on a good source because it uses a different term to the one you are searching on.

Let's start with your assessment task where you've been asked to analyse models of youth crime prevention:

Keyword Synonym / Similar term or phrase
youth juvenile, teen, teenager, adolescent, young person...
youth crime juvenile delinquency, youth offending, adolescent criminality...
justice court, detention, legislation, sanction, punishment, remand, custody...
welfare community, community correction, rehabilitation...
restorative conferencing, community-orientated, reparation...

Remember to refer to your textbook, particularly Chapter 11: Detention and Community Corrections and Chapter 13: Restorative Justice and Juvenile Conferencing. These chapters provide an overview of the three common responses to youth crime. They highlight the key characteristics of these responses and explore the differences between them.

Combining the terminology of your assessment question with your brainstormed keywords will allow you to search for a broader set of results. Tips on combining your search terms can be found on the next page of this guide (Search Strategies).

This is an excerpt of your assessment question - please refer to your subject outline for a full outline of your assessment task.

Find additional keywords

Tip: Online dictionaries and thesauri can help you identify synonyms.

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