Review of the Literature


Submit an annotated bibliography of 6 peer-reviewed articles from the Argosy University online library resources and locate articles related to the topic of your research in the following categories:

2 quantitative studies

2 qualitative studies

1 mixed-methods study

1 theoretical or research design of your choice

A strong literature review not only plays a foundational role for setting up a research proposal and/or dissertation but also plays an important role in the results and discussion section that is presented after the data has been collected and analyzed.

Why is the literature review a needed piece of a research proposal? How can a weak literature review diminish a research proposal?

Once the data has been collected and you are moving into the completion of the research report, how will you continue to pull from your literature review in the results and discussion section of your report?

What search strategies did you use to locate articles from the Argosy University online library resources for your upcoming RAs?

Review the points of others and add additional examples, challenging a response or drawing conclusions from the response.

Sample paper

Review of the Literature

Voluminous qualitative studies exist on the impact of the death penalty in the criminal justice system. Falco & Freiburger (2011) conduct a qualitative study to examine the public opinion on the death penalty in the U.S. The duo employs focus groups as the main data collection method. Respondents were drawn from Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Interested participants in the study were recruited via local media advertisements that sought individuals above the age of 18. The focus groups lasted for duration of four months. The mean age of the participants was 30 years, and a range of 19 to 65 years. Participants were to comment on costs, wrongful convictions, and deterrence associated with death penalty. The findings indicate that majority of participants identified cost and lengthy appeal process as the greatest flaws with the death penalty. The limitations of this study revolve around the lack of analysis of various conditions that could affect the respondents’ opinions.

Ehrhard (2008) examines plea bargaining and cost of the death penalty in the criminal justice system. The article examines the role attorneys, defendants, and prosecutors play in plea-bargaining especially in murder trials that involve a death sentence. The research indicates that a conviction leading to death penalty is more costly and may take a long time to solve. The research draws data from defense attorneys and prosecutors. In-depth interviews totaling 27 were conducted with the defense attorneys and 15 with prosecutors. The study provides robust findings due to the relatively larger number of participants and the random methods of recruiting them used.

Sethuraju, Sole, and Oliver (2016) conduct a quantitative study to examine college students’ rationale concerning the death penalty. The study utilizes data drawn from 11,000 college students. Non-random samples were used to recruit students from criminal justice classes in 2014. The study identified the dependent variables as the students’ reasons for either supporting or not supporting the death penalty. The independent variables were age, major, political affiliation, race, gender and fear or victimization. The major limitation of this study is that results may not be generalizable across populations since participants were drawn from the same institution.

Worthen, Rodgers, and Sharp (2014) conducts a quantitative study to examine the Americans’ attitude towards the death penalty sentence. The article indicates that there is a strong correlation between death penalty policies and the public opinion. In other words, public opinion shapes the death penalty policies made by the Supreme Court. The study utilizes a survey method to collect data from a sample of undergraduate students pursuing sociological studies. The dependent variable measured whether students were in favor of or against the death penalty. The independent variable was the particular belief systems of the students.

Eaton and Christensen (2014) examine the negative impacts of the death penalty using a mixed-methods approach. The duo utilizes quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate how co-victims react when they witness the death of an individual attributed to killing their close ones. The study analyzes all executions that have occurred in the U.S. in a span of 11 years from 2000 to 2011. The duo attempts to establish the impact of the death penalty to friends and family members of the deceased. The article attempts to establish whether the death penalty may provide closure to friends and family members. The findings indicate that friends and family members do not find closure through handing of the death sentence. The limitations of the study are that samples were self-selected, which may result to biased opinions in various ways.

Various theoretical studies exist concerning the administration of the death penalty in the U.S. Walker (2006) conducts a theoretical study to examine how the negative influence of the death penalty in the U.S. criminal justice system. The author asserts that capital punishment in the U.S. has critical defects that should undergo serious reforms. According to Walker (2006), capital punishment exerts enormous strain on the criminal justice system. The strain comes in the form of high costs and congestion in prisons since capital prosecutions may take a long period to solve. Moreover, the article highlights the fact that in capital prosecutions, there is a relatively higher risk of charging innocent individuals compared to other lighter form of crimes.


Eaton, J., & Christensen, T. (2014). Closure and its myths: victims’ families, the death penalty,    and the closure argument. International Review of Victimology, 20(3): 327-343.

Ehrhard, S. (2008). Plea Bargaining and the Death Penalty: An Exploratory Study. The Justice     System Journal, 29(3), 313-325.

Falco, D. L., & Freiburger, T. L. (2011). Public opinion and the death penalty: A qualitative             approach. The Qualitative Report, 16(3), 830-847.

Sethuraju, R., Sole, J., & Oliver, B. E. (2016). Understanding death penalty support and   opposition among criminal justice and law enforcement. SAGE Open, 3(1): 1-15.

Walker, R. N. (2006). How the malfunctioning death penalty challenges the criminal justice             system. Judicature, 89(5), 265-269.

Worthen, M. G., Rodgers, F. R., & Sharp, S. F. (2014). Expanding the spectrum of attitudes         toward the death penalty: how nondichotomous response options affect our      understandings of death penalty attitudes. Criminal Justice Review, 39(2): 160-181.


Research Question and Hypothesis