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How To Write A Death Penalty Research Paper

When writing a research paper on the death penalty, just know that you’re essentially only doing one thing: writing a research paper. So the same guidelines to writing a research paper apply here as well. The only noticeable difference will be that you’re writing on a controversial subject matter.

Research, research, research….

As with any research paper, research is above and beyond critical (hence the term “research paper”). Start out on general terms by checking out books and sites that have to do with the death penalty. Don’t get specific, at least not yet. Just get a basic understanding of what the death penalty is, the history of it, historical people involved, and notable incidents involving the death penalty, etc.

You’ll also need to have the mindset that this is a very controversial subject with valid arguments for both sides. No matter how or what you write, there will be those who agree with you, and those who disagree. Tell yourself that you won’t be afraid to accept harsh criticisms from those who will disagree with what you have to say, and make sure you’re ready to deal with the certain ethical and moral complications that will arise from this topic. D hesitate to talk to close friends or family members if you feel challenged

More research….

Now you can start to get more specific in your research. Aim for straight facts, statistics and begin to organize your sources. What different kinds of options have there been for the death penalty historically speaking? What were the effects of each one? Whereas before you were getting a general idea of what the death penalty was, now your research will begin to dig into the very important questions that come up with this topic.


As with any research paper, verify your sources and keep track of them. Know what information came from what source. It’s also a good idea to have a wide variety of sources, i.e. books, websites, interviews, videos, etc. Construct a bibliography page is proper formatting.


Outline your notes and research as to how you will be presenting it in the paper. Your introduction should detail what your topic is and preview the main points you will be bringing up. Explore the pros and cons to the arguments of both sides of the death penalty to deliver a general overview of the topic in the supporting paragraphs, and be sure to support what you have to say with your sources. Your concluding paragraph should wrap up all your main points and in relation to your introduction. The concluding paragraph may or may not reach a conclusion as to what you have come to believe regarding the subject matter.

The Paper

Now you can begin writing the paper. Though research papers are not exactly full-fledged argumentative or synthesis essays, they still resolve around a specific topic and have a specific purpose. You’re paper will follow the organization of your outline.