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CRIM 300W (51)
Jay H (14)
Lecture 2

Week 2 Lecture - An Overview of Issues in Criminological Theory

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Simon Fraser University
Jay H

INTRODUCTION – AN OVERVIEW OF ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY Brief Overview Theories for Paper  Classical Theories o Deterrence o Rational choice o Routine activities o Other “lifestyle” perspectives  Early positive theories o Assumption – people are predisposed to offend o Body type o IQ  Modern Biosocial Perspectives o Hormones o Neurotransmitters o Other physiological factors  Early social structure and strain theory o How social structure influences crime o Durkheim o Strain theory – what we are taught to want/achieve and what we do achieve- “American Dream”  Chicago school/Cultural Theories of Crime o Neighbourhood o Subcultures  Social process/learning theories o How you learn to commit crime o How you learn to not commit crimes  Life course/developmental o Effects of life stages  Marriage  Work o What is normal behavior at various stages  What factors influence change  Differential stages How to read a research paper  Elements of most research papers o Introductions  Overview and need for the research  Hypotheses – if X and/or Y the Z o Literature review  Research already done related to current research problem o Methods  What is being studied  How it is measured  What technique(s) are being used to address hypotheses o Results  Statistical results  Usually statistics/numbers if quantitative  Theoretical analysis or interpretation if qualitative o Discussion/conclusion  Overview of what was found  How it relates to larger body of scientific evidence  Suggestions for future research  Policy implications Questions that may be helpful for annotated bibliography and beyond  What is the main idea form the article?  What is the hypothesis?  Is there any prior literature to the hypothesis?  What are the methods used to support or refute the hypothesis?  Do you believe that the author(s) provided a persuasive argument?  [Do not use the word “Prove”] What is Criminology?  Criminology  Why do people commit crimes? o Bad people? o Poor judgement?  Why do people not commit crimes? o Good people? o Good judgement?  We think criminals make logical decisions, but they don’t o Bad people do bad things because they choose to  Our general knowledge of crime come from media o But we (students) should get them from academic journals  Where do we get our information regarding the causes of crime? o Criminal justice system  Arrested  Charged  Convicted o Journalists  What is reported on the news/internet/etc o Anecdotal evidence  Friends  Family, etc  General understanding of crime o Deductive reasoning  Assumes rational human beings  Reasoning o Problems with approach  No predictions  No testable hypothesis, very difficult to do  Virtually impossible to observe, no empirical data to observe directly Scientific Study of Criminology  Scientific student of criminology o Scientific method o Method used in all scientific fields  Involves testing specific hypothesis  Involves direct observation (or as close as we can get)  Making conclusions based on empirical observations and predictions based on theory What is Theory?  Set of concepts linked together by a series of statements to explain why an event of phenomenon occurs (straight from the book)  A model of crime  Can address: o Why crime starts o Why crime declines o Explains specific crimes, etc.  Fluid nature of theories o All theory changes – nature of science o Evolve/change – empirical evidence o Die off and replaced – empirical evidence  Hypothesis testing o Adds to ever growing body of empirical evidence o Provides evidence for or against theories  Historical theories o Scientists though the world was flat o Scientists though the earth revolved a
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