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CRIMJ 221: Issues in the American Criminal Justice System


Each student will participate in a team presentation. Your topic needs to be explored in depth through presentation of both sides of the issue. The conflicting issues need to be presented with statistical and objective evidence rather than opinions. The presentation will be approximately 35 minutes long. Further discussion of presentations will occur in class.

In order to help you along with this presentation, I am requiring your team to turn a 1-2 page outline of the presentation two weeks prior to your presentation. The outline must be submitted via Canvas. If you fail to turn in an on-time outline, 10% will be deducted from your final presentation grade. I will still assess a late outline but your group will still receive the deduction.

On the day of your group’s presentation a copy of your Power Point Slides and your Reference Page (as a Word document) must be turned in through the Canvas. Reference Pages must include all used sources and be in appropriate APA style.

At least one peer-reviewed journal article related to your topic must be referenced and discussed within your presentation. If you are having difficulties finding an article, please see the librarians or tutors in the CAC for assistance. Presentations will be evaluated for your ability to

a) develop a clear and thoughtful thesis,

b) support your thesis with a well-reasoned and well-organized discussion,

c) take into account opposing points of view, and

d) demonstrate your familiarity with course materials.

Be sure to review the rubric before your presentation. Presentations will begin Week 13. Your presentation is worth a maximum of 100 points. 


Team Presentation Grading Rubric

1) Description/Explanation of the Topic (20 Points): How well does the group help the class understand the topic?  How does the topic relate to the course? What is the debate about this topic? Did the group hold the interest of the class?

2) Existing Research & Policy Implications (20 points): Did the group discuss peer-reviewed research? How well does the group explain the goals, policy or societal implications associated with this topic/problem? What does the research tell us about the prevalence and existence of this topic in our society? Does the research offer any suggestions?

3) Opinion/Critique of Topic (10 points): How well did each member develop his/her opinion or provide a critique of the topic? Was there evidence of critical thinking through the opinion?

4) Quality/Creativity (10 points): Is the presentation well planned?  Does it help the class learn something important about the topic?  Did the group use handouts, PowerPoint, or other visual aids? Did the group engage the class in discussion?

5) Time and Division of Labor (10 Points): Each group presentation should last approximately 35 minutes in length. There will also be an additional 5 minutes of questions at the end of each presentation. Time should be split up rather evenly between the members of your group. Keep this in mind and practice the presentation.

6) Professionalism/Speaking Skills (10 points): Are the presenters dressed professionally?  Is the presenter chewing gum? Do all group members speak clearly and at appropriate speeds and sound level?  Do they look at the class while speaking? Do they rely heavily on notes or prepared readings? Do non-presenters appear bored or distracted? Do non-presenters speak to other members while the presenter is speaking?

7) Reference Page (5 points): Did the group members turn in a reference page? Are the references provided in APA format? Are the majority of references academic?

8) Individual Assessment (15 points): Each individual group member with meet with me to discuss their presentation within two class periods of your presentation. For example, if your presentation is on a Wednesday you must meet with me by the Wednesday of the next week. If you do not meet with me within the time frame allotted you will receive a zero on this portion of the assignment. This time will be spent to discuss your topic on an individual level, discuss your participation within your group and any issues relevant to the assignment.