Criminal Justice Theories

For the term paper, students will use TWO of the theoretical perspectives covered in this course (see PART II of the text) to analyze a topic in criminology that is of interest to the student.  You may analyze any topic that you like, but I encourage you to select one we cover in the course to make your life easier.  For example, a student might want to analyze the relation of gun control and violent crime (drawing upon chapters 5 and 9). Papers must be 5 full pages in length (not including any title page or bibliography).  Students are allowed to write more if needed but must meet the minimum.

For the final paper I am primarily interested in how you apply the theories to your topic of interest and your ability to discuss the theories strengths and/or limitations, given the topic you chose to analyze. Also, I am looking to see how to apply the research you do to your topic. There are a number of things that I will be looking for in the papers:

  1.  Analyze:  Briefly outline the topics, theories you use, and any key words or terms. The majority of the paper should be reserved for analysis of research and applying the theories to the topic.   
  2.  Discuss strengths and weaknesses: Make sure to specifically state points about strengths and weakness of the theories, which you found while applying them.  I will be looking for developed arguments for why a certain element of a theory is a weakness, rather than simply stating what the weaknesses are. Also, make sure you use your research to back-up your analysis. For example, don’t just tell me that rational choice theory can explain larceny in poor neighborhoods; use research to back up your point.
  3. Connecting ideas: I should see a clear connection between each theory you select, the specific topic you’re discussing, and the research you are applying. I am looking for your paper to flow and combine the selected theories together with your case study. 

Additionally, each paper must:

  1. Include a title page, introduction, body, conclusion, page numbers, and bibliography
  2. Include at least four (4) additional criminological sources (journal articles or books) besides the class readings.
  3. Be formatted in APA style (be sure to visit the library website to learn more about APA if you are unfamiliar)
  4. Be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins
  5. Run 5 pages long, not including cover page or bibliography
  6. Be submitted via Blackboard in WORD or PDF format

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