Criminal Justice (CRJS) 487

Group/Independent Studies (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Individualized study or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading Course - Applied Studies

Prerequisite: Professor approval required.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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CRJS 487 is not available for challenge.

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Projects must be chosen in consultation with the program coordinator and intended for completion by an individual student (or group of students) interested in an area of Criminal Justice. Students registering in Criminal Justice Independent Studies must have completed Criminal Justice CRJS 350 and either SOCI 305 or SOCI 365 or equivalent courses from another institution.


The objective of this course is to facilitate a critical analysis of various trends currently impacting on the Canadian criminal justice system. Students are urged to choose a particular issue that in their opinion is currently having a profound impact on the Canadian Criminal Justice system. Students will engage in a critical analysis of their topic via a literature review, interviews, and document analysis. The purpose of this course is to enable students to exercise critical analysis, document research and assess policy development as it relates to the criminal justice field.


Students must complete the three assignments and achieve a minimum course composite grade of “D” 50 percent.

Research Proposal 20%

The student will be required to submit a research proposal outlining a particular issue they wish to examine. The proposal must articulate why this issue is important, the reason why they are undertaking this research project, the implications for the criminal justice field, a tentative list of literature to be reviewed, why the literature is pertinent to the research topic and a tentative list of subjects to be interviewed. Approximately 5-7 pages.

Literature review 30%

The student must complete a review of at least 12 academic journal articles or books that relate to the topic they have chosen. The articles must be current (1990 to present) and must clearly pertain to the topic of choice. The purpose of the literature review is to afford students the opportunity to examine existing research and examine the scholarly debate. Students must indicate what the various authors are arguing and be prepared to critique these arguments. The literature review should also indicate what the authors are missing in their analysis, what questions do they not seem to be answering in their analysis. The literature review will be woven into the final research paper. Approximately 10-12 pages.

Research Paper 50%

The Final paper will be a synthesis of the literature review, any fieldwork the student has undertaken and more importantly the student’s critical analysis of the current trends and outcomes related to their particular project. The final paper should be approximately 20-25 pages in length.

The timelines for completion of these assignments will be set in collaboration with the Instructor and student.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, 2000.

Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services