Mental Health, Crime, Murder, Serial Killer

Research Question:What kinds of people mostly tend to become serial killers?

Thesis: How is criminal behavior in serial killers affected by mental health disorders like Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, or Antisocial Personality Disorder?

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  1. General description of the areas of importance – Background(3-4 paragraphs)

  2. Significance of the Problem

a. A Thesis that issignificant, relevant, and specific to the topic studied.

b. Why is it important to conduct this study?

C. This should be short .

d. What reasons are there for wanting to know the answers to our Thesis?

  1. Analyze the Basis for the Study

a. Organize the variables that will be considered to answer the thesis likely will have a theoretical premise. Specify how the most appropriate/relatable/relevant perspectives helps analyze the study. Specify how the most appropriate/relevant/relatable perspective helps conceptualize the study.

b. Include definitions of important terms and vocabulary.

  1. Research Question

a. State the purpose of the research specifically and clearly.

b. The introduction should lead and provide support for the problem statement.

  1. Research Question(Continued) and Hypotheses

a. I will have a single research question, with a number of hypotheses for each.

b. Use theoretical questions and hypotheses written in formal/research language.

c. A research question should (a) be in the form of a question, (b) suggest a relationship among constructs, and (c) be empirically testable.

d. Hypotheses are statements written to predict direction. Hypotheses are written in present tense.

e. Example:

i. Research Question: What kinds of people mostly tend to become serial killers?

ii. Hypothesis 1:

iii. Hypothesis 2:

iv. Hypothesis 3:


  1. Historical Background

a. Put things into perspective. This is more than just chronology and doesn’t have to include every detail since day one.

b. What are the major issues, controversies, etc. that impacted my study. Include background on all relevant variables.

  1. Theory Relevant to Research Question/Hypotheses.

a. What models/perspectives inform your research?

b. Compare and contrast competing theories and justify the foundation of the counterargument.

c. Describe how the foundation of the counterargument applies to the problem.

  1. Current Evidence Relevant to Research Question/Hypotheses

a. Include in this section:

I. Evidence relating to specific combination or variety of variables (specifically examine the background and relevant background information) relevant to the dissertation.

ii. This should be more than a listing of evidence. What common ideas hold them together? Transition each section withone another effectively.

iii. Incorporate discussion of strengths/weaknesses of evidence in previous studies and which you are “building” on/hoping to avoid/improve your study.


  1. Participants

a. Human subject’s consideration and clearance from IRB (IRB is submitted after the proposal and documented as passed in the final document).

b. Describe subjects in enough detail so the reader can visualize the subjects. Important characteristics should be delineated (often not available until after data collection, these data should be presented here rather than in the results section).

c. Describe methods for sample selection in detail. For example if a sample of convenience is used, this should be explicitly stated. Specific inclusion and exclusion criteria should be noted in this section.

d. Conduct and report a power analysis to determine the sample size for the proposal. Keep these findings in the final document and provide an explanation if there are meaningfully more or less subjects in the final analyses.

e. If there was attrition, state the number of subjects who dropped out (or with unusable data), the reasons for attrition, and information about the dropouts.

f. Discuss handling of missing data.

g. If a survey is used report the rate of return in this section.

  1. Procedures

a. Procedures should be described in sufficient detail, that a reader could replicate the study if so desired.

b. If a survey is used, the method of collecting data, the rate of return, and description of the procedures used in follow up and a description of the nonresponders should be provided.

c. Copies of materials used in intervention, etc. should be included in an appendix.

  1. Data Analysis

a. Restate each research question and hypothesis.

b. Each hypothesis should be followed by choice of statistical analysis to address each.

c. Include brief description, the assumptions regarding the statistical analysis that will be tested, and rationale for each statistical technique chosen.

d. State alpha levels to be used to determine statistical significance


  1. Statistical Analyses to Answer Research Questions/Hypotheses

a. Use questions/hypotheses as an outline to organize results.

b. Each question/hypothesis should be restated followed by the results of the tests of assumptions and then by the data analyses which provide answers to that question/hypothesis. c. Report statistical power of the test and effect sizes.

  1. Organize Data into Tables and Figures

a. Each Table or Figure must be referenced in the text.

b. Tables and Figures should include complete information so that they can be understood without reference to the text.

c. Place tables and figures as soon after their first mention in the text as is possible.

V. Conclusion

  1. Summary

a. Summarize results briefly.

b. Discuss results in non-statistical terms.

Answer the research question and hypothesis

  1. Conclusions

a. Organize this section with headings

b. Specifically discuss the implications of the results. Compare your Evidence with background and very relevant findings.

c. Relate to literature review - point out (a) consistencies and (b) inconsistencies with results of those studies reported in the literature cited.

d. Did findings provide support or differ from the position of the thesis.

e. It is appropriate/necessary to ponder on the meaning of the evidence as long as it is made specific and clear.

  1. Limitations

a. A limitation is a weakness or “block” thatwould potentially limit the validity of the evidence. Most limitations should have been considered when the research began. Therefore, limitations in this part are those that were largely outside the control of the researcher(me).

b. Often limitations include a statement about the validity of the results, controls that may be impossible to meet, etc. For example, if you used a potentially unreliable source, rather than one that is potentially more accurate, how might this affect the interpretation of your results?

  1. Recommendations for Future Research

a. Provide specific and thoughtful reasoning based on the counterargument and how they relate to the evidence and thesis.

b. Why is the proposed solution needed and what should be improved in the future.

Bibliography Research for Understanding:

Reference Materials Research for Familiarity:

Books Research for Mastery: Journal Articles