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CRM 2301 Review Midterm 1.doc

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CRM 2301Chapter 14 ReviewChapter 1 Introduction to TheoryTheory Not just a popular belief opinion or valuedriven explanation Instead theory in this context is a product of the scientific approach Paradigms a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories laws and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated broadly a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kindRole of ParadigmsDefine and legitimate problemsDefine rules of research activityDraw practitioners into the community Where is theory used The effective use of theory is found in the everyday activities of the criminological justice system For examplePolice departments have designed their patrol patterns around various theories that predict criminal events Jurors decide whether to give the death penalty based on their assumptions about the future dangerousness of the defendant All of these activities and explanations are found in the implications of various criminological theories over the past century Theory Theory does not have to be abstractIt is applicable to the real worldWe all use theory theory is part of everyday lifeFor example Simple When you see a dark cloud in the sky and say that it is going to rain you have just expressed a simple theory It does express the relationships among clouds in general clouds that are dark and the falling of drops of water from the sky The simple explanation meets 2 criteria for the simplest version of theory1 The use of objective evidence and systematic observation 2 A rational explanation of the evidence A rational person would assume if dark clouds appear first then rain will follow Theory Can be very simple or very complex depending upon the number and types of relationships expressed by them Complex A more complex theory of rain would be that under certain circumstances surface water evaporates and rises into the atmosphere Certain atmospheric conditions cause the water to condense first into clouds and then into drops of rain Theory Can be concrete or abstract Concrete Theories about rain tend to be concrete even if complex Theories about simple behaviors such as throwing a ball through a window also tend to be concrete Abstract Are more difficult to tie directly with reality For example Einsteins theory of relativity is an abstract concept We have difficulty in directly testing the concept that time gets slower the faster one travels we cant test velocities beyond the speed of light The most important thing about theories is that we need them to live or to live better Theories allow use to develop and test potential solutions to problems we encounter in life We do need the many theories we have learned about our environment to accumulate knowledge and effectively allocate resources Theories are really generalization of a sort they explain how two or more events are related to each other and the conditions under which the relationship take place For example The statement that seat belts reduce deaths in automobile accidents expresses a relationship between two events The seat belts alone will not reduce deaths however there must be a condition that they be worn installed properly worn correctly The way we express these generalizations or think about things depends on the form of knowledge we are using at the time We know things through experience empirical knowledge intuition common sense or science or because someone important to us has told us so For example The causes of crime are assumed to be known by everyone broken home lack of religion hanging around with the wrong crowd poor upbringing These explanations are theories but not good theories because they are too simplistic If they were right everyone in the world that has these causes would be criminals Also these theories also imply the reverse that people who are raised in a good family environment will NOT do anything criminal Scientific theories reflect systematic observations observations made through the use of certain rules repeated evidence and careful logic Scientific theories are frequently factual but share a dislike for saying that they are proven Even though the evidence may have been in favour of a scientific theory for each 1000 tests there is still a possibility that the next test will not be supportive and that the theory needs to me modified Theories are never provenbecause scientists are too conservative to use that word But they are always supported by observable evidence The notion that a theory must be proven to be valid is one of the main reasons that nonscientists misunderstand theory Issue 1 Criminological theorythe behvaior defined as criminal When we use the term crime the reference is often to a wide range of illegal behaviour The individual criminal acts though may have very little in common except that someone at some time disliked each of them enough to have a law passed against them For example Murder and pretty theft have about as much in common as a rock and an orange Just because one can find a common threadthey are both matter for instancedoesnt mean that they are alike in any meaningful sense 2 Criminal behaviour may be merely one of a variety of similar behaviors For example If we argue that some criminal behaviour is thrill seeking behaviour then a theory that predicts behaviour on that basis must also include legal behaviour Assuming that any thrillseeking behaviour is equally likely committing a crime would be no more likely than someone going bungee jumping From this perspective even tough a thrillseeking behaviour might be relatively predictable any one of those behaviorssuch as crime remains relatively unpredictable So theories of crime and criminal behaviour must encompass a wide range of human activity For this reason some criminologists advocate limiting theories to specific criminal acts or harmful behaviors What is a good Theory1One that can be tested2One that best fits the evidence of research Our theories are scientific and should already be based on research evidence If a theory is not testable or if the evidence does not support it then the theory is not a good one Concerns1 It sometimes takes awhile before our ability to measure and produce evidence catches up with a theory Until that time the theory may appear to be a bad one because evidence will not be available to support it We might discard theories that are really good ones because our measuring capabilities cannot yet adequately test them and provide the necessary support As our measuring capabilities and techniques change we may need to reexamine and retest theories to see if new research evidence provides a better fit If there is no current way to measure something it is unlikely to appear in a theoryregardless of how important that something might be
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