Whereas attempting to get into the heads of serial killers was one of the favorite tasks of student’s writing their research papers, now the in thing to research are hate crimes. There is clearly something intrinsically appealing about the darker side of humanity that gets our juices flowing. However, before this article turns into a “How to psychology” guide, let’s consider for a moment just how you would being to compose a research paper about hate crimes.
These things can mean different things to different people, so before you get started I would recommend that you come up with a clear definition that you can then work from. The internet is a great place to get a standard, workable definition.
There are many different kinds of hate crime and they are usually but not exclusively targeted towards a certain group of people. For example, there are race hate crimes, and crimes against the GLBT community. Incidents of this nature could also be committed against businesses, for example those that test on animals, or carry out abortions. Then, there are crimes against individuals, simply because the offender feels hatred towards that person for any one of a squillion different reasons. So, the point that I am trying to make here is that you need to narrow down the field and decide which area you are going to focus on when you compose your paper.
There is nothing more powerful or compelling than the testimony of victims. See if you can contact some support groups and inquire as to whether they would be willing to have you along to one of their meetings. Remember, these people have been through a terrible ordeal and you therefore need to treat them with sensitivity and respect. If you are able to interview victims, you need to remember that you are going to have to back up your research with evidence. It is therefore important that you get dates/times/whether it was reported in the press and media etc.
Write an outline; the bones that you will later dress your flesh on. This doesn’t have to be word perfect or grammatically correct. It just needs to have some sort of structure (Beginning, middle and end) and flow. It also needs to contain all of the pertinent facts in chronological order. The rest will come later.
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