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CRM 1301 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Salem Witch Trials, Moral Panic, The Burning Times

Course Code
CRM 1301
Carolyn Gordon
Study Guide

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Introduction to Theory
Lecture 1
Fact or Fiction?
Crime is increasing: False
Most people are victimized by strangers: False
People over 65 are most likely to be victims of crime: False
Poor people are much more likely to commit crime than middle-class people:
false/classes committing different types of crimes & low class are more likely to get
caught where as middle class people are doing crimes behind closed doors
Violent crime is more prevalent than property crime: false
Violent crime inflicts the most harm on people in society: false
canadians are more likely to die from workplace injury than they are to be
Do we use theory in everyday life?
yes, may not realize you’re theorizing
ex. the weather based on visual phenomenon/visual cues
What factors contribute to crime?
substance abuse
lack of education
underlying mental health problem
a particular way of looking at something
why do we have theories and criminological theories?
provides an understanding of criminal behaviour
theorize who is more likely to commit or be victimized
can try to prevent crime
we need theories in society otherwise we will feel anxious and uneasy when we
can’t make sense of situations
*theories attempts to describe, explain, predict and ultimately to control
some class of events*
What is Theory?
a theory is...
a hypothesis
an understanding
an explanation
abstract - ex. freud’s psychoanalytic theory

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a theory is not...
the truth
the answer
Assumptions in Criminological Theory:
Level of study:
theory is approaching from macro or micro level
macro = the big picture/ how society/the environment impact crime (carl marx)
micro = the specifics, the details, focuses on individuals or small groups
Basis of Society:
consensus or conflict?
consensus: views society as a group of individuals who all share the same norms
and values: idea that everyone in society works together through all these different
institutions to work as a whole, idea that most people in society agree on what is
right or wrong and laws reflect interest of society & criminal justice system reflects
individuals in society equally
conflict perspective: views society as being divided, social relations groups in
society are more based on coercion and power than based on society
those who have power in society make the laws, so they stay at the top and
maintains the status quo in society
focus is on marginalized groups in society (aboriginals, homeless people, women)
Active or passive:
Active: seen as being people who are rational and able to make their own choices
and own decisions
Passive: sees individuals not as being able to make their own decisions and
choices/ individuals have powers acting upon them that influence their behaviors
Criminological nexus:
idea that theory, research and policy all work together
idea that when theories are created they typically lead to research, research leads
to practice or policy implications and even if the intent on the theorist is merely to
explain the causes of the crime, other people and take these ideas and out them
into practice for other types of policies
ex. theory that states people commit crimes when pros outweigh the crime= policy
implication = stores put mirrors and video cameras, environmental control over
theories can have good intentions, but can fall in the wrong hands ex. IQ test
Kitty Genovese - 1935-1964
attacked by a man but no one came to her aid
man left, assailant returned robbed her and beat her to death
no one came to help

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came up with explanation to justify the situation
more research they did in the area of new york researchers discovered the
phenomenon known as... diffusion of responsibility or bystander effect: everyone
thinks somebody else is going to do something so no one does anything at all
2 Systems of Reasoning:
Inductive method:
explanation (theory)
Deductive Method:
explanation (theory)
ex. we come up with a theory that young children who watch an hr of violent cartoons
are more likely to be aggressive with other kids ... we can go about testing by: having an
experiment (control group and experimental group)
The Experiment:
does x cause y?
independent variable: (x axis)
a variable that an experimenter manipulates
dependent variable: (Y axis)
a variable that an experimenter predicts will be affected by manipulations of the
independent variable
operationalization of variables (must be measurable/quantifiable)
prisons are often violent institutions, but does the prison setting itself play a part
in generating violence and disorder?
Zimbardo: Stanford country prison experiment
individuals easily conform to roles
prison environment impacts individuals
The Correlation:
way to measure how two variables are related
determines if and in what way these variables are related to each other
allows researcher to establish how much one can be predicted by the other
systematically measuring two or more variables and assessing the relationship
between the two
how much one can be predicted by the other
ex. higher income = more education, lower income = less education
correlation can be positive or negative
ex. negative: more education = less jail time
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