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made up of clearly stated propositions that suggest relationships, often of casual sort, between events and things under study or attempt to describe, explain, predict, and ultimately control some class of events


abstract mental image. means something different to everyone (example: poverty)

general theory

tries to explain all/most forms of crime through a single overarching approach

unicasual theory

approaches that suggest a single identifiable source for all serious deviant and criminal behavior

integrated theory

tries to explain crime by merging concepts from different sources

experimental criminology

uses social scientific techniques to test the accuracy of theories about crime

social policy

includes government, initiatives, programs, plans to address problems in society

incidence of crime

not always what is perceived because concern about crime is not always related to actual incidence of crime

elements of theory

concepts, conceptualization, propositions, theoretical rationale, assumptions, scope&boundaries, and policy implications


definition of concepts

theoretical rationale

explanation of theory


what type/group defined (who or what the theory applies to)


measurement involved


define variable

wallace's wheel of science

theory,hypothesis,observations,empirical generalizations


the use of standardized, systematic procedures in the search for knowledge

stages in research

problem identification, development of research design, choice of data collection techniques, and review of findings

internal validity

the certainty that experimental interventions did indeed cause the changes observed in the study group (the variables YOU created)

external validity

the ability to generalize research findings to other settings in society


asks "are you measuring what you want to measure?"


repeating your study and getting the same result

threats to internal validity

history, maturation,testing,differential selection, and experimental morality

threats to external validity

reactive effects of testings, self selections, reactive effects of experiment, multiple treatment effects

hawthorne study

example off reactive effects of the experiment

participant observation

way of data collection involving undercover work


way of data collecting but can be a problem because people lie

types of data/statistics/reports

descriptive or inferential

descriptive statistics

describing in detail a group

inferential statistics

taking details/results and making inferences/applying them to society/population

types of research

quantitative and qualitative


research that focuses on numbers (mathematics/reports)


research that focuses on what you see in the real world, very descriptive, inferences

institutional review board

how we insure that ethics are in place


privacy, confidentiality (you know who it is but cant reveal it) or anonymous (you have no idea who), informed consent, not putting subjects at risk,


a formal written enactment of legislative body


one who is trained in the field of criminology; also one who studies crime, criminals, and criminal behavior


a specialist in the collections and examinations of the physical evidence of crime


an interdisciplinary profession built around the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior, including their forms, causes, legal aspects, and control

criminal justice

the scientific study of crime, the criminal law, and components of the criminal justice system, including the police, courts, and corrections. focus on control of law-breaking

political perspective

crime is defined as:the result of criteria that have been built into the law by powerful groups and are then used to label selected undesirable forms of behavior as illegal

sociological perspective

crime is defined as: an antisocial act of such a nature that its repression is necessary or is supposed to be necessary to the preservation of the existing system of society

Deviant behavior

any activity that violates social norms


Laws are enacted to criminalize given forms of behavior when agreed upon by members of society


Behaviors typically criminalized through a political process, after debate over appropriate course of action

Criminal Justice Professionals

do the day-to-day work of the criminal justice system

socially relative

Social events are interpreted differently according to the cultural experiences and personal interests of the initiator, observer, or recipient of the behavior

Crime results from the coming together of

inputs provided by the offender, the victim, the criminal justice system, and society

Integrative Approach to Crime

Attempt to identify and understand multiple causes of crime

Evidence-based criminology

Founded upon the experimental method
Emphasizes randomized controlled experiments
"Evidence" refers to scientific findings

John Laub's three eras

Golden Age of Research (1900-1930)
Golden Age of Theory (1930-1960)
Empirical testing of dominant theories (1960-2000)

Scientific criminology involves

The systematic collection of related facts
An emphasis on the scientific method
General laws, a field for experimentation or observation, control of academic discourse
Acceptance into the scientific tradition
Emphasis on a worthwhile subject

Research design

The logic and structure inherent in any particular approach to data gathering
Guide to systematic collection of data

Controlled experiments

Attempt to hold conditions other than the experimental intervention constant


Give the researcher control over the "when and to whom" of measurement (but not exposure)

Descriptive statistics

describe, summarize, highlight relationships within data

applied research

research based on scientific inquiry that is designed and carried out with practical applications in mind

pure research

research undertaken simpl for the sake of advancing scientific knowledge

primary research

research characterized by original and direct investigation

secondary research

research based on new evaluations of existing info that has been collected by other researchers


things you can do to prevent (in elements of theory)

Theoretical Criminology

Subfield of general criminology
Primarily found in colleges and universities
Posits explanations for criminal behavior


way that concepts are connected (x leads to y) in elements of theory

ways to collect data

surveys, case studies, participant observation, self-reports, and secondary analysis

secondary analysis

data that has already been collected being looked at again


An explanation that accounts for a set of facts and that can be tested by further investigation
Something that is taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigations

spiritual explanations of crime (demonic perspective)

deviant behavior is a result of temptation (being tempted to do a deviant act [by demon or something]) that leaves you with a choice to do it or not; or a result of possession (being possessed by a demon or something) that you have no choice over

punishment in spiritual explanations of crime

usually in public
"lex talions" an eye for an eye


a behavioral predisposition that disproportionately favors criminal activity

differential selection

built-in biases that result when more than one group of subjects are involved in a study and when the groups being tested are initially somehow different


the process whereby individuals are assigned to study groups without biases or differences resulting from selection

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