INTRODUCTION – AN OVERVIEW OF ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY
Brief Overview Theories for Paper
o Rational choice
o Routine activities
o Other “lifestyle” perspectives
Early positive theories
o Assumption – people are predisposed to offend
o Body type
Modern Biosocial Perspectives
o Other physiological factors
Early social structure and strain theory
o How social structure influences crime
o Strain theory – what we are taught to want/achieve and what we do achieve-
Chicago school/Cultural Theories of Crime
Social process/learning theories
o How you learn to commit crime
o How you learn to not commit crimes
o Effects of life stages
o What is normal behavior at various stages
What factors influence change
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
What is being studied
How it is measured
What technique(s) are being used to address hypotheses
Usually statistics/numbers if quantitative
Theoretical analysis or interpretation if qualitative
Overview of what was found
How it relates to larger body of scientific evidence
Suggestions for future research
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?
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
What is reported on the news/internet/etc
o Anecdotal evidence
General understanding of crime
o Deductive reasoning
Assumes rational human beings
o Problems with approach
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
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
o Adds to ever growing body of empirical evidence
o Provides evidence for or against theories
o Scientists though the world was flat
o Scientists though the earth revolved a