criminology theory

This paper will entail a review of the scholarly literature on your topic including at least seven academic journal articles (not including articles assigned for class). Your paper should be organized to defend a clearly-stated thesis statement. Your paper should demonstrate conceptual clarity, be well organized, exhibit precise footnotes and references, and, of course, be well written.

You are free to choose from a wide range of potential topics. In general, the more focused your topic is, the better. Here are some potential paper topics:

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Criminological research/crime measurement. You may focus on a suspected correlate of crime, crime trends for a specific type of crime, some aspect of the social context of crime, or validity/reliability of some type of crime data as it relates to criminological theory.

Criminological theory. You may choose a specific criminological theory to evaluate. You may also choose to explore one of several pressing issues in theoretical criminology: biosocial theories, theoretical integration, some aspect of life-course criminology, specific vs. general theory. You may also investigate the theoretical contributions of a particular criminologist (e.g. Sutherland, Beccaria, Wolfgang, Sampson, etc).

Crime prevention policy. You may examine the research on a specific crime prevention program or policy as it relates to criminological theory, or you may assess a particular area of crime prevention related to criminological theory. You may also address some methodological/research design issue in crime prevention research. If you choose one of these topics be sure to emphasize criminological theory as well. (e.g. the theoretical underpinnings of the policy, or a theoretical critique of the policy).

There are a whole host of different things you could potentially write your paper on. The important thing to note is that the paper should reflect your synthesis of ideas, rather than simply a running description of different articles.


How to submit
School policy dictates that you use APA format for citations and bibliography. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any form. If you are in doubt about acceptable uses of source materials, contact the instructor. As you write, keep the following criteria in mind:

identifiable and clear thesis statement
reasoned, logical, complete and accurate argument in support of thesis, synthesizing academic literature on the topic
insights/originality, viewing the literature with a critical eye
appropriateness/completeness/formatting of cited literature
Your paper should contain at least 7 citations from high quality* external sources. The maximum length is 2500 words, not including the bibliography.

I expect high quality, formal writing that reflects a thoughtful synthesis of the many principles we have covered, and that exhibits a high level of professionalism. You need a strong thesis, clear organization, lucid points, a formal tone, conventional use of language, and formatting in the APA style.

I strongly recommend that you take your drafts to the writing center, either in person or via email, to get free editing and advice. That’s what the writing center is there for!

*A high quality resource is one that is published in a credible professional journal, and is well-supported and peer-reviewed. Contact me in advance if you are unsure whether a source you would like to use would be acceptable.

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