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Criminological Theory

In order to allow you to demonstrate your grasp of theory and the applicability of theory to policy and future research, each of you will draft an 8-10 page research paper. The other purpose is for you to have the opportunity to engage a theoretical perspective of interest to you in more detail. Finally, this project serves to advance your research, analytical, and writing skills. There are four components to the assignment.

1. Discuss the historical and intellectual background of the theory and its causal arguments. This means that you must pick a single theory and that includes identifying the theorists. You cannot say that you are focused on control theory when there is more than one control theory.
2. Describe and analyze the empirical/scholarly/peer-reviewed studies that researchers used to test the causal arguments of your theory. This should include a discussion of how valuable the theory is at studying crime generally, a specific category of crime (e.g., violent/personal) or a specific type of crime (e.g., terrorism, robbery).
3. Address what you see as general issues that future research needs to examine. As part of this section, discuss what you would focus on if you conducted your own study. Specifically, discuss what crime(s) you would address and what hypotheses you would propose based on your review of the existing literature.
4. Address the policy implications of your theory in terms of a prevention strategy targeting the criminal behavior(s) that you could develop using the provisions of the theory you chose.
You will need to use a minimum of eight sources. You should obtain academic research articles like those assigned for the course and if the theorists wrote a book solely on the theory, you can use that book in your research [e.g. Travis Hirschi’s Causes of Crime; Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld’s Crime and the American Dream; John Braithwaite’s Reintegrative Shaming]. You can also use government sources if you find them useful for statistical purposes or research articles. If you wish to use information from websites, please check with me first so that I can let you know that they are valid sites. The textbook is not an acceptable source. All in-text citations and reference list citations must be in APA format. See the assigned Hacker book for information on this citation format. For assistance with conducting searches of the library databases, major government sites on criminal justice statistics and the library catalog, please see the library database resource guide located under the additional resources section of the course webpage.


Your paper should be in 11 or 12 point font.

Use Times New Roman or Arial formats

Include page numbers and use the header or footer command to insert them.

Include a title page.

Maintain double-spacing throughout the paper, even between sections.

Make sure that your references start on a separate page from the rest of the paper.

Cites sources in APA format (in the text and in the reference list)

Meets page length minimum requirements

Doesn’t use the textbook as a source

Be sure to follow all instructions exactly. You will be submitting to a Safe Assign link so that I can check for plagiarism. Remember it does not require intent. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism, please check with me and check the Hacker book assigned for this course.


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