256 Research Topics on Criminal Justice & Criminology

Are you a law school student studying criminal behavior or forensic science? Or maybe just looking for good criminal justice topics, questions, and hypotheses? Look no further! Custom-writing.org experts offer a load of criminology research topics and titles for every occasion. Criminological theories, types of crime, the role of media in criminology, and more. Our topics will help you prepare for a college-level assignment, debate, or essay writing.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

  • ⚖️ Criminology vs. Criminal Justice
  • 🔬 120 Criminology Research Topics
  • 💂 116 Criminal Justice Research Topics

🔥 Hot Criminology Research Topics

  • The role of media in criminology.
  • Cultural explanation of crime.
  • Benefits of convict criminology.
  • Main issues of postmodern criminology.
  • Is criminal behavior affected by the politics?
  • How does DAWN collect data?
  • The limitations of crime mapping.
  • Personality traits that trigger criminal behavior.
  • Community deterioration and crime rates.
  • Does experimental criminology affect social policy?

🔬 120 Criminology Research Topics & Ideas

Here are 100 criminology research topics ideas organized by themes.

Just in 1 hour! We will write you a plagiarism-free paper in hardly more than 1 hour

General Criminology Research Paper Topics

  • Criminology as a social science.
  • Criminology and its public policies.
  • History of criminology.
  • Crime commission: legal and social perspectives .

Criminal Psychology Research Topics

  • What is the nature of criminal behavior ?
  • How does the lack of education affect the incarceration rates?
  • Childhood aggression and the impact of divorce
  • The effect of the upbringing on antisocial adult behavior
  • How do gender and cultural background affect one’s attitude towards drug abuse ?
  • Forensic psychology and its impact on the legal system
  • What is the role of criminal psychologists?
  • Different types of forensic psychological evaluations
  • What’s the difference between therapeutic and forensic evaluation?
  • Does socioeconomic status impact one’s criminal behavior ?

Criminology Research Topics: Theories

  • What crimes are typical for what ages?
  • How does the type of crime correspond with the level of exerted aggression ?
  • What is the connection between citizenship (or lack thereof) and law violation?
  • How does education (or lack thereof) correspond with crime level?
  • Does employment (or lack thereof) correspond with law violation?
  • What is the connection between family status and law violation?
  • Does gender affect on the type of law violation?
  • How does ownership of firearms correspond with law violation?
  • Does immigrant status correlate with law violation?

Crime and Victimization in Criminology.

  • Is there a connection between mental health and law violation?
  • What are the causes of violence in the society?
  • Does the crime rate depend on the neighborhood ?
  • How does race correspond with the type of crime?
  • Do religious beliefs correspond with law violation?
  • How does social class correlate with crime rate?
  • What are the reasons for the homeless’ improsonment?
  • How does weather correspond with law violation?

Criminology Topics on Victimization

  • Biological theories of crime: how do biological factors correspond with law violation?
  • Classical criminology: the contemporary take on crime, economics, deterrence, and the rational choice perspective.
  • Convict criminology: what do ex-convicts have to say on the subject?
  • Criminal justice theories: punishment as a deterrent to crime.
  • Critical criminology : debunking false ideas about crime and criminal justice.
  • Cultural criminology: criminality as the product of culture.
  • Cultural transmission theory: how criminal norms are transmitted in social interaction.
  • Deterrence theory: how people don’t commit crimes out of fear of punishment.
  • Rational choice theory : how crime doing is aligned with personal objectives of the perpetrator.
  • Feminist Criminology: how the dominant crime theories exclude women.
  • Labeling and symbolic interaction theories: how minorities and those deviating from social norms tend to be negatively labeled.
  • Life course criminology : how life events affect the actions that humans perform.
  • Psychological theories of crime: criminal behavior through the lense of an individual’s personality.
  • Routine activities theory : how normal everyday activities affect the tendency to commit a crime.
  • The concept of natural legal crime.
  • Self-control theory : how the lack of individual self-control results in criminal behavior.
  • Social construction of crime: crime doing as social response.
  • Social control theory : how positive socialization corresponds with reduction of criminal violation.
  • Social disorganization theory : how neighborhood ecological characteristics correspond with crime rates.
  • Social learning theory : how (non)criminal behavior can be acquired by observing and imitating others.
  • Strain theories : how social structures within society pressure citizens to commit crime.
  • Theoretical integration: how two theories are better than one.

Criminology Research and Measurement Topics

  • Citation content analysis (CCA): a framework for gaining knowledge from a variety of media.
  • Crime classification systems: classification of crime according to the severity of punishment.
  • Crime mapping as a way to map, visualize, and analyze crime incident patterns.
  • Reports and statistics of crime: the estimated rate of crime over time. Public surveys.
  • Drug abuse warning network (DAWN): predicting trends in drug misuse.
  • Arrestee drug abuse monitoring (ADAM): drug use among arrestees.
  • Edge ethnography: collecting data undercover in typically closed research settings and groups through rapport development or covert undercover strategy.
  • Experimental criminology: experimental and quasi-experimental research in the advancement of criminological theory.
  • Fieldwork in criminology: street ethnographers and their dilemmas in the field concerning process and outcomes.
  • Program evaluation: collecting and analyzing information to assess the efficiency of projects, policies and programs.
  • Quantitative criminology: how exploratory research questions, inductive reasoning , and an orientation to social context help recognize human subjectivity.

Criminology Topics on Types of Crime

  • Campus crime: the most common crimes on college campuses and ways of preventing them.
  • Child abuse : types, prevalence, risk groups, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Cybercrime : cyber fraud, defamation, hacking, bullying, phishing.
  • Domestic violence : gender, ways of detection and prevention, activism.
  • Domestic violence with disabilities .
  • Elder abuse : types, prevalence, risk groups, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Environmental crime. Natural resource theft: illegal trade in wildlife and timber, poaching, illegal fishing.
  • Environmental crime. Illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances, hazardous waste; pollution of air, water, and soil.
  • Environmental crime: local, regional, national, and transnational level.
  • Environmental crime: climate change crime and corruption.
  • Environmental crime: wildlife harming and exploitation.
  • Hate crime : how prejudice motivates violence.

Types of crime.

  • Homicide : what motivates one person to kill another.
  • Human trafficking : methods of deception, risk groups, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Identity theft : methods, risk groups, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Gambling in America .
  • Juvenile delinquency : risk groups, prevention policies, prosecution and punishment.
  • Juvenile Delinquency: Causes and Effects
  • Organizational crime: transnational, national, and local levels. Ways of disrupting the activity of a group.
  • Prostitution : risk groups, different takes on prevention policies, activism.
  • Robbery : risk groups, ways of prevention, prosecution and punishment.
  • Sex offenses: risk groups, types, prevalence, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Terrorism: definition, history, countermeasures .
  • Terrorism : individual and group activity, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Theft and shoplifting : risk groups, ways of detection, prevention policies, prosecution and punishment.
  • Counter-terrorism: constitutional and legislative issues .
  • White-collar crime : types, ways of detection, prevention policies, prosecution and punishment.

Criminology Topics on Racism and Discrimination

  • How systemic bias affects criminal justice?
  • How discriminatory portrayal of minority groups in the media affects criminal justice?
  • Racial profiling : targeting minority groups on the basis of race and ethnicity.
  • Racism and discrimination towards African-Americans .
  • Racial profiling : what are the cons? Are there any pros?
  • How discriminatory is the UK Court System?
  • How discriminatory is the US Court System?

Other Criminology Research Topics

  • Corporate crime : the ruling class criminals.
  • Genetics: illegal research and its dangers.
  • Hate crime : the implications in criminal justice.
  • Serial killers : risk groups, ways of detection and prevention.
  • Serial killers: portrayal in media.
  • Organized crime : how does it affect criminal justice?
  • Crime prevention programs.
  • Street lighting: does it reduce crime?
  • Terrorism prevention technology.
  • Identity theft : risk groups, ways of deception, prevention policies.
  • Due process model: procedural and substantive aspects.
  • Crime control in criminal justice administration.
  • Types of drugs: how do they affect the users?
  • Smart handheld devices: their function for security personnel.
  • Social media : its impact on crime rate.
  • Public health: how does criminal justice affect it?
  • Psychometric examinations: what is their role in criminal justice?
  • National defense in the US.
  • National defense in the UK.
  • Sexual harassment : the role of activism, ways of responding, prevention and prosecution.
  • Substance abuse : military.
  • Criminology and criminal justice jobs: a full list.

🌶️ Hot Criminal Justice Topics

  • The history of modern police.
  • Different types of prison systems.
  • Is situational crime prevention effective?
  • How to prevent wrongful convictions.
  • Challenges faced by crime victims.
  • The advantages of community corrections.
  • How do ethics influence criminal justice?
  • Disadvantages of felony disenfranchisement.
  • Does correctional system in the USA really work?
  • Possible problems of prisoner reentry process.

💂 116 Criminal Justice Research Topics & Questions

Here are some of the most typical and interesting criminal justice issues to dazzle your professor.

  • Prison system : the main problems and the hidden pitfalls.
  • The question of gender: why are there more men who receive capital punishment than women?
  • Kidnapping and ransom: common features, motifs, behavior patterns.
  • Crime prevention : key principles.
  • Firing a gun: what helps professionals understand whether it was deliberate or happened by accident?
  • Cybercrime : the legal perspective.
  • Internet vigilantism: revenge leaks.
  • Hate crime on the Internet: revenge leaks, trolling, defamation.
  • Crime and justice in mass media .
  • Parental abduction laws.
  • Sex offender registry: pros and cons.
  • The deterrence theory and the theory of rational choice : are they relevant in the modern world?
  • Sexual assault in schools and workplaces.
  • Jury selection: how is it performed?
  • Experimental criminology: the latest innovations.

Criminal justice system.

  • Wildlife crime: areas of prevalence, ways of prevention.
  • Felony disenfranchisement laws: when do they apply?
  • The relation between organized crime and corruption .
  • Victim services: what help can a victim of a crime get?
  • Prison rape and violence: the psychological aspect, ways of prevention.
  • Juvenile recidivism : what are the risk groups?
  • Forensic science : role and functions in modern criminal justice.
  • Shoplifting: how to prevent theft?
  • Witness Protection Program: who is eligible and how to protect them.
  • Date rape : what are the ways for the victims to seek legal assistance?
  • Substance abuse and crime: correlation or causation?
  • Identity theft: dangers and consequences in the modern world.
  • Online predators: what laws can be introduced to protect kids? Real-life examples.
  • Civil and criminal cases: how to differentiate?
  • Domestic abuse victims: what laws protect them?
  • Elder abuse : what can be done to prevent it?
  • The strain theory : the unachievable American dream.
  • Concepts of law enforcement: pursuing criminal justice .
  • Ethics and criminal justice: the unethical sides of law enforcement.
  • The top problems to be solved by law enforcement today.
  • Information sharing technology: how has it helped in the fight against terrorism ?
  • Terrorism in perspective: characteristics, causes, control .
  • Serial killers : types.
  • Drug use and youth arrests.
  • Aggressive behavior : how does it correlate with criminal tendencies?
  • Community corrections : are they effective?
  • Sentencing: how does it take place?
  • Punishment types and the established terms.
  • Unwarranted arrest: when is it acceptable?
  • Human trafficking in the modern world.
  • Human trafficking: current state and counteracts .
  • The role of technology in modern forensics .
  • Similarities and differences between homicide , murder, and manslaughter.
  • Types of offenders: classification.
  • Effects of gun control measures in the United States .
  • The role of crime mapping in modern criminal justice.
  • Male crimes vs female crimes: are they different?
  • Prisons : the problems of bad living conditions.
  • Victimization : causes and ways of prevention.
  • Victimology and traditional justice system alternatives .
  • Rape victims: what are their rights?
  • Problem-solving courts: what underlying problems do they address?
  • Mandatory sentencing and the three-strike rule.
  • Have “three-strikes” laws been effective and should they be continued?
  • Criminal courts : what can be learned from their history?
  • Hate crimes : what motivates people to commit them?
  • Youth gangs: what is their danger?
  • Fieldwork: how is it done in criminology?
  • Distributive justice : its place in criminal justice.
  • Capital punishment : what can be learned from history?
  • Humanities and justice in Britain during 18th century .
  • Abolition of capital punishment .
  • Criminals and prisoners’ rights .
  • Crime prevention programs and criminal rehabilitation .
  • Campus crime: what laws and precautions are there against it?
  • Criminal trial process: how does it go?
  • Crimes committed on a religious basis: how are they punished?
  • The code of ethics in the Texas department of criminal justice .
  • Comparison between Florida and Maryland’s legislative frameworks .
  • Fraud in the scientific field: how can copyright protect the discoveries of researchers?
  • Prosecution laws: how are they applied in practice?
  • The classification of crime systems.
  • Cyberbullying and cyberstalking: what can parents do to protect their children?
  • Forgery cases in educational institutions, offices, and governmental organizations.
  • Drug courts : how do they work?

Controversial Topics in Criminal Justice

Want your work to be unconventional? Consider choosing one of the controversial topics. You will need to present a number of opposite points of view. Of course, it’s acceptable to choose and promote an opinion that you think stands the best. Just make sure to provide a thorough analysis of all of the viewpoints.

You can also stay impartial and let the reader make up their own mind on the subject. If you decide to support one of the viewpoints, your decision should be objective. Back it up with plenty of evidence, too. Here are some examples of controversial topics that you can explore.

  • Reform vs. punishment: which one offers more benefits?
  • Restorative justice model : is it the best criminal justice tool?
  • The war on drugs : does it really solve the drug problem?
  • Criminal insanity: is it a reason enough for exemption from liability?
  • Juvenile justice system : should it be eliminated?
  • Drug testing on the school ground.
  • Police brutality in the United States .
  • How to better gun control ? 
  • Why Gun Control Laws Should be Scrapped .
  • Pornography: is it a type of sexual violence?
  • Whether death penalty can be applied fairly?
  • Jack the Ripper: who was he?
  • The modern justice system: is it racist?
  • A false accusation: how can one protect themselves from it?
  • Concealed weapons: what are the criminal codes of various states?
  • Race and crime: is there a correlation?
  • Registering sex offenders: should this information be in public records?
  • Juvenile delinquency and bad parenting: is there a relation?
  • Assessing juveniles for psychopathy or conduct disorder .
  • Should all new employees be checked for a criminal background ?
  • Are delinquency cases higher among immigrant children?
  • Restrictive housing: can it help decongest prisons?
  • Homegrown crimes: is there an effective program against them?
  • Prostitution: the controversy around legalization .
  • Eyewitness testimony : is it really helpful in an investigation?
  • Youthful offenders in boot camps: is this strategy effective?
  • Predictive policing : is it effective?
  • Selective incapacitation: is it an effective policy for reducing crime?
  • Social class and crime: is there a relation?
  • Death penalty: is it effective in crime deterrence?
  • Extradition law: is it fair?
  • Devious interrogations: is deceit acceptable during investigations?
  • Supermax prisons: are they effective or just cruel?
  • Zero tolerance: is it the best policy for crime reduction?
  • Marijuana decriminalization: pros and cons.
  • Marijuana legalization in the US .

Now that you have looked through the full list of topics, choose wisely. Remember that sometimes it’s best to avoid sensitive topics. Other times, a clever choice of a topic will win you extra points. It doesn’t depend on just the tastes of your professor, of course. You should also take into account how much relevant information there is on the subject. Anyway, the choice of the topic of your research is up to you. Try to find the latest materials and conduct an in-depth analysis of them. Don’t forget to draw a satisfactory conclusion. Writing may take a lot of your time and energy, so plan ahead. Remember to stay hydrated and good luck!

Now, after we looked through the topic collections on criminology and criminal justice, it is time to turn to the specifics in each of the fields. First, let’s talk more extensively about criminology. If you are training to be a criminologist, you will study some things more deeply. They include the behavior patterns of criminals, their backgrounds, and the latest sociological trends in crime.

Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions. Cut 20% off your first order!

In the field of criminology, the specialties are numerous. That’s why it’s difficult to pinpoint one career that represents a typical member of the profession. It all depends on the background of a criminologist, their education, and experience.

Careers possible with a criminology major.

A criminologist may have a number of responsibilities at their position. For example, they might be called forth to investigate a crime scene. Participation in autopsies is unpleasant yet necessary. Interrogation of suspects and subsequent criminal profiling is another essential duty.

Some professionals work solely in research. Others consult government agencies or private security companies. Courts and law firms also cooperate with criminologists. Their job is to provide expert opinion in criminal proceedings. Some of them work in the prison systems in order to oversee the rehabilitation of the convicted.

Regardless of the career specialty , most criminologists are working on profiling and data collection. A criminologist is another word for an analyst. They collect, study, and analyze data on crimes. After conducting the analysis, they provide recommendations and actionable information.

A criminologist seeks to find out the identity of the person who committed the crime. The time point of a crime is also important, as well as the reason for it. There are several areas covered by the analysis of a criminologist. The psychological behavior of the criminal or criminals is closely studied. The socio-economic indicators are taken into account. There are also, of course, the environmental factors that may have facilitated the crime.

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

Some high-profile cases require a criminologist to correspond with media and PR managers extensively. Sometimes criminologists write articles and even books about their findings. However, it should be noted that the daily routine of a professional in the field is not so glamorous. Most criminologists do their work alone, without the attention of the public.

The research a criminologist accumulates during their work is extensive. It doesn’t just sit there in a folder on their desk, of course. The collected statistics are used for developing active criminal profiles that are shared with law enforcement agencies. It helps to understand criminal behavior better and to predict it. That’s why a criminologist’s work must be precise and accurate for it to be practical and useful. Also, criminology professionals must have a good grasp of math and statistics.

Thinking of a career in criminology? You will need to, at the very least, graduate from college. There, you’ll master mathematics, statistics, and, of course, criminology. An associate’s degree may get you an entry-level position. But the minimum entry-level requirement is usually the bachelor’s degree. The best positions, though, are left for the professionals with a master’s degree or a PhD.

Just having a degree is not enough. To succeed as a criminologist, you will require all your intelligence, commitment, and the skill of analyzing intricate situations. An aspiration to better the society will go a long way. You will need to exercise your creative, written, and verbal communication skills, too. An analytical mind will land you at an advantage.

Criminology: Research Areas

Times change and the world of crime never ceases to adapt. The nature of criminal transgression is evolving, and so do the ways of prosecution. Criminal detection, investigation, and prevention are constantly advancing. Criminology studies aim to improve the practices implemented in the field.

There are six unified, coordinated, and interrelated areas of expertise. Within each, the professionals are busy turning their mastery into knowledge and action.

Criminology research areas.

The first research area is the newest worry of criminology – cybercrime. The impact of this type of crime is escalating with every passing day. That’s why it’s crucial for the law enforcement professionals to keep up to date with the evolving technology. Cybercrime research is exploring the growing threat of its subject at all levels of society. Cybercrime may impact people on both personal and governmental levels. Cybercrime research investigates the motivation and methodology behind the offenses and finds new ways to react.

The second research area is counter fraud. Crimes that fall under this category include fraud and corruption. The questions that counter fraud research deals with are many. How widely a crime is spread, what method is best to fight it, and the optimal courses of action to protect people and organizations.

The third research area is that of forensics. The contemporary face of justice has been changed by forensic science beyond recognition. Nowadays, it’s much harder for criminals to conceal their activity due to evolved technologies. The research in forensics is utilizing science in the identification of the crime and in its reconstruction. It employs such techniques as DNA recovery, fingerprinting, and forensic interviewing.

What is forensic interviewing? It helps find new ways to gather quality information from witnesses and crime scenes. It also works on developing protocols that ensure the protection of this human data and its correct interpretation by police.

The fourth research area is policing. Police service is facing a lot of pressing issues nowadays due to budget cuts. At the same time, police officers still need to learn, and there are also individual factors that may influence their work.

The fifth research area is penology. It’s tasked with exploring the role of punishment in the criminal justice system. Does punishment aid the rehabilitation of perpetrators, and to what extent? The answer will help link theory to practice and thus shape how criminal justice practitioners work.

The sixth research area is that of missing persons. Before a person goes missing, they may display a certain pattern of behavior. The study of missing persons helps to identify it. The results will determine the handling of such cases.

Now that we know what criminology is, it’s time to talk about criminal justice.

While criminology focuses on the analysis of crime, criminal justice concentrates on societal systems. Its primary concern is with the criminal behavior of the perpetrators. For example, in the USA, there are three branches of the criminal justice system. They are police (aka law enforcement), courts, and corrections. These branches all work together to punish and prevent unlawful behavior. If you take up a career in criminal justice, expect to work in one of these fields.

The most well-known branch of criminal justice is law enforcement. The police force is at the forefront of defense against crime and misdemeanor. They stand against the criminal element in many ways. For instance, they patrol the streets, investigate crimes, and detain suspects. It’s not just the police officers who take these responsibilities upon themselves. There are also US Marshals, ICE, FBI Agents, DEA, and border patrol. Only after the arrest has been made, the perpetrator enters the court system.

The court system is less visible to the public, but still crucial to the criminal justice system. Its main purpose is to determine the suspect’s innocence or guilt. You can work as an attorney, lawyer, bailiff, judge, or another professional of the field. In the court, if you are a suspect, you are innocent until proven guilty. You are also entitled to a fair trial. However, if they do find you guilty, you will receive a sentence. Your punishment will be the job of the corrections system.

The courts determine the nature of the punishment, and the corrections system enforces it. There are three elements of the corrections system: incarceration, probation, and parole. They either punish or rehabilitate the convicts. Want to uptake a career in corrections? You may work as, including, but not limited to: a parole officer, a prison warden, a probation officer, and a guard.

📈 Criminal Justice: Research Areas

The research areas in criminal justice are similar, if not identical, to those of criminology. After all, those are two very closely related fields. The one difference is that criminal justice research has more practical than theoretical applications. But it’s fair to say that theory is the building blocks that practice bases itself on. One is impossible without the other unless the result you want is complete chaos.

So, the question is – what topic to choose for the research paper? Remember that the world of criminal justice is constantly changing. Choosing a subject for research in criminal justice, consider a relevant topic. There are many pressing issues in the field. Exploring them will undoubtedly win you points from your professor. Just make sure to choose a direction that will give you the opportunity to show off both your knowledge and your analytical skills.

Not sure that your original research direction will be appreciated? Then choose one of the standard topics. Something that is widely discussed in the media. And, of course, make sure that you are truly interested in the subject. Otherwise, your disinterest will translate into your writing, which may negatively affect the overall impression. Also, it’s just more enjoyable to work on something that resonates with you.

What can you do with your research paper? Literally anything. Explore the background of the issue. Make predictions. Compare the different takes on the matter. Maybe there are some fresh new discoveries that have been made recently. What does science say about that?

Also, remember to backup all your arguments with quotes and examples from real life. The Internet is the best library and research ground a student could hope for. The main idea of the paper, aka the thesis, must be proven by enough factual material. Otherwise, it’s best to change your research direction.

And, of course, don’t put it all off till the last minute. Make a plan and stick to it. Consistency and clever distribution of effort will take you a long way. Good luck!

🤔 Criminal Justice Research FAQs

Criminological and criminal justice research are the scientific studies of the causes and consequences, extent and control, nature, management, and prevention of criminal behavior, both on the social and individual levels.

Criminal justice and criminology are sciences that analyze the occurrence and explore the ways of prevention of illegal acts. Any conducted personal research and investigation should be supported by the implemented analytical methods from academic works that describe the given subject.

There are six interrelated areas of criminology research:

  • Cybercrime research makes law enforcement professionals keep up to date with the evolving technology.
  • Counter fraud research investigates cases of fraud and corruption.
  • Forensics research utilizes science: DNA recovery, fingerprinting, and forensic interviewing.
  • Research in policing investigates individual factors that may influence the work of police officers.
  • Penology explores the role of punishment in the criminal justice system.
  • The study of missing persons helps to identify patterns of victims’ behavior.

There are seven research methods in criminology:

  • Quantitative research methods measure criminological and criminal justice reality by assigning numerical values to concepts to find patterns of correlation, cause and effect.
  • Survey research collects information from a number of persons via their responses to questions.
  • Experimental research assesses cause and effect in two comparison groups.
  • Cross-sectional research studies one group at one point in time.
  • Longitudinal research studies the same group over a period of time.
  • Time-series designs study the same group at successive points in time.
  • Meta-analysis employs quantitative analysis of findings from multiple studies.

The basis of criminological theory is criminological research. It influences the development of social policies and defines criminal justice practice.

Criminological research doesn’t just enable law students to develop analytical and presentational skills. The works of criminal justice professionals, scholars, and government policymakers dictate the way law enforcement operates. The newest ideas born out of research identify corrections and crime prevention, too.

Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to write a criminal justice research paper:

  • Choose a topic
  • Read the materials and take notes
  • Come up with a thesis
  • Create an outline for your work
  • Draft the body
  • Start with a cover page, an abstract, and an intro
  • List the methods you used, and the results you got
  • Include a discussion
  • Sum it up with a conclusion
  • Don’t forget a literature review and appendices
  • Revise, proofread, and edit

The most common types of methodologies in criminal justice research include:

  • Observation of participants.
  • Surveys and interviews.
  • Observation of focus groups.
  • Conducting experiments.
  • Analysis of secondary data and archival study.
  • Mixed (a combination of the above methods).

Learn more on this topic:

  • 280 Good Nursing Research Topics & Questions
  • 204 Research Topics on Technology & Computer Science
  • 178 Best Research Titles about Cookery & Food
  • 497 Interesting History Topics to Research
  • 180 Best Education Research Topics & Ideas
  • 110+ Micro- & Macroeconomics Research Topics
  • 417 Business Research Topics for ABM Students
  • 190+ Research Topics on Psychology & Communication
  • 512 Research Topics on HumSS
  • 281 Best Health & Medical Research Topics
  • 501 Research Questions & Titles about Science
  • A List of Research Topics for Students. Unique and Interesting
  • Good Research Topics, Titles and Ideas for Your Paper
  • The Differences Between Criminal Justice and Criminology: Which Degree Is Right for You? (Concordia St. Paul)
  • Corporate Crime: Britannica
  • The Development of Delinquency: NAP
  • Databases for Research & Education: Gale
  • A CS Research Topic Generator: Purdue University
  • A Introduction To The Federal Court System: US Department of Justice
  • Criminal Justice Research Topics: Broward College
  • Research Topics in Criminology: Cambridge Institute of Criminology
  • CRIMINOLOGY: University of Portsmouth
  • Research: Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Maryland
  • Criminal Justice: RAND
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice: Penn State University Libraries
  • Research: School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University
  • Criminology – Research Guide: Getting started (Penn Libraries)
  • Criminology Research Papers: Academia
  • The History & Development of the U.S. Criminal Justice System: Study.com
  • Criminal Justice: Temple University
  • Criminal Justice: University of North Georgia
  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to LinkedIn
  • Share to email

Research Proposal Topics: 503 Ideas, Sample, & Guide [2024]

Do you have to write a research proposal and can’t choose one from the professor’s list? This article may be exactly what you need. We will provide you with the most up-to-date undergraduate and postgraduate topic ideas. Moreover, we will share the secrets of the winning research proposal writing. Here,...

278 Interesting History Essay Topics and Events to Write about

A history class can become a jumble of years, dates, odd moments, and names of people who have been dead for centuries. Despite this, you’ll still need to find history topics to write about. You may have no choice! But once in a while, your instructor may let you pick...

150 Argumentative Research Paper Topics [2024 Upd.]

Argumentative research paper topics are a lot easier to find than to come up with. We always try to make your life easier. That’s why you should feel free to check out this list of the hottest and most controversial argumentative essay topics for 2024. In the article prepared by...

420 Funny Speech Topics: Informative, Persuasive, for Presentations

One of the greatest problems of the scholarly world is the lack of funny topics. So why not jazz it up? How about creating one of those humorous speeches the public is always so delighted to listen to? Making a couple of funny informative speech topics or coming up with...

Best Childhood Memories Essay Ideas: 94 Narrative Topics [2024]

Many people believe that childhood is the happiest period in a person’s life. It’s not hard to see why. Kids have nothing to care or worry about, have almost no duties or problems, and can hang out with their friends all day long. An essay about childhood gives an opportunity...

A List of 272 Informative Speech Topics: Pick Only Awesome Ideas! [2024]

Just when you think you’re way past the question “How to write an essay?” another one comes. That’s the thing students desperately Google: “What is an informative speech?” And our custom writing experts are here to help you sort this out. Informative speaking is a speech on a completely new issue....

435 Literary Analysis Essay Topics and Prompts [2024 Upd]

Literature courses are about two things: reading and writing about what you’ve read. For most students, it’s hard enough to understand great pieces of literature, never mind analyzing them. And with so many books and stories out there, choosing one to write about can be a chore. But you’re in...

335 Unique Essay Topics for College Students [2024 Update]

The success of any college essay depends on the topic choice. If you want to impress your instructors, your essay needs to be interesting and unique. Don’t know what to write about? We are here to help you! In this article by our Custom-Writing.org team, you will find 335 interesting...

147 Social Studies Topics for Your Research Project

Social studies is an integrated research field. It includes a range of topics on social science and humanities, such as history, culture, geography, sociology, education, etc. A social studies essay might be assigned to any middle school, high school, or college student. It might seem like a daunting task, but...

626 Dissertation Topics for Ph.D. and Thesis Ideas for Master Students

If you are about to go into the world of graduate school, then one of the first things you need to do is choose from all the possible dissertation topics available to you. This is no small task. You are likely to spend many years researching your Master’s or Ph.D....

192 Free Ideas for Argumentative or Persuasive Essay Topics

Looking for a good argumentative essay topic? In need of a persuasive idea for a research paper? You’ve found the right page! Academic writing is never easy, whether it is for middle school or college. That’s why there are numerous educational materials on composing an argumentative and persuasive essay, for...

209 Sports Topics: Argumentative Essay & Persuasive Speech Ideas

Persuasive speech is the art of convincing the audience to understand and trust your opinion. Are you ready to persuade someone in your view? Our list of sports persuasive speech topics will help you find a position to take and defend. If you need more options quick, apart from contents...

The schools of criminology seems like such a fascinating field — it’s definitely not for the lighthearted though! Here in the Philippines, criminology as a course is highly underrated; hopefully that’ll change!

Custom Writing

I understand. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

158 Criminology Essay Topics

🏆 best essay topics on criminology, ✍️ criminology essay topics for college, 👍 good criminology research topics & essay examples, 🌶️ hot criminology ideas to write about, 🎓 most interesting criminology research titles, 💡 simple criminology essay ideas, ❓ criminology research questions.

  • Criminology Discipline and Theories
  • Use of Statistics in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Forensic Science: Killing of JonBenet Ramsey
  • Theories of Crime in Forensic Psychology
  • Labeling Theory and Critical Criminology: Sociological Research
  • Chapter 9 of “Criminology Today” by Schmalleger
  • Variance Analysis in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • How the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights Were Influenced by the Classical School of Criminology? In the United States Constitution and bill of rights, many of the fundamental rights used by the citizens originate from classical criminology.
  • Robert Merton’s Strain Theory in Criminology Robert Merton’s strain theory explains the link between crime and adverse social conditions and how the former may be precipitated by the latter.
  • Criminology and Impact of Automation Technology The sole objective of this study is to determine to what extent automation is embraced by law agencies and authorities to solve crimes with a faster and more accurate technique.
  • Feminist Perspectives’ Contribution to Criminology The principles of gender inclusivity, equality, and cultural implications bear fundamental roles in the development of criminology perspectives.
  • Criminology as a Science: Cause and Effect Criminology is a study of the nature and degree of the problem of crime in society. For years criminologists have been trying to unravel criminal behavior.
  • Correlational Design in Forensic Psychology Correlational designs are actively used in forensic psychology research in order to determine the meaningful relations between different types of variables.
  • Criminological Theories on Community-Based Rehabilitation This research study seeks to enhance the collection of integral analysis of human behavior and legal framework that boosts the quality of information for rehabilitation.
  • Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling The paper seeks to explore insight into the nature of criminal investigative psychology and a comprehensive evaluation of the practice in solving crime.
  • Juvenile Forensic Psychology: Contemporary Concern The present juvenile forensic psychology system has many pitfalls that have compromised the wellbeing and development of the young offenders admitted within these institutions.
  • Criminology and Victimology: Victim Stereotypes in Criminal Justice The paper shall look at this matter in relation to female perpetrated violence as well as male experiences of sexual violence and racial minority victims.
  • Criminology: Femininity and the Upsurge of Ladettes In recent years, women in highly industrialized countries are drinking more and behaving more badly than men. These women are called ladettes.
  • Experimental Psychology and Forensic Psychology Psychology is a powerful field of study aimed at addressing a wide range of human problems. The field can be divided into two specialties. These include experimental and forensic psychology.
  • Integrity as a Key Value: Criminology and War Integrity is included in the list of the LEADERSHIP values, which exist to direct military servicemembers toward appropriate conduct.
  • Chapter 8 of “Criminology Today” by F. Schmalleger According to social process theories, criminal behavior that an individual acquires remains lifelong because it is strengthened by the same social issues that have caused it.
  • Full-Service Crime Laboratory: Forensic Science Forensic scientists study and analyze evidence from crime scenes and other locations to produce objective results that can aid in the investigation and prosecution of criminals.
  • Three Case Briefs in Criminology This paper gives three case briefs in criminology. Cases are “Macomber v. Dillman Case”, “Isbell v. Brighton Area Schools Case”, and “Wilen v. Falkenstein Case”.
  • Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology Psychologists face many moral dilemmas in law due to the field’s nature because they are responsible for deciding people’s fates, which puts pressure on them.
  • Hernando Washington Case. Criminology The history of humanity has seen multiple cases of extreme violence, and such instances can hardly ever be justified by any factors.
  • Stabbing Cases in London in Relation to Durkheim’s Criminological Theory The two main questions about criminal and deviant acts are what constitutes such an act and whether it should be punished.
  • Classical and Positivist Schools of Criminology General and specific deterrence use the threat of negative consequences for illegal acts to reduce crime rates.
  • Criminology: The Peace-Making Model The purpose of this article is to consider the peacekeeping model in criminology as an alternative to the criminal justice system to solve the problem of a growing crime rate.
  • Criminological Theory: Crime Theories and Criminal Behavior Criminal behavior is a type of behavior of a person who commits a crime. It is interesting to know what drives people to commit crimes and how to control these intentions.
  • Analysis of Forensic Psychology Practice The important feature of the whole sphere of forensic psychology practice is the ability to testify in court, reformulating psychological findings into the legal language, etc
  • Contemporary Theories in Criminology This paper discusses three methods of measuring crimes, Classical School of criminology and its impacts on the US criminology, and the causes of crime – individuality and society.
  • The Rise of Criminological Conflict Theory Three key factors that explain the emergence of conflict theory are the influence of the Vietnam War, the rise of the counterculture, and anti-discrimination movements.
  • “Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences” the Book by Lilly, J., Cullen, F., & Ball, R. Criminological Theory addresses not only the evolving and expanding topic of trends in criminological thought but also tries to achieve a level of explanation.
  • Feminism and Criminology in the Modern Justice System Feminist research is a promising method for studying the psychography of crime, motivation, and the introduction of women’s experience in the field of forensic science.
  • Criminology Today by Frank Schmalleger This paper discusses the first chapter from the book Criminology Today by Schmalleger that tells about the basic topics and defines the basic term.
  • Incorporating Criminological Theories Into Policymaking Criminological theories, primarily behavioral and social learning, are pivotal to the policymaking process. They provide insights into certain situations.
  • Researching Environmental Criminology Environmental criminology is the study of crime and criminality in connection with specific places and with how individuals and organizations form their activities in space.
  • Chapter 7 of Statistics for Criminology and Criminal Justice Chapter 7 of Statistics for Criminology and Criminal Justice analyzes populations, sampling distributions, and the sample related to criminal-justice statistics and criminology.
  • Extinction Rebellion: A Criminological Assessment The paper aims at exploring whether Extinction Rebellion protestors are criminals using the narrative criminology framework, transgression theory, and green criminology theory.
  • Forensic Psychology: Subspecialties and Roles Of my specific interests have been basically two subspecialties of forensic psychology. These include correctional psychology as well as police psychology.
  • Statistical Significance and Effect Size in Forensic Psychology Nee and Farman evaluated the effectiveness of using dialectical behavior therapy for treating borderline personality disorder in the UK female prisons.
  • Forensic Psychology and Its Essential Feature in the Modern World The essay defines the origins of forensic psychology, analyzes its role in various fields and spheres, and identifies its essential feature in the modern world.
  • The Use of Statistics in Criminal Justice and Criminology This paper discusses small-sample confidence intervals for means and confidence intervals with proportions and percentages in criminal justice and criminology.
  • Criminological Conflict Theory by Sykes Sykes identified three important elements, which he used to elucidate the criminological conflict theory. Sykes highlighted the existence of profound skepticism towards any theory.
  • Postmodern Criminology: The Violence of the Language According to Arrigo (2019), postmodern criminology recognizes the specific value of language as a non-neutral, politically charged instrument of communication.
  • Forensic Psychology: Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida The question in the two cases Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida was juvenile sentencing. The offenders claimed their life prison sentences for rape and robbery.
  • Researching of Emerging Technologies in Criminology This paper reviews the advantages and disadvantages of computer technology for crime investigation and law enforcement and concludes that the former outweighs the latter.
  • Criminology: Legal Rights Afforded to the Accused The essay discusses the police actions of arrest and the main features of the arrangement process. The case of John Doe shows criminal procedure specifics.
  • Statistics for Criminology and Criminal Justice Dispersion is important as it is not enough to merely know the measures of central tendency to make assumptions about a distribution.
  • “Introduction to Criminology” Book by Hagan In “Introduction to criminology”, Hagan explains survey research and uses it to investigate essential questions that the criminal justice system faces.
  • Overview of the Theories of Criminology Criminology refers to a body that focuses on crime as a social phenomenon. Criminologists adopt several behavioral and social sciences and methods of understanding crime.
  • Broken Window Theory In Criminology In criminology, the broken window theory is often used to describe how bringing order into society can help to reduce crime.
  • Sexual Assault: Criminology This paper discusses an act of sexual assault. The paper gives the definition of rape, social, personal, and psychosocial factors.
  • Marxist Criminological Paradigm The essence of the Marxist criminological paradigm consists of overthrowing the bourgeoisie, as a ruling class, and establishing the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat.
  • Theories That Explain Criminal Activities and Criminology Academicians have come up with theories that explain why people engage in crime. The theories are classified which may be psychological, biological, or sociological.
  • Criminology: The Aboriginal Crisis The aboriginal people have been living under confinement, in the reserves for a long time. These laws are still under a lot of legal constraints.
  • Are Marxist Criminologists Right to See Crime Control as Class Control? Marxist criminology is comparable to functionalist theories, which lay emphasis on the production of continuity and stability in any society.
  • Forensic Science: Psychological Analysis Human behavior can be evaluated by studying the functioning of the human mind. This is important information in crime profiling among other operations in forensic psychology.
  • Criminology: USA Patriot Act Overview The Act strengthens and gives more authority to the federal agencies over individual privacy and secrecy of information.
  • Criminology: About Corporate Fraud This article focuses on fraud: professional fraud and its types, accounting fraud, and conflicts of interest are considered.
  • The Due Process: Criminology The due process clause has been a very essential clause to the ordinary citizens since it is a means of assurance that every freeman has the freedom to enjoy his rights.
  • Green Criminology: Environmental Harm in the Niger Delta This essay analyzes environmental harm in the Niger Delta, Nigeria using the Green Criminological analysis of victimization and offenders.
  • Criminology: Four Types of Evidence There are basically four types of evidence. Every piece of evidence should be analyzed several times throughout the actual investigation by following all the required steps.
  • Criminology: The Social Control Theory For criminologists, the social control theory means that an effective approach to reducing crime might be to change not individuals but their social contexts.
  • Forensic Psychology Practice Standards for Inmates It is vital for the inmates to have frequent access to psychological assessments because the majority of the inmates end up with psychological problems.
  • The Role of Forensic Psychology in the Investigation Confidentiality is an essential feature of a therapeutic bond. Forensic psychologists are bound by a code of ethics to safeguard clients’ information.
  • Violence Potential Assessment in Forensic Psychiatric Institutions This paper aims to discuss the ways of predicting violence in forensic psychiatric institutions while focusing on the review of the recent research in the field.
  • Legal Insanity in Criminology In America, defendants are said to be legally insane if they suffer from cognitive disorder or lack the capabilities to abstain from criminal behaviors.
  • Forensic Psychology in the Correctional Subspecialty Psychological professionals have the role of ensuring that the released convicts have gathered enough knowledge and understanding for them to fit in the society.
  • Criminological Theories Assessment and Personal Criminological Theory This essay aims to briefly cover the various criminological theories in vogue and offer the author’s own assessment as to which theory deserves greater credibility.
  • Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences. The Notion of Criminality and Crime The exploration of the notion of criminality and crime is essential for the prevention and management thereof.
  • Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences The theory of social control seems logical and valid despite controversies and the diversity of theoretical approaches to the reasons of crime.
  • “Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences”: Evaluation The criminal law system works in such a way that all offenses are stopped, and corresponding penalties provided by the law are implemented.
  • Chapter 10 of “Criminological Theory” by Lilly et al. This paper elaborates on the problem of feminism and criminology. The paper addresses chapter 10 of the book “Criminological Theory” by Lilly et al. as the source material.
  • Linguistics and Law: Forensic Letters This paper review articles The Multi-Genre Analysis of Barrister’s Opinion by Hafner and Professional Citation Practices in Child Maltreatment Forensic Letters by Schryer et al.
  • Frank Hagan’s Textbook “Introduction to Criminology” Throughout the chapters, Frank Hagan deliberately made reference to positivism criminological theory as such, which was largely discredited.
  • Forensic Psychology: Important Issues Forensic psychologists consider that task of determining insanity extremely difficult. There is a difference between insanity as a psychological condition and a legal concept.
  • The American Psychological Association: Forensic Field Forensic psychologists are commonly invited to provide expert consultation and share their observations that might be useful to the judicial system.
  • Transnational Crime and Global Criminology: Definitional, Typological, and Contextual Conundrums
  • Rational Choice, Deterrence, and Social Learning Theory in Criminology
  • Comparing Cultures and Crime: Challenges, Prospects, and Problems for a Global Criminology
  • The Distinction Between Conflict and Radical Criminology
  • How the Study of Political Extremism Has Reshaped Criminology
  • Contribution of Positivist Criminology to the Understanding of the Causes of Crime
  • Overcoming the Neglect of Social Process in Cross‐National and Comparative Criminology
  • The Development of Criminology: From Traditional to Contemporary Views on Crime and Its Causation
  • Racism, Ethnicity, and Criminology: Developing Minority Perspectives
  • Activist Criminology: Criminologists’ Responsibility to Advocate for Social and Legal Justice
  • The Challenges of Doing Criminology in the Big Data Era: Towards a Digital and Data-Driven Approach
  • Radical Criminology and Marxism: A Fallible Relationship
  • Ontological Shift in Classical Criminology: Engagement With the New Sciences
  • Hot Spots of Predatory Crime: Routine Activities and the Criminology of Place
  • The Criminology of Genocide: The Death and Rape of Darfur
  • Future Applications of Big Data in Environmental Criminology
  • Overcoming the Crisis in Critical Criminology: Toward a Grounded Labeling Theory
  • Toward an Analytical Criminology: The Micro-Macro Problem, Causal Mechanisms, and Public Policy
  • The Utility of the Deviant Case in the Development of Criminological Theory
  • In Search of a Critical Mass: Do Black Lives Matter in Criminology?
  • Crime and Criminology in the Eye of the Novelist: Trends in the 19th Century Literature
  • Income Inequality and Homicide Rates: Cross-National Data and Criminological Theories
  • Women & Crime: The Failure of Traditional Theories and the Rise of Feminist Criminology
  • Criminology Studies: How Fear of Crime Affects Punitive Attitudes
  • Recent Developments in Criminological Theory: Toward Disciplinary Diversity and Theoretical Integration
  • Critical Criminology: The Critique of Domination, Inequality, and Injustice
  • Anti-racism in Criminology: An Oxymoron?
  • Heredity or Milieu: The Foundations of Modern European Criminological Theory
  • Classical and Contemporary Criminological Theory in Understanding Young People’s Drug Use
  • Theories of Action in Criminology: Learning Theory and Rational Choice Approaches
  • Criminalization or Instrumentalism: New Trends in the Field of Border Criminology
  • Eco-Justice and the Moral Fissures of Green Criminology
  • The Impact of Criminological Theory on Community Corrections Practice
  • Feminism and Critical Criminology: Confronting Genealogies
  • Learning From Criminals: Active Offender Research for Criminology
  • Offending Patterns in Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
  • Big Data and Criminology From an AI Perspective
  • Psychological and Criminological Factors Associated With Desistance From Violence
  • Connecting Criminology and Sociology of Health & Illness
  • Assessment of the Current Status and Future Directions in Criminology
  • Using Basic Neurobiological Measures in Criminological Research
  • Green Criminology: Capitalism, Green Crime & Justice, and Environmental Destruction
  • The Foundation and Re‐Emergence of Classical Thought in Criminological Theory
  • Conservation Criminology, Environmental Crime, and Risk: An Application to Climate Change
  • Feminist and Queer Criminology: A Vital Place for Theorizing LGBTQ Youth
  • Criminological Fiction: What Is It Good For?
  • Investigating the Applicability of Macro-Level Criminology Theory to Terrorism
  • Criminological Theory in Understanding of Cybercrime Offending and Victimization
  • The Nurture Versus Biosocial Debate in Criminology
  • Developmental Theories and Criminometric Methods in Modern Criminology
  • How Does Criminology Cooperate With Other Disciplines to Solve Crimes?
  • Is Criminology a Social or Behavioral Science?
  • How Does the Study of Criminology Relate to the Detection or Deterrence of Fraud?
  • What Are the Types of Norms in Criminology?
  • How Do Criminology Schools Differ?
  • What Is Criminological Research?
  • How Important Is the Role of Punishment in Neoclassical Criminology?
  • What Is the Life Course Theory of Criminology?
  • Who Is the Father of Modern Criminology?
  • What Did Early Criminology Focus On?
  • What Is the Difference Between Classical and Positivist Schools of Criminology?
  • Why Is Personal Identification Necessary for Criminology?
  • What Is the Difference Between Criminology and Applied Criminology?
  • What Is Evidence-Based Criminology?
  • Are Criminology and Criminal Justice the Same?
  • Who Rejected the Doctrine of Free Will in Criminology?
  • What Are the Fundamental Propositions of Feminist Criminology?
  • Is There a Difference Between Criminology and Victimology?
  • What Is the Bell Curve in Criminology?
  • Why Do People Commit Crimes, According to Criminology?
  • What Is the Difference Between Criminology and Criminal Psychology?
  • What Is Contemporary Criminology?
  • How Do Criminological Theories Relate to White Collar Crime?
  • What Are the Main Features and Concepts of Classical Criminology?
  • What Is the Positivist School of Criminology?
  • Who Are the Forerunners of Classical Thought in Criminology?
  • What Role Does Attachment Theory Play in Criminology?
  • Why Do Sociological Criminology Theories Help With Our Understanding of Crimes?
  • How Is Victimization Used in Criminology?
  • What Is Albert Cohen’s Theory of Subculture Formation in Criminology?

Cite this post

  • Chicago (N-B)
  • Chicago (A-D)

StudyCorgi. (2023, May 7). 158 Criminology Essay Topics. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/criminology-essay-topics/

"158 Criminology Essay Topics." StudyCorgi , 7 May 2023, studycorgi.com/ideas/criminology-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . (2023) '158 Criminology Essay Topics'. 7 May.

1. StudyCorgi . "158 Criminology Essay Topics." May 7, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/criminology-essay-topics/.


StudyCorgi . "158 Criminology Essay Topics." May 7, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/criminology-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . 2023. "158 Criminology Essay Topics." May 7, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/criminology-essay-topics/.

These essay examples and topics on Criminology were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on December 27, 2023 .

  • Open access
  • Published: 12 August 2014

Innovative data collection methods in criminological research: editorial introduction

  • Jean-Louis van Gelder 1 &
  • Stijn Van Daele 2  

Crime Science volume  3 , Article number:  6 ( 2014 ) Cite this article

23k Accesses

11 Citations

3 Altmetric

Metrics details

Novel technologies, such as GPS, the Internet and virtual environments are not only rapidly becoming an increasingly influential part of our daily lives, they also have tremendous potential for improving our understanding of where, when and why crime occurs. In addition to these technologies, several innovative research methods, such as neuropsychological measurements and time-space budgets, have emerged in recent years. While often highly accessible and relevant for crime research, these technologies and methods are currently underutilized by criminologists who still tend to rely on traditional data-collection methods, such as systematic observation and surveys.

The contributions in this special issue of Crime Science explore the potential of several innovative research methods and novel technologies for crime research to acquaint criminologists with these methods so that they can apply them in their own research. Each contribution deals with a specific technology or method, gives an overview and reviews the relevant literature. In addition, each article provides useful suggestions about new ways in which the technology or method can be applied in future research. The technologies describe software and hardware that is widely available to the consumer (e.g. GPS technology) and that sometimes can even be used free of charge (e.g., Google Street View). We hope this special issue, which has its origins in a recent initiative of the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) called CRIME Lab, and a collaborative workshop together with the Research consortium Crime, Criminology and Criminal Policy of Ghent University, will inspire researchers to start using innovative methods and novel technologies in their own research.

Issues and challenges facing crime researchers

Applied methods of scientific research depend on a variety of factors that play out at least in part beyond researcher control. One such factor regards the nature and availability of data, which largely determines the research questions that can be addressed: Data that cannot be collected cannot serve to answer a research question. Although this may seem like stating the obvious, it has had and continues to have far-reaching implications for criminological research. Because crime tends to be a covert activity and offenders have every interest in keeping it that way, crime in action can rarely be observed, let alone in such a way as to allow for systematic empirical study. Consequently, our knowledge of the actual offending process is still limited and relies in large part on indirect evidence. The same applies to offender motivations and the offending process; these cannot be measured directly in ways similar to how we can observe say the development of a chemical process or the workings of gravity. This has placed significant restrictions on the way crime research has been performed over the years, and most likely has coloured our view of crime and criminality by directing our gaze towards certain more visible elements such as offender backgrounds, demographics and criminal careers.

Another factor operating outside of researcher control regards the fact that the success of scientific analyses hinges on the technical possibilities to perform them. Even if researchers have access to particular data, this does not guarantee that the technology to perform the analysis in the best possible way is available to them. The complexity of the social sciences and the interconnectivity of various social phenomena, together with the lack of a controlled environment or laboratory, require substantial computational power to test highly complicated models. For instance, the use of space-time budgets, social network analysis or agent-based modelling can be quite resource-intensive. Adding the complexity of social reality to the resulting datasets (e.g. background variables related to social structure, GIS to incorporate actual road networks, etc.) puts high pressure on the available computational power of regular contemporary desktop computers. Addressing these challenges has practical and financial consequences, which brings us to the third issue, which although more mundane in nature is by no means limited to the applied sciences: a researcher requires the financial and non-financial resources to be able to perform his research.

All three factors have a bearing on the contents and goals of the present special issue. More specifically, the methods that are discussed and explained in different articles in this special issue each address one or more of these factors and have, we believe, the potential to radically change the way we think about crime and go about doing crime research. The methods and technologies are available, feasible and affordable. They are, so to speak, there for the taking.

Notes on criminological research methods

The above factors have contributed to a general tendency within criminology to stick to particular research traditions, both in terms of method and analysis. Although these traditions are well-developed and have undergone substantial improvement over the decades, most changes in the way research is performed in the discipline have been of the ’more of the same‘ variety, and most involve gradual improvements, rather than embodying ‘scientific revolutions’ and ‘paradigm shifts’ that have radically changed how criminologists go about doing research and thinking about crime.

With respect to methodology, since the field's genesis in the early 20th century, research in criminology has largely spawned studies using similar methods. In a meta-analysis of articles that have appeared in seven leading criminology and criminal justice journals in 2001-2002, Kleck et al. ([ 2006 ]) demonstrate that survey research is still the dominant method of collecting information (45.1%), followed by the use of archival data (31.8%), and official statistics (25.6%). Other methods, such as interviews, ethnographies and systematic observation, each account for less than 10% (as methods are sometimes combined the percentages add up to more than 100%). Furthermore, the Kleck et al. meta-analysis shows that as far as data analysis is concerned, nearly three quarters (72.5%) of the articles published uses some type of multivariate statistics. As such, it appears that criminology has developed a research tradition that started to dominate the field, though not to everybody's enthusiasm. Berk ([ 2010 ]), for example, states that regression analysis, in its broad conception, has become so dominant that researchers give it more credit than they sometimes should and take some of its possibilities for granted. Whereas certain research traditions may have a strong added value, they run the risk of being used more out of habit than for being the most appropriate method to answer a particular research question. As innovation influences our daily lives and how we perform our daily activities, there is no reason why it should not influence our way of performing science as well.

Innovation and technology in daily life and their application in criminological research

Novel technologies, such as GPS, the Internet, and virtual environments are rapidly establishing themselves as ingrained elements of our daily lives. Think, for example, of smart phones. While unknown to most of us as recently as ten years ago, today few people would leave their home without carrying one with them. Through their ability to, for example, transmit visual and written communication, use social media, locate ourselves and others through apps and GPS, smart phone technology has radically changed the way we go about our daily routines. The research potential of smart phone technology for improving our understanding of social phenomena is enormous and includes a better understanding of where, when and why crime occurs through automated data collection, interactive tests and surveys (Miller [ 2012 ]). Yet, so far surprisingly few crime researchers have picked up on the possibilities this technology has to offer.

A similar point can be made with respect to the Internet. While most researchers have made the transition from paper-and-pencil questionnaires to online surveys and online research panels may have become the norm for collecting community sample data, much of the potential of the Internet for crime research remains untapped. Think, for example, of the possibility of using Google Maps and Google Street View for studying spatial aspects of crime and the ease with which we can virtually travel down most of the roads and streets to examine street corners, buildings and neighbourhoods. The launch of Google Street View in Belgium stirred up controversy because it was perceived by police officers as a catalogue for burglars and was expected to lead to an increase in the number of burglaries. While it is not clear whether this has actually happened, crime studies reporting these tools in their method sections are few and far between.

In addition to novel technologies, several innovative research methods, such as social network analysis, time-space budgets, and neuropsychological measures that can tap into people's physiological and mental state, have emerged in recent years and have become common elements of the tool-set used in some of criminology's sister disciplines, such as sociology, psychology and neuroscience. Again, while often highly accessible and relevant for crime research, these methods are currently underutilized by crime researchers. The promising and emerging field of neurocriminology is an important exception in this respect (see e.g., Glenn & Raine [ 2014 ]).

To revert back to the three issues that have restricted the gaze of criminology mentioned at the outset of this article: accessibility of data, type of data analysis, and availability of resources, the new methods and technologies seem to check all the boxes. Much more data have become accessible for analysis through novel technologies, new methods for data-analysis and data-collection have been developed, and most of it is available at the consumer level. In other words, this allows for collecting and examining data in ways that go far beyond what we are used to in crime research. For example, methods combining neurobiological measurements with virtual environments can tell us a lot about an individual's mental and physical states and how they go about making criminal decisions, which were until recently largely black boxes. Finally, novel technologies are often available on the consumer market, such as smart phones, tablets, and digital cameras, and require only very modest research budgets. In some cases, such as the automated analysis of footage made by security cameras, simulations, or the use of honeypots that lure cyber criminals into hacking them, they even allow for systematically examining crime in action.

Goals of this special issue of Crime Science

The principal aim of the present special issue is to acquaint crime researchers and criminology students with some of these technologies and methods and explain how they can be used in crime research. While widely diverging, what these technologies and methods have in common is their accessibility and potential for furthering our understanding of crime and criminal behavior. The idea, in other words, is to explore the potential of innovative research methods of data-collection and novel technologies for crime research and to acquaint readers with these methods so that they can apply them in their own research.

Each article deals with a specific technology or method and is set-up in such a way as to give readers an overview of the specific technology/method at hand, i.e., what it is about, why to use it and how to do so, and a discussion of relevant literature on the topic. Furthermore, when relevant, articles contain technical information regarding the tools that are currently available and how they can be obtained. Case studies also feature in each article, giving readers a clearer picture of what is at stake. Finally, we have encouraged all contributors to give their views on possible future developments with the specific technology or method they describe and to make a prediction regarding the direction their field could or should develop. We sincerely hope this will inspire readers to apply these methods in their own work.

While not intended as a manual, after reading an article, readers should not only have a clear view of what the method/technology entails but also of how to use it, possibly in combination with one or more of the references that are provided in the annotated bibliography provided at the end of each article. The contributions may also be useful for researchers already working with a specific method or students interested in research methodology.

Article overview

Hoeben, Bernasco and Pauwels discuss the space-time budget method. This method aims at retrospectively recording on an hour-by-hour basis the whereabouts and activities of respondents, including crime and victimization. The method offers a number of advantages over existing methods for data-collection on crime and victimization such as the possibility of studying situational causes of crime or victimization, possibly in combination with individual lifestyles, routine activities and similar theoretical concepts. Furthermore, the space-time budget method offers the possibility of collecting information on spatial location, which enables the study of a respondent's whereabouts, going beyond the traditional focus of ecological criminological studies on residential neighborhoods. Finally, the collected spatial information on the location of individuals can be combined with data on neighborhood characteristics from other sources, which enables the empirical testing of a variety of ecological criminological theories.

The contribution of Gerritsen focuses on the possibilities offered by agent-based modeling, a technique borrowed from the domain of Artificial Intelligence. Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a computational method that enables a researcher to create, analyse and experiment with models composed of agents that interact within a computational environment. Gerritsen explains how modeling and simulation techniques may help gain more insight into (informal) criminological theories without having to experiment with these phenomena in the real world. For example, to study the effect of bystander presence on norm violation, an ‘artificial neighborhood’ can be developed that is inhabited by 'virtual aggressors and victims’, and by manipulating the agents’ parameters different hypothetical scenarios may be explored. This enables criminologists to investigate complex processes in a relatively fast and cheap manner.

Since the pioneering early studies of the 1990s hinted at its promise as a method for social scientific research, Virtual Reality (VR) technology is increasingly used as a research tool by social scientists from various disciplines such as psychology and sociology. Given recent developments that have greatly enhanced the realism, reduced costs, and increased possibilities for application, it seems well on its way to become an established method in the social sciences. In their contribution Van Gelder, Luciano and Otte explore the potential of VR as a tool for research in criminology. Their article offers a description of how virtual reality has been used in social scientific research before discussing the potential it holds for criminology. By way of illustration, the authors describe a recent case study that has used immersive virtual reality for theory testing, which gives an idea of the unique possibilities of VR for studying crime.

Cornet also draws from criminology's sister disciplines in her article on neurobiological measurements observing that while the literature on the relationship between neurobiological factors and antisocial behavior has accumulated in recent years, the use of neurobiological measurements does not yet play a central role in criminological research. One of the underlying reasons Cornet identifies is the idea among criminologists that it is complicated to use these techniques compared to sociological, psychological and behavioral instruments. This article aims to provide an overview of the most commonly used neurobiological measurements, their added value and, importantly, how they can be relatively easily implemented in criminological research.

Vandeviver explains the possibilities and merits of online mapping applications such as Google Maps and Google Street View. While these technologies have evoked concern from law enforcement agencies that offenders could exploit them, Vandeviver notes that for criminologists they also open up several new perspectives to conduct research. Elaborating on results from prior studies in related fields and personal research experience, three potential uses of Google Maps and Google Street View in criminological research are explored and discussed. In particular, this article deals with how these online mapping applications can generate new research questions, how they allow revisiting and re-assessing established theories in criminology and common research practices, and how they should be considered an essential part of the methodological toolkit of criminologists.

Lemieux, also taking a spatial approach, describes how digital cameras with integrated GPS units can be used to collect useful data for criminological purposes observing that while visual observations have traditionally been an important method of criminological research, when combined with spatial data, such observations become a particularly useful way to describe how crime and disorder are distributed. Lemieux describes the utility and ease of using geo-tagged photographs and GPS tracks for monitoring illegal activity in urban and rural settings presenting case studies from Uganda and Amsterdam.

Vander Laenen discusses a method of qualitative criminological research, the Nominal Group Technique (NGT), which is not necessarily innovative by and of itself, but which has hardly been applied in criminology. The NGT is a highly structured technique with characteristics of an individual survey and a focus group. However its structure limits the influence of the researcher and of group dynamics and guarantees equal participation to all group members and equal influence of (conflicting) values and ideas. The NGT forms an ideal technique for gathering and prioritizing ideas and for innovative solution planning. Furthermore, despite the structure of the procedure, the technique can be modified and easily be applied in a mixed-methods research design. By means of an example, Vande Laenen reports on the use of the NGT in a study on the needs assessment of drug (prevention) policy.

In the final contribution to this special issue on innovative methods of data collection in criminology, De Bondt suggests solutions for doing cross-border criminal policy research and the confusion in wording and interpretation that emerge when comparing different legal systems. Correctly interpreting foreign information and using it as a valid source to substantiate analyses on where, when and why crime occurs and/or how to improve the fight against crime, often requires the expertise of people that are very familiar with a certain legal system. Based on a literature review and a number of successful experiences with the method in past research projects, the strengths and weaknesses of working with (predominantly) multiple choice based questionnaires sent to a single point of contact in each of the EU member states is elaborated upon.

Authors' contributions

Both Jean-Louis van Gelder and Stijn van Daele contributed to all aspects of the paper. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Berk R: What you can and can't properly do with regression. J Quant Criminol 2010, 26(4):481–487. doi:10.1007/s10940–010–9116–4 doi:10.1007/s10940-010-9116-4 10.1007/s10940-010-9116-4

Article   Google Scholar  

Glenn AL, Raine A: Neurocriminology: implications for the punishment, prediction and prevention of criminal behaviour. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2014, 15(1):54–63. doi:10.1038/Nrn3640 doi:10.1038/Nrn3640 10.1038/nrn3640

Kleck G, Tark J, Bellows J: What methods are most frequently used in research in criminology and criminal justice? [Article]. J Crim Justice 2006, 34(2):147–152. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2006.01.007 doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2006.01.007 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2006.01.007

Miller G: The smartphone psychology manifesto. Perspect Psychol Sci 2012, 7(3):221–237. doi:10.1177/1745691612441215 doi:10.1177/1745691612441215 10.1177/1745691612441215

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam, 1081, HV, The Netherlands

Jean-Louis van Gelder

Ghent University, Universiteitstraat 4, 9000, Ghent, Belgium

Stijn Van Daele

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jean-Louis van Gelder .

Additional information

Competing interests.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 ), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

van Gelder, JL., Van Daele, S. Innovative data collection methods in criminological research: editorial introduction. Crime Sci 3 , 6 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40163-014-0006-1

Download citation

Received : 17 April 2014

Accepted : 30 April 2014

Published : 12 August 2014

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s40163-014-0006-1

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

Crime Science

ISSN: 2193-7680

research essay on criminology

Digital Commons @ University of South Florida

  • USF Research
  • USF Libraries

Digital Commons @ USF > College of Behavioral and Community Sciences > Criminology > Theses and Dissertations

Criminology Theses and Dissertations

Theses/dissertations from 2023 2023.

Efficacy of Online Social Movements for Sparking Change: The Case of the Missing Murdered and Indigenous Women Movement (#MMIW) , Kacy A. Bleeker

An Examination of Racial Disparities in Arrest Across Florida Counties, 1998-2018: A Test of the Racial Threat and Political Representation Hypotheses , Xavier D. Burch

The Invisible Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Boys and Their Barriers to Access to Services , Amanda L. Connella

Damned & Damned: Examining Vexatious Litigation and the Vexatious Litigant Statute in Florida Courts , Sarah L. Harper

The Contributions of Mental Health Issues, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Adverse Childhood Experiences to Recidivism Among Rural Jail Incarcerees , Lauren N. Miley

Assessing the Relationship Between True Crime Documentary and Podcast Consumption, Fear of Crime, and Protective Behaviors , Lauren A. Tremblay

Police Officers’ Perceptions of Gunshot Detection Technology , Courtney L. Weber

Theses/Dissertations from 2022 2022

A Macro Social Examination of the Relationship Between Disabilities and Crime Using Neighborhood and County Level Data , Natasha A. Baloch

Racial Differences in Perceptions of Sanction Severity , Sarah L. Franklin

Juvenile Homicide Offenders: A Life-Course Perspective , Norair Khachatryan

Exploring the Effectiveness of a Life-Skills Program in a Florida Prison Through a Social Bond and General Strain Theory Perspective , Danielle M. Thomas

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Clean Water for All: Examining Safe Drinking Water Act Violations of Water Systems and Community Characteristics , Junghwan Bae

Morality and Offender Decision-Making: Testing the Empirical Relationship and Examining Methodological Implications , Jacquelyn Burckley

The Ring of Gyges 2.0: How Anonymity Providing Behaviors Affect Willingness to Participate in Online Deviance , Cassandra E. Dodge

A Macro Analysis of Illegal Hunting and Fishing Across Texas Counties: Using an Economic Structural Approach , Leo J. Genco Jr.

Self-Protection in Cyberspace: Assessing the Processual Relationship Between Thoughtfully Reflective Decision Making, Protection Motivation Theory, Cyber Hygiene, and Victimization , C. Jordan Howell

Racial Threat Theory: A Test of the Economic Threat Hypothesis , Carl L. Reeds

Online Perceptions of Panamanian Prisons and Incarcerated persons: An analysis of YouTube user comments , Mahaleth J. Sotelo

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

Toxic Colonialism and Green Victimization of Native Americans: An Examination of the Genocidal Impacts of Uranium Mining , Averi R. Fegadel

Cross-National Incarceration Rates as Behavior of Law , Christopher J. Marier

The Effects of Perceived Motivations and Mental Distress on the Likelihood of Reporting and Engaging in Self-Protective Measures Among Victims of Stalking , Daniela Oramas Mora

Mental Health and In-Prison Experiences: Examining Socioeconomic and Sex Differences in the Effect of Mental Illness on Institutional Misconduct and Disciplinary Segregation , Rachel E. Severson

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

Dating Application Facilitated Victimization: An Examination of Lifestyle-Routine Activities, Self-Control, and Self-Efficacy , Vanessa Centelles

Social Constructionism and Cultivation Theory in Development of the Juvenile “Super-Predator” , Elizabeth R. Jackson-Cruz

Bystander Intervention, Victimization, and Routine Activities Theory: An Examination of Feminist Routine Activities Theory in Cyber Space , Jennifer A. Leili

Sexual Assault and Robbery Disclosure: An Examination of Black’s Theory of the Behavior of Law , Caitlyn N. Muniz

Mass Shootings and Gun Sales: A Study on the Influence of Red and Blue Power , Maria Jose Rozo Osuna

A Multi-dimensional Macrolevel Study of Drug Enforcement Strategies, Heroin Prices, and Heroin Consumption Rates , Alexander G. Toth

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

The Impact of a Religious/Spiritual Turning Point on Desistance: A Lifecourse Assessment of Racial/Ethnic Differences , Rhissa Briones Robinson

Political Decisions on Police Expenditures: Examining the Potential Relationship Between Political Structure, Police Expenditures and the Volume of Crime Across US States , Xavier D. Burch

Identifying the Personal and Perceived Organizational Characteristics Associated with Job Satisfaction Among Juvenile Probation Staff , Julie M. Krupa

The Role of Organizational Justice in Predicting Attitudes Toward Body-Worn Cameras in Police Officers , Nathaniel L. Lawshe

Yet Another Ferguson Effect: An Exploratory Content Analysis of News Stories on Police Brutality and Deadly Force Before and After the Killing of Michael Brown , Carl Root

The Role of Race/Ethnicity and Risk Assessment on Juvenile Case Outcomes , Tayler N. Shreve

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

Intimate Partner Violence and the Capacity and Desire for Self-Control , Krista Taralynne Brewer

School Shootings in the United States from 1997 to 2012: A Content Analysis of Media Coverage , Victoria N. Iannuzzi

Chronic Runaway Youth: A Gender-Based Analysis , Michelle N. Jeanis

A Test of Wikström’s Situational Action Theory Using Self-Report Data on Intimate Partner Violence , Lauren Nicole Miley

An Exploratory Study of Macro-Social Correlates of Online Property Crime , Hyojong Song

Female Incarceration and Prison Social Order: An Examination of Gender Differences in Prison Misconduct and In-Prison Punishments , Elisa L. Toman

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Role as Mitigators for Youthful and Non-Youthful Offenders in Capital Sentencing Cases , Jessica R. Trapassi

Theses/Dissertations from 2016 2016

Disinhibition, Violence Exposure, and Delinquency: A Test of How Self-Control Affects the Impact of Exposure to Violence , Wyatt Brown

The Guilty But Mentally Ill Verdict: Assessing the Impact of Informing Jurors of Verdict Consequences , Erin Elizabeth Cotrone

The Relationship between Psychopathic Personality Traits and Lying , Jason A. Dobrow

Delving into the Heart of Victimization Risk: Examining the Interactive Relationship between Demographic Factors and Context , Amy Sheena Eggers

A Power Conflict Approach to Animal Cruelty: Examining How Economic Power Influences the Creation of Animal Cruelty Laws , Leonard J. Genco

The Role of Gender in Self-Control and Intimate Partner Violence , Laura Marie Gulledge

The Restrictive Deterrent Effect of Warning Banners in a Compromised Computer System , Christian Jordan-Michael Howell

Tactics of Sexual Control and Negative Health Outcomes , Anna Elizabeth Kleppe

The Applicability of Criminology to Terrorism Studies: An Exploratory Study of ISIS Supporters in the United States , Amanda Marie Sharp Parker

The Path to Violent Behavior: The Harmful Aftermath of Childhood Trauma , Nicholas Michael Perez

The Effects of Racial Bias on Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence Scenarios , Batya Yisraela Rubenstein

Theses/Dissertations from 2015 2015

Reel or Reality? The Portrayal of Prostitution in Major Motion Pictures , Raleigh Blasdell

Psychopathy and Perception of Vulnerability , Barbara Joyce Dinkins

Effect of Empathy on Death Penalty Support in Relation to the Racial Divide and Gender Gap , Brian Godcharles

Exploring the Interactive Effects of Social Learning Theory and Psychopathy on Serious Juvenile Delinquency , Brandy Barenna Henderson

Tampa Electric Company's Big Bend Utility Plant in Hillsborough County, Florida: A Case Study , Lynne M. Hodalski-Champagne

Thirty Year Follow-Up of Juvenile Homicide Offenders , Norair Khachatryan

Organized Crime in Insurance Fraud: An Empirical Analysis of Staged Automobile Accident Rings , Chris Longino

The Role of Social Support in the Disclosure and Recovery Process of Rape Victims , Jessica Nicole Mitchell

Evaluating the Social Control of Banking Crimes: An Examination of Anti-Money Laundering Deficiencies and Industry Success , Erin M. Mulligan

Elite Deviance, Organized Crime, and Homicide: A Cross-National Quantitative Analysis , Carol L.s. Trent

An Evaluation of the Utah First District Mental Health Court: Gauging the Efficacy of Diverting Offenders Suffering With Serious Mental Illness , Stephen Guy VanGeem

Rape, Race, and Capital Punishment in North Carolina: A Qualitative Approach to Examining an Enduring Cultural Legacy , Douglas Wholl

Theses/Dissertations from 2014 2014

The Tattoo: A Mark of Subversion, Deviance, or Mainstream Self-Expression? , Jocelyn Camacho

Juvenile and Adult Involvement in Double Parricide and Familicide in the U.S.: An Empirical Analysis of 20 Years of Data , Averi Rebekah Fegadel

Predicting Successful Drug Court Graduation: Exploring Demographic and Psychosocial Factors among Medication-Assisted Drug Court Treatment Clients , Autumn Michelle Frei

Experimentally Evaluating Statistical Patterns of Offending Typology For Burglary: A Replication Study , Lance Edwin Gilmore

Developmental Trajectories of Physical Aggression and Nonaggressive Rule-Breaking among At-risk Males and Females during Late Childhood and Early Adolescence , Eugena Givens

Predicting Fear of Crime using a Multilevel and Multi-Model Approach: A Study in Hillsborough County , Jonathan Maskaly

Public Knowledge and Sentiments about Elite Deviance , Cedric Michel

The Influence of Community Context on Social Control: A Multi-Level Examination of the Relationship between Race/Ethnicity, Drug Offending, and Juvenile Court Outcomes , Jennifer Peck

Theses/Dissertations from 2013 2013

Assessing the Relationship Between Hotspots of Lead and Hotspots of Crime , Kimberly L. Barrett

A Life-Course Approach to Sexual Offending: Examining the Continuity of Juvenile Sexual Offending into Adulthood and Subsequent Patterns of Recidivism , Maude Beaudry-Cyr

Examining the link between self-control and misconduct in a multi-agency sample of police supervisors: A test of two theories , Christopher Matthew Donner

The Impact of Hyperfemininity on Explicit and Implicit Blame Assignment and Police Reporting of Alcohol Facilitated Rape in a Sample of College Women , Sarah Ehlke

Rurality and Intimate Partner Homicide: Exploring the Relationship between Place, Social Structure, and Femicide in North Carolina , Amelia Kirkland

Self-Control, Attitudinal Beliefs, and White-Collar Crime Intentions , Melissa Anne Lugo

Zero Tolerance for Marginal Populations: Examining Neoliberal Social Controls in American Schools , Brian Gregory Sellers

State-Corporate Crime in the Democratic Republic of Congo , Veronica Jane Winters

Theses/Dissertations from 2012 2012

The Walls Are Closing In: Comparing Property Crime Victimization Risk In Gated And Non-Gated Communities , Nicholas Branic

What Propels Sexual Homicide Offenders? Testing an Integrated Theory of Social Learning and Routine Activities Theories , Heng Choon Chan

A Deadly Way of Doing Business: A Case Study of Corporate Crime in the Coal Mining Industry , Charles Nickolas Stickeler

Deconstructing the "Power and Control Motive": Developing and Assessing the Measurability of Internal Power , Shelly Marie Wagers

Theses/Dissertations from 2011 2011

Assessing racial differences in offending trajectories: A life-course view of the race-crime relationship , Michael S. Caudy

Mental Health Courts Effectiveness in Reducing Recidivism and Improving Clinical Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis , Brittany Cross

General Strain Theory and Juvenile Delinquency: A Cross-Cultural Study , Wen-Hsu Lin

General Strain Theory, Race, and Delinquency , Jennifer Peck

Developmental Trajectories of Self-Control: Assessing the Stability Hypothesis , James Vance Ray

Explaining the "Female Victim Effect" in Capital Sentencing Decisions: A Case for Sex-Specific Models of Capital Sentencing Research , Tara N. Richards

A Multilevel Model of Police Corruption: Anomie, Decoupling, and Moral Disengagement , Ruth Zschoche

Theses/Dissertations from 2010 2010

The Emotional Guardianship of Foreign-Born and Native-Born Hispanic Youth and Its Effect on Violent Victimization , Amy Sheena Eggers

The Influence of Narcissism and Self-Control on Reactive Aggression , Melissa L. Harrison

Is There an "Innocent Female Victim" Effect in Capital Punishment Sentencing? , Amelia Lane Kirkland

An Analysis of the Influence of Sampling Methods on Estimation of Drug Use Prevalence and Patterns Among Arrestees in the United States: Implications for Research and Policy , Janine Kremling

A Pathway to Child Sex Trafficking in Prostitution: The Impact of Strain and Risk-Inflating Responses , Joan A. Reid

Victimization Among Individuals With Low Self-Control: Effects on Fear Versus Perceived Risk of Crime , Casey Williams

Theses/Dissertations from 2009 2009

Domestic Violence Within Law Enforcement Families: The Link Between Traditional Police Subculture and Domestic Violence Among Police , Lindsey Blumenstein

Rape Attitudes and Beliefs: A Replication Study , Rhissa Emily Briones

Reel Images: Representations of Adult Male Prisons by the Film Industry , Melissa E. Fenwick

Advanced Search

  • Email Notifications and RSS
  • All Collections
  • USF Faculty Publications
  • Open Access Journals
  • Conferences and Events
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Textbooks Collection

Useful Links

  • Rights Information
  • SelectedWorks
  • Submit Research

Home | About | Help | My Account | Accessibility Statement | Language and Diversity Statements

Privacy Copyright

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • View all journals
  • My Account Login
  • Explore content
  • About the journal
  • Publish with us
  • Sign up for alerts
  • Open access
  • Published: 31 October 2017

Green criminology: shining a critical lens on environmental harm

  • Angus Nurse 1  

Palgrave Communications volume  3 , Article number:  10 ( 2017 ) Cite this article

40k Accesses

17 Citations

24 Altmetric

Metrics details

  • Criminology

Green criminology provides for inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary engagement with environmental crimes and wider environmental harms. Green criminology applies a broad ‘‘green’’ perspective to environmental harms, ecological justice, and the study of environmental laws and criminality, which includes crimes affecting the environment and non-human nature. Within the ecological justice and species justice perspectives of green criminology there is a contention that justice systems need to do more than just consider anthropocentric notions of criminal justice, they should also consider how justice systems can provide protection and redress for the environment and other species. Green criminological scholarship has, thus, paid direct attention to theoretical questions of whether and how justice systems deal with crimes against animals and the environment; it has begun to conceptualize policy perspectives that can provide contemporary ecological justice alongside mainstream criminal justice. Moving beyond mainstream criminology’s focus on individual offenders, green criminology also explores state failure in environmental protection and corporate offending and environmentally harmful business practices. A central discussion within green criminology is that of whether environmental harm rather than environmental crime should be its focus, and whether green ‘‘crimes’’ should be seen as the focus of mainstream criminal justice and dealt with by core criminal justice agencies such as the police, or whether they should be considered as being beyond the mainstream. This article provides an introductory overview that complements a multi- and inter-disciplinary article collection dedicated to green criminological thinking and research.


Green Criminology as a field operates as a tool for studying, analyzing, and dealing with environmental crimes and wider environmental harms that are often ignored by mainstream criminology. It provides for an inter-disciplinary, and multi-disciplinary, engagement and approach, which redefines criminology as not just being concerned with crime or social harm falling within the remit of criminal justice systems. Green crime is a fast-moving and somewhat contested area in which academics, policymakers and practitioners frequently disagree not only on how green crimes should be defined but also on: the nature of the criminality involved; potential solutions to problems of green crime; and the content and priorities of policy (Nurse, 2016 ). Within ecological justice discourse, for example, there may be agreement that harms to the environment and non-human animals must be addressed (Benton, 1998 ). But debates continue over whether green crimes are best addressed through criminal justice systems or via civil or administrative mechanisms. Indeed, a central discussion within green criminology is that of whether environmental harm rather than environmental crime should be its focus, with the environmental harm perspective currently dominating green criminological discourse. In essence, there is ongoing fundamental debate over whether green crimes should be seen as the focus of mainstream criminal justice and dealt with by core criminal justice agencies such as the police, or whether they should be considered as being beyond the mainstream. This article provides an introductory overview to a multi- and inter-disciplinary thematic collection dedicated to green criminological thinking and research.

Green criminology: a call to arms

Green criminology is not easily categorized given that it draws together a number of different perspectives as well as theoretical and ideological conceptions. Thus, rather than there being one distinct green criminology, it is rather an umbrella term for a criminology concerned with the general neglect of ecological issues within criminology (Lynch and Stretesky, 2014 :1) as well as the incorporation of green perspectives within mainstream criminology. Indeed as Lynch and Stretesky succinctly state:

‘‘As criminologists we are not simply concerned that our discipline continues to neglect green issues, we are disturbed by the fact that, as a discipline, criminology is unable to perceive the wisdom of taking green harms more seriously, and the need to reorient itself in ways that make it part of the solution to the large global environmental problems we now face as the species that produces those problems’’ (2014: 2).

For mainstream criminology, restrictive notions of police and policing by state institutions and of crime as being solely that determined as such by the criminal law dominate. Yet Lynch and Stretesky ( 2014 ) highlight that environmental harms constitute a major threat to human survival and that green crimes such as pollution constitute a substantial threat to human life yet are often ignored by mainstream justice systems. Accordingly, green criminology, extends beyond the focus on street and interpersonal crimes to encompass consideration of ‘‘the destructive effects of human activities on local and global ecosystems’’ (South and Beirne, 1998 : 147). In doing so green criminology considers not just questions of crime as defined by a strict legalist/criminal law conception (Situ and Emmons, 2000 ), but also examines questions concerning rights, justice, morals, victimization, criminality, and the use of administrative, civil and regulatory justice systems. Green criminology also examines the actions of non-state criminal justice actors such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations and the role of the state as a major contributor to environmental harm.

Given green criminology’s nature as a broad field encompassing discourse on a range of issues relating to environmental harm, this thematic article collection offers discussion of a range of issues that help to advance green criminological discussion.

State-crime is a concern of green criminology, particularly in respect of state responsibility for protecting the environment and natural resources, and the associated harm when states fail to comply with their obligations. Weston and Bollier identify that according to, Locke’s notion of res nullius , environmental and wildlife resources ‘‘belong to no one and are, therefore, free for the taking’’ (2013: 127). However, the public trust doctrine argues that environmental resources such as water and fisheries are held in trust for the public and so there is a responsibility to use such resources widely in the public interest (Blumm and Wood, 2013 ). As noted by Lynch, Stretesky and Long ( 2017 ), water pollution provides an example of both green victimization and of how green crimes can appear in societies on an everyday level. Scholars such as Johnson et al. ( 2016 ) and Lynch and Stretesky ( 2013 ) have examined how states and corporations have commodified water sources as something that can be owned or leased and subsequently can be exploited. Johnson et al. ( 2016 ) identify how in some jurisdictions, the privatization of water has enabled corporations and corrupt states to exploit a fundamental human right. At a basic level, examining the extent and control of water pollution by legal state water treatment facilities illuminates the extent to which state failings in use of water resources can constitute a state-crime. Publicly Owned Water Treatment Facilities (or POWTs) are usually owned by the state/government and represent a mechanism through which water is used as a public good. To quote, for example, from the California Constitution Article X Section 2:

‘‘It is hereby declared that because of the conditions prevailing in this State the general welfare requires that the water resources of the State be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable, and that the waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented, and that the conservation of such waters is to be exercised with a view to the reasonable and beneficial use thereof in the interest of the people and for the public welfare.[…].’’

Similar provisions will be found elsewhere codifying the principle of efficient use of water resources. Thus, failure to effectively manage state water resources and to eliminate or control pollution that impacts negatively on water resources likely raises regulatory concerns. Waste treatment is often a regulated industry and regulations designed to control the emissions of water pollution into waterways (through such measures as the US Clean Water Act) combine with public trust concerns to ensure that natural resources are effectively used. Yet as the discussion in this collection illustrates, POWts release significant quantities of pollutants into waterways, contributing to environmental harm. Green criminologists interested in these areas may well note that water offenses will not always fall within the remit of the criminal law and may not be dealt with by mainstream policing agencies. Instead they may fall within the jurisdiction of environmental regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency who may choose from a menu of criminal, civil, or administrative sanctions when taking enforcement action. As the POWTs are legal actors operating a legitimate business, enforcement action may be regulatory or administrative, consisting of fines or other administrative action designed to correct the problem and allow the operator to continue their business rather than imposing incapacitating punishment. Such action illustrates a concern of many green criminologists in how neoliberal markets, capitalist systems, and the activities of otherwise legal corporate actors can cause significant environmental harm that arguably constitutes a crime against the environment. The relatively low level of prosecutions for pollution activity arguably illustrates this issue. This issue is explored by Ozymy and Jarrell ( 2017 ) who highlight the diffuse structure of the environmental regulatory regime in the United States and lack of governmental databases, which makes empirical assessment of environmental crimes and enforcement efforts particularly difficult.

Wildlife crime is also a core concern of green criminology (van Uhm, 2016 ; Nurse, 2015 , Wyatt, 2013 , Sollund, 2011 ; South and Wyatt, 2011 ). Much green criminological discourse is concerned with wildlife trafficking and the illegal trade in wildlife, particularly trafficking in endangered species (Schneider, 2008 ). However, the illegal killing of wildlife particularly within farming and ranching areas, has recently caught the attention of green criminological scholars. Killing of large predators such as wolves and lynx has been characterized as a form of resistance by some scholars (von Essen et al., 2016 ; von Essen and Allen, 2015 ) and illustrates the conflict between conservation and animal protection ideologies and the needs of rural communities. While most states have animal protection laws intended to protect wildlife from unnecessary human predation, hunting remains a legal and regulated activity. Thus, illegal killing of wildlife within hunting communities should in principle attract the attention of law enforcement agencies. Yet, such killings sometimes take place with the approval of the community and arguably constitute a form of organized crime. How the state deals with such illegal killings and its attitudes toward hunting communities who do so is of interest to determining how states implement species justice concerns (see Sollund, 2017 ). Sollund ( 2016 ) has previously illustrated how defining animals as ‘‘other’’ and their legal conception as property can help distance animal killing from other forms of violent crime. The case under discussion in this thematic collection illustrates how notions of folk crime and resistance can be employed to minimize the seriousness of illegal killing of endangered species. Yet at the same time, police and judicial responses to wildlife killing can view this as serious crime commensurate with global notions of wildlife crime as serious activity.

Green Criminology also examines mechanisms for disrupting and preventing environmental crime and reducing harms to non-human animals and the environment (Wellsmith, 2010 , 2011 ; Nurse, 2015 ). Traditional reactive policing models of detection, apprehension and punishment (Bright, 1993 ) risk being inadequate in the case of environmental harm where irreparable environmental damage or loss of animal life may have already been caused. Likewise, traditional justice systems are also often inadequate to redress the impact of environmental harm. Hall ( 2017 ) makes a case for the wider utilization of restorative justice and mediation-based approaches as a means of providing alternative or parallel justice mechanisms for both human and non-human victims of environmental crimes and broader environmental harms. Such consideration of alternatives is integral to green criminology’s critical approach, which also seeks to promote preventive or disruptive enforcement activity aimed at preventing environmental harm before it occurs. Collaborative and multi-agency approaches offer scope to disrupt environmentally harmful activity as the waste industry case study in this thematic collection illustrates. As a form of critical criminological discourse, green criminology arguably shines a light on the failure of mainstream and traditional justice approaches to deal with such complex crime and in their discussion of multi-agency collaboration in this collection, White and Barrett ( 2017 ) argue for innovative means to combat the multi-dimensional nature of environmental crimes.

The issues discussed within this thematic article collection help position green criminology as a discipline that considers not just questions of crime as defined by a strict legalist/criminal law conception (Situ and Emmons, 2000 ), but also questions concerning rights, justice, morals, victimization, criminality, and the use of administrative, civil and regulatory justice systems. The papers included all follow a critical path, expressing a claim of an alternative criminology consistent with South’s claim that addressing environmental harms and injustice requires ‘‘a new academic way of looking at the world but also a new global politics’’ (2010: 242).

Benton T (1998) Rights and justice on a shared planet: more rights or new relations? Theor Criminol 2(2):149–175

Article   Google Scholar  

Blumm MC, Wood MC (2013) The public trust doctrine in environmental and natural resources law. Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC

Google Scholar  

Bright J (1993) ‘Crime Prevention: the British Experience’. In: Stenson K, Cowell D (eds) The politics of crime control. Sage, London, p 62–86

Hall M (2017) Exploring the cultural dimensions of environmental victimization https://doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2017.76

Johnson H, South N and Walters R (2016) The commodification and exploitation of fresh water: Property, human rights and green criminology. Int J Law Crime Justice 44:146–162

Lynch MJ, Stretesky PB (2013) The distribution of water-monitoring organizations across states: Implications for community policing. Policing 36(1):6–26

Lynch MJ, Stretesky PB (2014) Exploring green criminology: Toward a green criminological revolution. Ashgate, Farnham

Lynch MJ, Stretesky PB, Long MA (2017) State and green crimes related to water pollution and ecological disorganization: water pollution from publicly owned treatment works (POTW) facilities across US states. Palgrave Communications. https://doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2017.70

Nurse A (2015) Policing wildlife: Perspectives on the enforcement of wildlife legislation. Palgrave Macmillan, London

Book   Google Scholar  

Nurse A (2016) An introduction to green criminology and environmental justice. Sage, London

Ozymy J, Jarrell M (2017) Red state, blue state, green state: nalysing the geography of federal environmental crime prosecutions within and across the U.S. states. Palgrave Communications. https://doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2017.63

Schneider JL (2008) Reducing the illicit trade in endangered wildlife: the market reduction approach. Int J Law Crime Justice 24(3):274–295

Situ Y, Emmons D (2000) Environmental crime: The criminal justice system’s role in protecting the environment. Sage, Thousand Oaks

Sollund R (2011) Expressions of speciesism: Animal trafficking and species decline. Crime Law Soc Chang 55(5):437–451

Sollund R (2016) The animal other. Legal and illegal theriocide. In: Hall M, Wyatt T, South N, Nurse A, Potter G, Maher J (eds) Greening criminology in the 21st century. Routledge, Abingdon, p 79–99

Sollund R (2017) Perceptions and law enforcement of illegal and legal wolf killing in Norway: organized crime or folk crime? Palgrave Communications https://doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2017.59

South N (2010) The ecocidal tendencies of Late Modernity: Transnational crime, social exclusions, victims and rights. In White R (ed) Global environmental harm: Criminological perspective. Willan, Devon, p 228–247

South N, Beirne P (1998) Editors’ Introduction. Theor Criminol 2(2):147–148

South N, Wyatt T (2011) Comparing illicit trades in wildlife and drugs: An exploratory study. Deviant Behav 32(6):538–561

van Uhm D (2016) The illegal wildlife trade: Inside the world of poachers, smugglers and traders. Springer, Rotterdam

von Essen E, Allen MP (2015) Reconsidering Illegal hunting as a crime of dissent: Implications for justice and deliberative uptake. Crim Law Philos 11(2):213–228

von Essen E, Hansen HP, Nordström H, Källström M, Peterson N and Peterson TR (2016) Illegal hunting between social and criminal justice. In Donnermeyer J (ed) Routledge International Handbook of Rural Criminology, Routledge, London and New York, p 319–329

Wellsmith M (2010) The applicability of crime prevention to problems of environmental harm: A consideration of illicit trade in endangered species. In: White R (ed) Global environmental harm: Criminological perspectives. Willan Publishing, Cullompton, p 132–149. 2009

Wellsmith M (2011) Wildlife crime: The problems of enforcement. Eur J Crim Policy Res 17:125–148. 2

Weston B, Bollier D (2013) Green governance: Ecological survival, human rights and the law of the commons. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY

White R and Barrett S (2017) Disrupting Environmental Crime at the Local Level: An Operational Perspective. Palgrave Commun. (In press)

Wyatt T (2013) Wildlife trafficking: a deconstruction of the crime, the victims and the offenders. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Criminology and Sociology, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London, NW4 4BT, UK

Angus Nurse

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Angus Nurse .

Ethics declarations

Competing interests.

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ .

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Nurse, A. Green criminology: shining a critical lens on environmental harm. Palgrave Commun 3 , 10 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-017-0007-2

Download citation

Received : 23 August 2017

Accepted : 11 September 2017

Published : 31 October 2017

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-017-0007-2

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

This article is cited by

The illegal trade in rosewood in indonesia.

  • Vincent Nijman

European Journal of Forest Research (2024)

Green crime in West Africa: uncovering the threats to human security and ecosystem integrity in Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, and Senegal

  • Ebimboere Seiyefa
  • Felix Idongesit Oyosoro

GeoJournal (2024)

A Systems-Based Approach to Green Criminology

  • Wesley Tourangeau

Critical Criminology (2022)

Latino Criminology: Unfucking Colonial Frameworks in “Latinos and Crime” Scholarship

  • Kenneth Sebastián León

Critical Criminology (2021)

Water Crimes and Governance: The Slovenian Perspective

  • Gorazd Meško

International Criminology (2021)

Quick links

  • Explore articles by subject
  • Guide to authors
  • Editorial policies

research essay on criminology

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

Logo of ijerph

The Link between Individual Personality Traits and Criminality: A Systematic Review

N. k. tharshini.

1 Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan 94300, Sarawak, Malaysia

Fauziah Ibrahim

2 Centre for Research in Psychology and Human Well-Being, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi 43600, Selangor, Malaysia; ym.ude.mku@haizuafi (F.I.); ym.ude.mku@kmihar (M.R.K.)

Mohammad Rahim Kamaluddin

Balan rathakrishnan.

3 Faculty of Psychology and Education, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu 88400, Sabah, Malaysia; ym.ude.smu@nalahbr

Norruzeyati Che Mohd Nasir

4 School of Applied Psychology, Social Work and Policy, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok 06010, Kedah, Malaysia; ym.ude.muu@itayez

In addition to social and environmental factors, individual personality traits have intricately linked with maladaptive behaviour. Thus, the purpose of this article was to review the link between individual personality traits and criminality. A systematic review was conducted to obtain information regarding the link between individual personality traits with criminal behaviour in the Sage, Web of Science, APA PsycNet, Wiley Online Library, and PubMed databases. The results indicate that individual personality traits that contribute towards criminality are (i) psychopathy; (ii) low self-control; and (iii) difficult temperament. As an overall impact, the review is expected to provide in-depth understanding of the link between individual personality traits and criminality; hence, greater consideration will be given to the dimension of personality as a notable risk factor of criminal behaviour.

1. Introduction

Criminology has become an interdisciplinary field where the focal point of each study has diversely evolved from individual-level to environmental-level risk factors associated with criminal behaviour. As such, individual personality traits constitute one dimension of the bigger picture which has received significant empirical attention in recent decades, especially research linking personality traits to various measures of crime. According to Beaver (2017) [ 1 ], personality refers to the stability of individuals in regard to patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. In general, personality traits can be categorised into four general combinations, namely (i) high control–high affiliation; (ii) low control–low affiliation; (iii) high control–low affiliation; and (iv) low control–high affiliation [ 1 ]. Some empirical research has suggested that high interpersonal control and low interpersonal affiliation are strongly interrelated with antisocial behaviour [ 1 ].

The Big Five Model of Personality suggested that five domains largely account for individual differences in personality including (i) extraversion; (ii) openness; (iii) neuroticism; (iv) agreeableness; and (v) conscientiousness [ 2 ]. Sleep (2021) [ 2 ] stated that low conscientiousness, low agreeableness, and high neuroticism increase aggression, mental distress, and antisocial behaviour among individuals. Similarly, the personality theory constructed by Eysenck (1966) (trait-psychologist) proposes a significant relationship between criminal behaviour and personality variables [ 3 ]. Based on the Eysenck personality theory, there are three fundamental factors of personality including psychoticism (P), extraversion (E), and neuroticism (N) [ 3 ]. Empirical investigations discover that delinquents score high on the P scale compared to the E and N scales [ 3 ]. More specifically, the P scale predicts those involved in violence and sexual crimes, whereas the N scale predicts serious crime and recidivism [ 3 ]. Furthermore, a great deal of research has also found that psychoticism is always connected to crime, whereas extraversion is related to younger samples (young offenders/delinquent), and neuroticism is related to older samples (adult offenders) [ 3 ].

A meta-analysis related to personality and antisocial behaviour has concluded that individuals who commit crime tend to be self-centred, hostile, adhere to unconventional values/beliefs, and have difficulty controlling their impulses [ 4 ]. In addition, compared to non-offenders, individuals who commit crimes are less sociable, more aggressive, sensation seekers, and tend to score higher for the neuroticism and psychoticism dimensions [ 5 ]. Additionally, Jones et al., (2016) [ 5 ], and Cunha et al., (2018) [ 6 ], found that individual personality traits represent a predictor of criminal behaviour regardless of gender, race, age, or geographical location. Acknowledging the role of individual personality traits in relation to criminal behaviour, the current study seeks to develop an improved understanding of personality traits to impart significant information to the existing literature in the field of crime studies.

2. Materials and Methods

This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Keywords such as “personality”; “personality traits”; “individual personality”, “maladaptive behaviour”; “crime”, and “antisocial behaviour” were typed into the Sage, Web of Science, APA PsycNet, Wiley Online Library, and PubMed databases to find the relevant information.

2.1. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Studies that were included in this review are (i) full-text articles; (ii) articles published in Sage, Web of Science, APA PsycNet, Wiley Online Library, and PubMed; (iii) research with at least 20 respondents (to reduce the bias associated with a small sample size; (iv) studies that examine the link between personality traits and criminal behaviour; and (v) articles that were published from January 2016 to June 2021. Conversely, the exclusion criteria in this review were (i) duplicate publication; (ii) articles published before January 2016, (iii) studies with less than 20 respondents (due to small sample size); (iv) non-full-text articles; and (v) articles that do not reflect the link between personality traits and criminality.

2.2. Screening and Selection Process

For this review, a total of 22,608 sources were found in five well-established databases. A total number of 8007 articles were identified after duplicates were removed. After including other exclusion criteria such as non-full-text articles, year of publication and sample of studies, 127 articles were assessed for eligibility. Furthering this, 94 articles were removed at the eligibility stage since the content of the article did not clearly reflect the link between personality traits and criminality. In the end, 33 full-text articles were reviewed in this study. Figure 1 depicts the flowchart of the systematic review process, whereas Table 1 delineates the summary of articles that were reviewed in this study.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is ijerph-18-08663-g001.jpg

Flowchart of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA).

Summary of articles.

3. Results and Discussion

Based on the systematic review, the finding of the study stipulates that there are three major personality traits which contribute towards criminal behaviour, namely (i) psychopathy; (ii) low self-control; and (iii) difficult temperament.

3.1. Psychopathy

The term “psychopathy” is commonly used in the global literature on both empirical and theoretical grounds. Psychopathy is a clinical construct associated with emotional and behavioural disturbance, which are considered important risk factors for criminal and antisocial behaviour, criminal recidivism, sexual recidivism, and instrumental violence [ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ]. Most of the research concerning the measurement of psychopathy has employed Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist (now the Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist—Revised) as the main psychological assessment tool to identify the presence of psychopathic traits in an individual [ 8 ]. An individual who scores high for the psychopathy measure (usually > 30 on the PCL-R) is more likely to be short-tempered, irresponsible, egocentric, callous, display superficial charm, frequently violates social norms/values, and be unable to empathise [ 4 , 6 , 7 , 11 ]. Similarly, Boccio and Beaver (2016) [ 11 ] identified that an individual with psychopathic personality traits have a lower level of self-regulation, are manipulative, impulsive, and unable to feel remorse/guilt.

Based on the Big Five Model of Personality, scholars have stated that the psychopathy dimension is a mixture of high extraversion, low conscientiousness and agreeableness, and a combination of low and high neuroticism (depression, low anxiety, self-consciousness, vulnerability to stress, high impulsiveness, and hostility). For example, psychopathic criminals tend to commit a wider variety of crimes and are likely to recidivate faster compared to non-psychopathic criminals. In addition, the dominant conceptualization suggests that psychopathy is an inborn condition with a strong genetic component that is further escalated by environmental factors such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), traumatic childhood experiences, child maltreatment or parental inadequacy [ 12 , 13 ]. According to Cunha et al., (2018) [ 6 ], psychopathy is conventionally conceptualised as a syndrome that remains throughout life and influences different aspects of individual functioning, including their interpersonal, emotional, and behavioural traits. In addition, studies have revealed that psychopathy is more often diagnosed among men (31%) compared to women [ 4 ]. Similarly, an incarcerated individual with higher PCL-R scores is more prone to commit violent criminal offenses upon being released from prison [ 3 ]. Cunha et al. (2018) [ 6 ] also stated that individuals with psychopathic personality traits are unable to form strong emotional bonds with others and struggle to control their temper.

A burgeoning line of research has consistently revealed that the prevalence of psychopathic traits is higher among prisoners compared to general populations [ 6 , 7 ]. Theorist and researchers have more recently contended that approximately 1% of the general population exhibit psychopathic tendency, whereas approximately 15–25% of the prison population display these characteristics [ 14 ]. As such, individuals with psychopathic traits begin their criminal activities at a young age and continue to engage in antisocial behaviour throughout their lives [ 15 ]. In addition, myriad research outputs from the psychiatry, criminology, neuroscience, and psychology fields of study have shown that psychopathic personality traits are associated with serious juvenile offenders and adult criminals since these individuals are unable to process cues of punishment and rewards [ 5 , 6 , 8 , 16 , 17 ]. Moreover, recent neurocognitive findings unveiled that abnormalities in the amygdala (connected regions of the orbitofrontal cortex) may result in impaired decision making and social functioning, resulting in higher possibilities of engagement in antisocial behaviour [ 16 ].

Accumulating evidence stipulates that there are significant differences between types of crime which are commonly committed by a psychopathic female and male [ 18 ]. Generally, psychopathic females tend to be less aggressive and rarely repeat their criminal acts compared to males [ 18 ]. In addition, in some cases, psychopathic females have a significant level of impulsivity, a trait often associated with borderline personality disorder [ 18 , 19 ]. Furthermore, research related to psychopathic and sexual coercion shows that compared to non-psychopathic individuals, psychopaths are more likely to become sexual offenders (subgroup of rapists) [ 14 ]. Similarly, DeLisi et al. (2018) [ 16 ] notes that a psychopathic individual also displays severe alcohol and drug use (includes trying a greater variety of drugs and starting to use drugs at earlier age) compared to non-psychopathic populations.

3.2. Low Self-Control

Research examining the underpinnings of crime suggests that low self-control has been consistently linked with involvement in criminal activities [ 20 ]. Empirical evidence indicates that low self-control is associated with involvement in delinquency, violence, and antisocial behaviour [ 21 ]. According to Boccio et al. (2016) [ 11 ] individuals with low self-control are more impulsive, self-centred, prone to risky behaviour, irresponsible, and display volatile temperament. In addition, Brown (2016) [ 2 ] stated that individuals with low self-control exhibit six common characteristics. Firstly, those with low self-control tend to be less meticulous, prefer simple tasks that would require little commitment, are short-sighted, and exhibit a lack of self-determination. Secondly, these individuals are easily drawn to the more daring and exciting behaviour/activities. Thirdly, those with lower self-control are impulsive and tend to seek instant gratification, inclined to seize opportunities without considering the dangers/consequences of such behaviours. Fourthly, individuals with low self-control prefer simple activities over concentration-oriented activities such as a long conversation. Fifthly, those with low self-control tend to be less concerned about other individuals’ feelings and have a low tolerance for frustration and conflicts.

Findings from a broad array of studies have revealed that low self-control is a quintessential predictor of various maladaptive behaviours such as involvement in substance abuse, theft, property offending, and robbery among diverse samples of participants including parolees, jail inmates, and institutionalised delinquents [ 2 , 21 ]. According to Forrest et al., (2019) [ 21 ], low self-control increases the probability of an individual engaging in criminal activities when presented with suitable opportunities (mainly because they are unable to ignore or anticipate the potential long-term consequences of their actions). Furthermore, a plethora of studies has agreed that individuals with poor self-control are more likely to engage in a wider range of criminal behaviour such as computer-related crimes, associating with gangs, and participating in antisocial behaviour [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 ].

Based on the social control theory, Gottfredson and Hirschi argue that females exhibit lower offending frequencies since they are more subjected to stricter enforcement and parental supervision compared to males [ 21 ]. The “parented more” variation that exists as a product of parental influence causes females to have a greater ability to self-regulate their behaviour whereas the less effective parenting of male children results in lower levels of self-control, consequently leading to involvement in criminal activities among males [ 21 ]. Similarly, Forrest et al. (2019) [ 21 ] and Mata et al. (2018) [ 22 ] found that gender and type of household (more patriarchal vs. less patriarchal) also influence an individual’s level of self-control. For instance, Mata et al. (2018) [ 22 ] note that females growing up in a patriarchal household along with a high level of parental control are less likely to have criminal aspirations.

A handful of studies have clarified that individuals with low self-control are less concerned with the long-term consequences of their behaviour and are more likely to engage in activities that provide them with immediate gratification, such as shoplifting and fraud-related behaviours [ 17 , 20 , 24 , 25 ]. In addition to the negative implications, many studies have indicated that low self-control and a high level of impulsivity is strongly related to socially undesirable behaviour such as smoking and risky drinking [ 25 ]. Furthermore, DeLisi et al. (2018) [ 16 ] found that low self-control and low moral values escalate intentions to steal and/or fight among individuals who regularly smoke marijuana, occasionally crack cocaine, and drink nearly every day.

3.3. Difficult Temperament

Human development is a complex phenomenon involving the joint influence of socioecological conditions and individual dispositional characteristics. As such, one’s temperament is defined as an individual characteristic which comprises a habitual mode of emotional response to stimulus [ 17 , 26 ]. Foulds et al. (2017) [ 26 ] stated that the temperament has been traditionally viewed as an emotional and behavioural characteristic of feelings and presumed to be more biologically rooted by maturation and heredity. Prior research has found that children who throw tantrums will usually react negatively towards people around them, have a low level of bonding with their parents (poor parent–children interaction), and develop various forms of psychopathological problems including antisocial behaviour [ 29 ]. According to DeLisi et al., (2018) [ 16 ], one’s temperament reflects the baseline differences in the central nervous systems that particularly involve components such as (i) emotionality and mood; (ii) variance in activity level; (iii) withdrawal behaviours; and (iv) self-regulation. In addition, empirical evidence shows that individuals with difficult temperaments experience mood disorders, anxiety disorders, major depression disorders, disruptive behaviour disorders, and drug abuse [ 17 ]. Furthermore, Foulds et al. (2017) [ 26 ] stated that temperamental deficits also contribute to crime/violence occurrence among adolescents.

Based on the theoretical framework, temperament was divided into nine major dimensions, namely adaptability to the environment; physical activity; approach/withdrawal in response to novelty; regularity of the child’s behaviour (rhythmicity); task persistence; quality of mood in terms of positive/negative feelings; threshold of responsiveness to stimulation; distractibility; and intensity of the reaction [ 30 ]. According to Dos Santos et al. (2020) [ 29 ], individuals with a low regularity of behaviour (rhythmicity) are more aggressive and delinquent compared to individuals with highly regular behaviour. Furthermore, the result of a study conducted by Nigg (2017) [ 28 ] disclosed that girls who scored higher for “adaptability to the environment”; “quality of mood in terms of positive/negative feelings (negative emotional reactivity and low positive affectivity)”; and “approach/withdrawal in response to novelty” (based on the temperament framework) are highly at-risk of engaging in antisocial behaviour.

Substantial evidence has emerged of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) (including various forms of neglect and abuse) and temperament factors being significantly associated with conduct problems (relating to poor emotional self-regulation) [ 17 , 27 , 29 , 32 ]. The neurobiological model suggests that an early childhood adverse environment and stress regulating systems (autonomic nervous system and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis) increase susceptibility to severe antisocial behaviour, such as being associated with gang membership, gang delinquency, and gang activities [ 27 , 29 , 31 ]. Moreover, existing evidence has disclosed that difficult temperament, peer rejection, disciplinary problems, and antisocial peer selection upon school entry also contribute to gang membership among youths [ 32 ].

Researchers have argued that the home environment, socioeconomic status, and parenting style have a profound impact on child temperament [ 17 , 28 , 29 , 32 ]. For instance, Nigg (2017) [ 28 ] found that negative parenting practices (inconsistent discipline practice, harsh behaviour, and permissive parenting practice) contribute to behavioural disorders among children. Moreover, some researchers have also begun to acknowledge that parenting roles significantly influence children’s temperament [ 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 ]. Dos Santos et al. (2020) [ 31 ] stated that inconsistent discipline practice by parents and harsh behaviour may accelerate nonaggressive antisocial behaviour (e.g., stealing or frequent truancy) among school-aged adolescents [ 31 ]. Furthermore, Dos Santos et al. (2020) [ 29 ] also found that a child who constantly receives negative parental feedback for bold behaviour may experience low self-esteem and start to display uncooperative behaviour and incohesive functioning while growing up. In the same line of thought, a great deal of research has revealed that youth with difficult temperaments who grow up in socioeconomically disadvantaged households (marked by poverty, unemployment) and have been exposed to a toxic neighbourhood environment (easy access to criminal gangs, easy access to drugs or firearms) are greatly at-risk of engaging in delinquent behaviour and future criminality across urban and rural contexts [ 17 , 33 , 35 ].

4. Limitations and Direction for Future Research

This systematic review has several limitations. Firstly, information gathered regarding the link between individual personality traits and criminal behaviour was only obtained from the Sage, Web of Science, APA PsycNet, Wiley Online Library, and PubMed databases, and published from January 2016 to June 2021. Thus, there is a possibility that some research published by well-known leading scholars might have been excluded from this review process. Secondly, studies included in this review were limited to articles published in peer-reviewed journals alone without including other resources such as newspapers, letters to editors, or prison reports, thereby limiting the generalizability of the findings.

Despite the outlined limitations, future research should concentrate on other singular features of individual personality traits such as narcissism, impulsivity, attitude favouring aggression, and Machiavellianism which contribute to criminal behaviour in order to develop diversified treatment protocols based on personality traits. Additionally, future studies should also include mediator factors to allow the in-depth understanding of the process underlying the link between individual personality traits and criminal behaviour.

5. Conclusions

In sum, this review adds to the growing literature in the field of crime-related studies and improves our understanding regarding how personality traits escalate the risk of engaging in criminal activities. Substantial empirical research performed by Gatner et al., (2016) [ 7 ] and Nigel et al. (2018) [ 8 ] suggested that psychopathy is a robust predictor of criminal behaviour, mainly focusing on instrumental violence. Furthermore, many scholars agree that instrumental violence among psychopathic offenders is significantly determined by the affective traits of psychopathy. Additionally, the inputs obtained through systematic review show that the domain of low self-control predicts a varied range of criminal behaviour. Based on Gottfredson and Hirschi’s social control theory, low self-control contributes to the adoption of deviant values and leads to an individual engaging in various types of antisocial behaviour. Furthermore, a difficult temperament has also been suggested to be one of the key predictors of criminal behaviour, mainly due to the influence of socioecological conditions and individual dispositional characteristics such as sensation seeking, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and sociosexual orientation.

Although the aim of this study was rather academic, the conclusion reached from this finding clearly identifies some significant risk factors for engaging in criminal behaviour. Admittedly, not all individuals with at-risk personality traits are at high risk of becoming delinquents/adult offenders. Therefore, it is essential that the stakeholders and practitioners who work within the criminal justice system to diversify their methods of assessment to identify individuals who fall under the “early onset group”. Furthermore, a proper treatment regimen that matches the result of the rigorous assessment is equally important to promote preventative measures to reduce crime rates in the future.

Through this review, it is transparent that major personality traits such as psychopathy, low self-control, and a difficult temperament can be measured using various scales/inventory or secondary data. Thus, it is suggested that the interventions that aim to reduce the risk of criminality should begin during the early childhood stage since some of the existing evidence agrees that youths usually start engaging in criminal activities after reaching the age of 15 years old [ 34 , 35 , 36 ]. Moreover, the identification of personality traits regardless of gender is also crucial to initiate appropriate preventative strategies for vulnerable groups such as children, at-risk youths, and adolescents.

Author Contributions

Introduction, N.K.T. and F.I.; material and methods, M.R.K. and B.R.; psychopathic, N.K.T., F.I. and N.C.M.N.; low self-esteem, N.K.T., F.I.; difficult temperament, M.R.K. and B.R.; limitation, N.C.M.N.; conclusion, N.C.M.N.; writing—original draft preparation, N.K.T.; review and editing, F.I. and B.R., N.C.M.N.; funding acquisition, F.I. and M.R.K. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

The publication fee of this article was funded by the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

research essay on criminology

Criminal Justice Research Topics: 150 Ideas for Your Legal Essay

research essay on criminology

The field of criminal justice offers a wide array of intriguing topics for legal essays, providing opportunities to delve into the complexities of law enforcement, court systems, and corrections. From exploring the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs to discussing the ethical implications of new surveillance technologies, there's no shortage of thought-provoking issues to examine. In this article, we've compiled 150 research topics to inspire and guide your exploration of these fascinating areas within criminal justice. Our expert essay writers are ready to help if you are pressed for time.

What Is Criminal Justice Research Paper

A criminal justice research paper is an academic document that explores various aspects of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, courts, corrections, and related societal issues. These papers typically involve thorough investigation, analysis, and interpretation of relevant data, literature, and legal precedents to address specific research questions or topics within the field. 

Criminal justice research topics may examine the effectiveness of policies or programs, analyze trends in crime rates, explore the impacts of legal decisions, or propose solutions to address pressing issues within the criminal justice system. Additionally, they often contribute to broader discussions surrounding crime prevention, rehabilitation, social justice, and the protection of individual rights. Since you’ll need to rely on external sources to write a paper, consult our guide on citation format for research paper . 

Why Students Write a Criminal Justice Research Paper

Students write criminal justice research papers for several reasons, each aimed at enhancing their understanding of the field and developing critical thinking and analytical skills. Firstly, these assignments serve as a means for students to delve deeper into specific criminal justice research topic ideas within the criminal justice system, allowing them to explore areas of interest or concern in greater detail. Through research, students can understand the complexities surrounding law enforcement, judicial processes, corrections, and societal responses to crime. This exploration fosters a deeper appreciation for the nuances and challenges inherent in the criminal justice field, preparing students for future careers in law enforcement, legal practice, policymaking, or academia.

Moreover, criminal justice research papers allow students to hone their research and writing abilities, essential perks for success in both academic and professional settings. Conducting research requires students to gather and critically evaluate relevant literature, data, and legal precedents, enabling them to develop well-informed arguments and conclusions. 

Through writing, students refine their ability to communicate complex ideas effectively, organize their thoughts coherently, and adhere to academic writing conventions. Furthermore, crafting research papers encourages students to engage in thoughtful analysis, synthesis, and interpretation of information, fostering their ability to think critically and creatively about issues within the criminal justice system and beyond. Do you have ideas on how to start a research paper ? If not, feel free to consult our guide.

Want to Advance Your Criminal Justice Assignment?

For unique custom-written papers, take a look at our special features.

How to Choose a Good Research Topic Rules

Good criminal justice research topics are the driving force behind the success of your project, as they will guide your exploration and shape the direction of your study. To select an effective research topic, consider the following steps:

How to Choose a Good Research Topic Rules

  • Identify your interests

Start by reflecting on your interests and passions within criminal justice. Consider topics that intrigue you or issues you feel strongly about. Research is often more engaging and fruitful when genuinely interested in the subject.

  • Review existing literature

Conduct a preliminary review of academic literature, textbooks, journals, and reputable websites to identify current trends, debates, and gaps in knowledge within the field of criminal justice. Look for areas where ongoing discussion or emerging research piques your interest.

  • Consider relevance and significance

Choose a topic relevant to contemporary issues or debates within the criminal justice system. Consider how your research can address real-world problems, inform policy decisions, or advance theoretical understanding in the field.

  • Narrow down your focus

Once you've identified a broad area of interest, narrow your focus to a specific research question or problem. A well-defined research question will help you maintain clarity and focus throughout your study, ensuring that your research remains manageable and achievable.

  • Evaluate feasibility

Assess the feasibility of your research topic by considering factors such as access to data, resources, and expertise. Ensure that your chosen topic is feasible within the constraints of your time, budget, and available resources.

  • Seek feedback

Discuss your research topic with professors, advisors, peers, or professionals in criminal justice. Their feedback can help you refine your ideas, identify potential challenges, and ensure that your topic is well-suited to your academic goals and interests. If the feedback from your peers and teachers leaves much to be desired, use our coursework writing service to deliver a first-class paper that checks all the quality boxes.

  • Stay flexible

Remain open to revising and refining your research topic as you delve deeper into your study. Be prepared to adapt your focus based on new insights, findings, or changes in the research landscape.

Criminal Justice Research Topics: The List

Coming up with strong criminal justice research topics for college students matters because they are the foundation for meaningful inquiry, shaping the direction and scope of academic exploration within a specific field. A well-chosen topic not only captures the researcher's interest but also holds significance within the broader context of the discipline, offering opportunities for original insights, critical analysis, and scholarly contributions. Opt for a custom research paper , and our writers will select compelling and relevant topics that can engage readers, advance knowledge, and address pressing issues or gaps in understanding. 

List of Criminology Research Topics

Begin with the broad research topics in criminology that immediately captivate your reader's attention:

  • The impact of social media on crime rates.
  • Rehabilitation vs. retribution: effectiveness of different punitive measures.
  • Juvenile delinquency: causes and prevention strategies.
  • The psychology of criminal behavior.
  • Cybercrime: trends and countermeasures.
  • The role of gender in criminal justice.
  • Illegal substance trafficking and law enforcement challenges.
  • White-collar crime: Patterns and detection.
  • Community policing: Building trust and reducing crime.
  • Mental health and criminal justice system interaction.
  • Human trafficking: Modern-day slavery.
  • Restorative justice: Healing communities after crime.
  • Police brutality and accountability.
  • Environmental criminology: Understanding crime hotspots.
  • Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED).
  • The economics of crime: Cost-benefit analysis.
  • Hate crimes: Motivations and impact on society.
  • Criminal profiling techniques and accuracy.
  • Witness reliability in criminal trials.
  • The influence of poverty on crime rates.
  • Rehabilitation programs for incarcerated individuals.
  • The intersection of race and criminal justice.
  • Firearms and violence: Policy implications.
  • The role of technology in crime detection and prevention.
  • Gangs and organized crime: Structure and activities.
  • Domestic violence: Causes and intervention strategies.
  • The ethics of punishment: Balancing justice and mercy.
  • Crime mapping and geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Biological explanations for criminal behavior.
  • Crime and deviance: Sociological perspectives.

List of Realistic Crime Research Topics

Continuing with our exploration of criminological research topics, here are some additional options that reflect current global issues in our society, offering a more realistic perspective for study.

  • The impact of neighborhood characteristics on crime rates.
  • Factors influencing the likelihood of reoffending among convicted criminals.
  • The effectiveness of community policing in reducing crime.
  • Patterns of illegal substance-related crimes in urban vs. rural areas.
  • The role of technology in modern crime detection and prevention.
  • Gender disparities in crime victimization and perpetration.
  • Strategies for reducing juvenile delinquency in at-risk communities.
  • The influence of socioeconomic status on involvement in white-collar crime.
  • Cybercrime trends and challenges in the digital age.
  • The relationship between mental health issues and criminal behavior.
  • The effectiveness of rehabilitation programs for offenders.
  • The impact of sentencing guidelines on crime rates.
  • Trends in organized crime activity in different regions.
  • The role of peer influence in youth involvement in criminal activities.
  • Arms control policies and their effects on arms-related crimes.
  • The correlation between unemployment rates and property crime.
  • Cultural factors influencing attitudes towards crime and punishment.
  • The prevalence of hate crimes and strategies for prevention.
  • The role of media in shaping perceptions of crime and criminal justice.
  • Environmental criminology: Exploring the link between crime and urban design.
  • The impact of immigration on crime rates in host countries.
  • Psychological profiles of serial offenders.
  • The effectiveness of restorative justice programs in reducing recidivism.
  • The relationship between substance abuse and criminal behavior.
  • Policing strategies for reducing gang-related crime.
  • The influence of family dynamics on youth involvement in crime.
  • Corporate crime: Investigating fraud and corruption in business.
  • The effectiveness of early intervention programs for at-risk youth.
  • The role of poverty in driving criminal behavior.
  • The ethics and implications of using predictive policing technologies.

List of Basic Criminal Justice Topics

Here is a list of fundamental topics in criminal justice. Assess the available information on each issue carefully. Ultimately, the choice of study topics in criminal justice is entirely yours.

  • Overview of the criminal justice system.
  • Importance of due process in criminal justice.
  • Key components of criminal law.
  • Role of law enforcement in society.
  • Basics of criminal investigations.
  • Types of criminal offenses.
  • Understanding criminal courts and procedures.
  • Principles of criminal sentencing.
  • Purpose and function of corrections.
  • Victim rights in the criminal justice system.
  • Evolution of criminal justice policies.
  • Ethics in criminal justice professions.
  • Impact of technology on criminal justice.
  • Challenges in administering justice fairly.
  • Role of forensic science in solving crimes.
  • Rehabilitation versus punishment debate.
  • Alternatives to incarceration.
  • Importance of community policing.
  • Mental health and the criminal justice system.
  • Restorative justice approaches.
  • Juvenile justice system basics.
  • Trends in crime rates and patterns.
  • Intersection of race and criminal justice.
  • Role of probation and parole.
  • Challenges in addressing recidivism.
  • International perspectives on criminal justice.
  • Role of private security in society.
  • Importance of evidence in criminal cases.
  • Impact of illegal substances and abuse on crime.
  • Contemporary issues in criminal justice reform.

List of Criminal Justice Topics on Racial Discrimination

Let's narrow down our focus to specific topics within the realm of criminal justice for research papers. Here, we'll categorize the prompts based on aspects of racial discrimination.

  • Racial profiling in law enforcement.
  • Disparities in arrest rates among racial groups.
  • Impact of implicit bias on criminal justice outcomes.
  • Race and sentencing disparities.
  • Effects of socioeconomic status on racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
  • Policing practices and their differential impact on racial minorities.
  • Racial disparities in juvenile justice system involvement.
  • Role of race in jury selection and trial outcomes.
  • Disproportionate representation of racial minorities in prisons and jails.
  • Effects of mandatory minimum sentencing laws on racial disparities.
  • Racial disparities in pretrial detention and bail decisions.
  • Impact of race on interactions with probation and parole officers.
  • Challenges in addressing systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
  • Role of media portrayal in perpetuating racial stereotypes in crime reporting.
  • Effects of the school-to-prison pipeline on communities of color.
  • Racial disparities in access to legal representation.
  • Intersectionality of race with other factors such as gender and socioeconomic status in criminal justice outcomes.
  • Effects of racial trauma on interactions with law enforcement.
  • Role of community activism in addressing racial discrimination in criminal justice.
  • Historical roots of racial disparities in criminal justice.
  • Impact of illegal substance policies on racial disparities in arrests and incarceration.
  • Role of implicit bias training in reducing racial discrimination in law enforcement.
  • Effects of racial segregation on policing practices and community trust.
  • Racial disparities in use of force incidents and police brutality.
  • Role of accountability measures in addressing racial discrimination in criminal justice.
  • Impact of racial diversity within law enforcement agencies on community relations.
  • Effects of racialized fear and stereotypes on criminal justice decision-making.
  • Role of sentencing reform in addressing racial disparities.
  • Racial disparities in access to diversion and rehabilitation programs.
  • Strategies for promoting racial equity and fairness in the criminal justice system.

List of Crime Research Topics (Crime Types)

Finally, examine the topics for research papers in criminal justice categorized by different types of crime.

  • Burglary patterns and prevention strategies.
  • Trends in cybercrime and cybersecurity measures.
  • Understanding the psychology of serial perpetrators.
  • Illegal substance trafficking routes and law enforcement responses.
  • White-collar crime: Fraud, embezzlement, and corporate misconduct.
  • Human trafficking: Prevalence, victims, and intervention approaches.
  • Homicide investigation techniques and case studies.
  • Identity theft: Impacts and prevention tactics.
  • Robbery dynamics and risk factors for victimization.
  • Hate crimes: Motivations, perpetrators, and legal responses.
  • Carjacking trends and prevention measures.
  • Arson investigations and forensic analysis.
  • Money laundering methods and detection strategies.
  • Gang violence: Origins, structures, and intervention efforts.
  • Stalking behaviors and legal consequences.
  • Art theft: High-profile cases and recovery efforts.
  • Wildlife poaching: Impacts, perpetrators, and conservation efforts.
  • Online scams: Common schemes and protective measures.
  • Domestic violence: Patterns, risk factors, and support services.
  • Child abuse and neglect: Identification and prevention strategies.
  • Environmental crimes: Illegal dumping, pollution, and enforcement challenges.
  • Smuggling operations: Contraband and border security.
  • Extortion tactics and responses in law enforcement.
  • Organized crime syndicates: Structures, activities, and global impact.
  • Counterfeiting: Trends in production methods and law enforcement actions.
  • Art forgery: Authentication techniques and case studies.
  • Food fraud: Adulteration, mislabeling, and consumer protection efforts.
  • Political corruption: Types, impacts, and anti-corruption measures.
  • Intellectual property theft: Piracy, counterfeiting, and legal responses.
  • Terrorism: Ideologies, tactics, and counterterrorism strategies.

Final Thoughts

In summary, writing research papers in criminal justice is incredibly important for students. It helps them learn about various aspects of the criminal justice system and develop skills like critical thinking and research. 

where search for criminal topics

Choosing the right criminal justice research topic ideas allows you to set the direction for your research and ensure that you stay engaged and interested. By picking a topic they're passionate about or relevant to current issues, students can make the most of their learning experience and even contribute new insights to the legal field. If you’re stuck on such a paper while other assignments have already started to stack up, buy essays online to manage the workload more effectively. 

Want to Impress Your Professor With a Flawless Paper?

We always have experienced essay writers on hand creating an outstanding paper depending on your specifications.

Related Articles

Marketing Research Topics

Criminology Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

This sample criminology research paper features: 6300 words (approx. 21 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 49 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.


Criminology and measuring crime, time and space, social class, criminology and explaining crime, criminology and preventing crime.

  • Bibliography

Criminology is the scientific study of crime as a social phenomena. Edwin Sutherland (1947) noted in an early analysis that criminology investigates the processes of producing laws, breaking laws, and responding to the breaking of laws.

Academic Writing, Editing, Proofreading, And Problem Solving Services

Get 10% off with 24start discount code.

These processes are three aspects of a somewhat unified sequence of interactions. Certain acts which are regarded as undesirable are defined by the political society as crimes. In spite of this definition, some people persist in the behavior and thus commit crimes; the political society reacts by punishment or other treatment or by prevention. This sequence of interactions is the object-matter of criminology. (P. 1)

Consequently, criminology can be split into three subfields: the study of lawmaking, the study of lawbreaking, and the study of responses to lawbreaking. Because lawmaking and responses to lawbreaking are discussed in other research papers, we shall concentrate on the second branch, lawbreaking.

More Criminology Research Papers:

  • Cultural Criminology Research Paper
  • Geographic Criminology Research Paper
  • Green Criminology Research Paper
  • Historical Criminology Research Paper
  • Marxist Criminology Research Paper
  • Postmodern Criminology Research Paper
  • Age and Crime Research Paper
  • Alcohol and Crime Research Paper
  • Class and Crime Research Paper
  • Education and Crime Research Paper
  • Gender and Crime Research Paper
  • Intelligence and Crime Research Paper
  • Literature and Crime Research Paper
  • Mass Media and Crime Research Paper
  • Modernization and Crime Research Paper
  • Race and Crime Research Paper
  • Religion and Crime Research Paper
  • School Crime Research Paper
  • Unemployment and Crime Research Paper

Regarding crime, sociologists have investigated numerous avenues of inquiry. They have endeavored to identify crime patterns, i.e., the manner in which criminal conduct is spread over time, place, and social structure. They have attempted to explain crime by identifying the factors that not only distinguish criminals from noncriminals but also account for its occurrence. In addition, they have investigated how crime might be averted. We shall discuss each of these inquiries in turn. Prior to discussing the distribution of crime, however, we must analyze its measurement.

How do we know what we know? is a fundamental question of any intellectual field. The empirical nature of criminology necessitates the use of the scientific method to observe and record crime. To quantify the nature and scope of crime phenomena, researchers employ a range of methodologies. The majority of criminologists’ scientific approaches are quantitative, aiming to count the number and kind of crimes and their connections. Researchers utilize two key types of quantitative data: secondary data derived from official sources and primary data derived from self-reports of criminal activity and victimization.

Official statistics extracted from police records are the most important source of information used to measure the nature and scope of crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has sponsored a statewide endeavor to develop a statistical description of crime in the United States since 1930. Today, more than 17,000 police agencies engage annually in the Uniform Crime Report data collecting and reporting program (UCR). The UCR provides information regarding crimes that are known to law enforcement and offenses that have been cleared by law enforcement, typically through arrest. Criminologists sometimes utilize UCR data to calculate a crime rate based on offenses reported to the police or arrests made by the police. A crime rate is superior to a crime count since the rate takes population into account. For example, UCR data for 2003 in the United States indicate a total of 16,503 homicides known to police, a fairly high amount.

However, given the magnitude of the nation’s population—nearly 280 million people—the murder rate in 2003 was among the lowest in the preceding four decades, at 5.7 murders per 100,000 people (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2004). The UCR provides crime statistics broken down by area, community type, and locality. Information identifying the age, color, and gender of criminals is restricted to crimes that have been cleared by police and for which an arrest has been made.

Until recently, the UCR classed major offenses as “Index” or Part I offenses, and less serious offenses as Part II offenses. Index crimes include the following eight offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forceful rape, robbery, serious assault, burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft, and arson. Traditionally, criminologists, politicians, and the media have depended on index crime data to follow changes in major crime through time and geography. Index data are a composite that conceal substantial variances in the frequency of each infraction. For instance, larceny-theft accounts for more than 60 percent of all Part I offenses (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2004). Consequently, fluctuations in more severe crimes, like as murder and rape, may be obscured by the vast volume of property crimes, such as larceny. Researchers in the field of criminal justice are aware of this and often separate index crimes into two categories: violent crimes and property crimes.

The FBI is now implementing the National Incident Based Reporting System, a new data collection tool (NIBRS). The NIBRS is intended to build upon the UCR by providing police with more information about criminal events, including the nature of the crimes and the characteristics of the perpetrators. This strategy is novel in two ways. First, the NIBRS analyzes occurrences as its core analytical unit. Second, it extends on the UCR by providing more information regarding the nature and types of individual offenses in each crime episode, such as the victim(s) and offender(s) involved, the type and amount of property stolen, and the characteristics of those arrested.

Even though the UCR and NIBRS include a wealth of information, official records pose a number of challenges. A huge portion of every crime gets unreported to the police, which is perhaps the most serious issue. Unreported crimes are referred to as “dark figures” since their nature and scope are unknown. Another problem of official records is that they are compiled, documented, and reported by non-researchers, making them secondary data. According to Thorsten Sellin (1931), each layer of administration in the gathering of official crime data raises the possibility of distortion, bias, or inaccuracy, hence diminishing the data’s usefulness. The data collected from police records have also been challenged for being political artifacts that reflect the operational logics and goals of law enforcement agencies. In addition, the UCR data collecting rules apply a judgment rule known as the hierarchy rule of classification, which sacrifices data regarding criminal episodes involving many crimes. Frequently, when a crime is committed, multiple laws are broken. However, the hierarchy rule dictates that only the most serious offense is reported to the FBI. The rule produces systematic downward bias in UCR data. A final shortcoming is that government records provide inadequate information about the correlates of crime, such as the relationship between victims and offenders, the racial and sexual mix of offenders and victims, and the drug use of offenders. The NIBRS aims to improve official records in light of the last two concerns, notably the hierarchy rule and the limited correlations between crime.

In large part as a result of concerns about the veracity of official data, academics have invented alternative ways for gathering data on crime. The majority of them are self-report questionnaires. The benefit of survey approach is that researchers directly obtain primary data from individuals in criminal activity. This gives researchers greater control over data collecting and facilitates testing of hypotheses. Typically, self-report questionnaires are available in two formats. One form requires people to disclose their own criminal behavior. The second sort of survey questions individuals about their victimization experiences.

A self-report survey of offending asks a sample of persons if and how frequently they have committed any of a variety of offenses during a certain time period. Thornberry and Krohn (2000) attribute the emergence of self-report methodology to Sutherland’s (1940) observation that respectable middle-class individuals are likely to commit crimes but are unlikely to be recorded in police files. Porterfield’s 1946 work was the first to utilize the self-report method in studies of criminal and delinquent conduct, maybe prompted by Sutherland’s observation. His work established the usefulness of self-reports for criminal and delinquent studies. Short and Nye’s (1958) research is primarily responsible for establishing self-reports as a methodological cornerstone of criminology. Throughout the years, criminologists have devoted significant efforts to enhancing the self-report method by creating strategies that increase the validity and reliability of self-reported crime and delinquency (Hindelang, Hirschi, and Weis 1981).

Self-report investigations of criminal behavior can be distinguished by their substantive focus and sample design. Using schools as sampling points is a frequent method for surveying teenagers. Monitoring the Future, an annual study addressing drug use undertaken with a nationally representative sample of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, is one of the most renowned instances (Johnston, O’Malley, and Bachman, 1996). Other methods of surveying criminal or delinquent behavior include random samples of the broader population. Nationwide Youth Survey (NYS) is one of the most comprehensive national assessments of delinquency (Elliott 1983). The New York State uses a national probability sampling design to survey approximately 1,700 11- to 17-year-olds about their involvement in delinquency as well as a number of attitudinal and experiential issues. Similar to numerous other self-report surveys, the NYS supplies criminologists with data for addressing etiological questions. In addition, New York State utilizes a panel design, allowing researchers to track children through adulthood.

The other sort of self-report questionnaire is the victimization questionnaire. In this study, researchers ask a sample of individuals if and how frequently they had been victims of specific criminal crimes during a specific time period. The most well-known victimization survey is the 1973 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). This is a twice-yearly, national household survey. In contrast to self-report surveys of offending, which were motivated by the empirical restrictions associated with the police focus on crimes of the lower classes, the NCVS was motivated by the failure of individuals to report crimes to the police. Each year, around 85,000 families and more than 150,000 responders participate, giving the most accurate estimate of real crime in the United States. Unlike the UCR, the NCVS includes information about crimes committed against individuals, regardless of whether the crimes were reported to authorities. Questions address crimes suffered by individuals and their home, whether the offenses were reported to police, as well as victim, household, and perpetrator characteristics in personal crimes. In addition, respondents are asked about their perspectives on the criminal justice system and their motivations for reporting or not reporting crimes. Generally speaking, victimization surveys are limited to the more common and readily identifiable memories. Although it appears that respondents are generally accurate when reporting their experiences as offenders and victims, there is evidence that underreporting is a danger to the validity of self-report studies of both offending (Hindelang et al., 1981) and victimization (Hindelang et al., 1981). (Murphy and Dodge 1981). As a result of embarrassment or a desire to protect their privacy, some respondents may choose not to discuss their criminal past. In addition, respondents do not always recall the infractions they committed or those committed against them, and they may recall offenses as being more recent or more remote than they actually were.

Crime statistics are crucial to the criminological endeavour. They contribute to the establishment of the fundamental social facts of crime, which comprise the objects of explanation and give evidence for the evaluation of explanations. Unfortunately, crime figures are among the most unreliable and challenging of any social phenomenon statistics. It is impossible to correctly estimate the level of crime in any specific location or time period. As stated previously, many crimes go unreported, while others are identified but not reported to police or researchers, and yet others are reported but not legally documented. Thus, any record of crimes can at most be regarded an index of the actual crimes committed. This fact has prompted both caution regarding crime data sources and more research to validate and enhance empiricism in the sector. Comparing the “behavior” of crime indexes across several data sources is a popular solution. Figure 1 displays how victimization data compare to government figures since 1973. Although it is a violation of individuals and property. They dismiss crimes done on behalf of corporations, such as deceptive advertising and price-fixing, as well as “victimless” crimes, such as drug usage and gambling.

     Figure 1

Criminology Research Paper

Both types of self-report surveys offer advantages over official crime statistics and are an essential source of crime data. They have access to a wide range of violations, ranging from significant crimes to minor infractions that are unlikely to be reported to police. In addition, by measuring the personal and societal traits of offenders and/or victims, they can supply a wealth of information for evaluating crime theories. Both sorts of self-reports are subject to the same constraints inherent to the self-report method. The fundamental limitations of self-report surveys stem from the size of the sample and the precision of assessment. A survey’s sample size is determined by guaranteeing representative participation and obtaining cooperation throughout the survey questionnaire. Both data sources produce indices that react similarly (growing and declining) across this time frame.

Criminology and Patterns of Crime

Criminologists document crime patterns in order to comprehend the nature and scope of crime. While the general public views many crimes as random acts, criminological research demonstrates that crime is not dispersed randomly among individuals or groups. The focus of criminological research on crime patterns is the relationship between criminal conduct and dimensions of time, place, and social structure. Crime tends to be a “intrastatus” activity, which is a crucial understanding in tracking criminal tendencies. In a significant number of crimes, the statuses used to identify offenders also describe the victims. Criminology has paid considerable attention to a number of contextual and structural factors that explain the fundamental crime patterns. These include the spatial and temporal distribution of crime, as well as the age, gender, race, and social status of the participants.

Criminologists have always been fascinated by the social factors that influence criminal behavior. Social context is characterized by the temporal and spatial characteristics that are connected with criminal behavior. At least three time metrics have been of interest to criminologists: annual patterns, seasonal patterns, and daily patterns. According to historical studies of crime in the United States, significant crime grew in the decades preceding the American Civil Conflict and continued to rise after the war. From roughly 1880 until the 1930s, reported crime generally declined, with the exception of the years before and during World War I. Since then, major crime has generally increased modestly, with a sharper rise commencing in the late 1960s (Gurr 1981). It reached its highest point in 1981 and again in 1991, but then plummeted in the middle and late 1990s and has been slowly dropping ever since (see Figure 2).

     Figure 2

Criminology Research Paper

In addition to annual shifts, which reflect historical oscillations, criminologists have identified additional units of time in which crime fluctuates. For instance, crimes tend to increase towards the beginning of the month, when most people receive their paychecks. Most crimes occur over the summer, when youths are out of school and people spend extended periods of time outside and away from their homes. Murders are more likely to occur in the evening, when more people are at leisure, whereas domestic burglaries are more likely to occur during the day, when more people are at work or school and less able to monitor their houses.

Additionally, criminologists have attempted to document the spatial patterns of crime. Researchers have found that the rate of severe crime tends to increase as the population of a community grows. In general, urban areas have a greater crime rate than their suburban and rural counterparts. Consistently, victimization and self-report statistics indicate that crime is concentrated in major metropolitan areas (Sutherland, Cressey, and Luckenbill 1992:176–78). In the United States, however, the extent to which the urban crime rate exceeds the rural crime rate fluctuates over time. As improved communication and transportation have diminished the disparities between urban and rural areas, there is reason to believe that the disparities in crime rates have also decreased, with rural and suburban crime rates increasing more rapidly than urban crime rates. In local communities, crime is typically concentrated in areas characterized by social disadvantage. High-crime neighborhoods typically have higher-than-average percentages of poverty, rental and abandoned properties, single-parent households, and population mobility, all of which impede the organization of the community to prevent crime.

Youth engage in criminal activities. Researchers have found that age is the most accurate predictor of criminal behavior. The correlation between age and criminality is nonlinear. Criminal activity grows with age into adolescence, reaches its peak in late adolescence or early adulthood, and then drops rather rapidly with age before declining more slowly until death. Some have argued (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1986) that the association between age and crime is constant, regardless of sex, race, and socioeconomic status, as well as across time and space (see Figure 3).

     Figure 3

Criminology Research Paper

Criminologists use the term “distance” to characterize the cessation of criminal action as age increases beyond the peak offending ages of late adolescence or early adulthood (Laub and Sampson 1993). Although the majority of offenders “age out” of crime by early adulthood, a small proportion continue to commit crimes throughout their lives. This observation has spurred attention in the significance of age in differentiating between various sorts of offenders. Research on the effects of age at first offense and the trajectory of crime over the life cycle reveals the existence of several types of criminal careers that vary in terms of commencement, duration, and intensity. Individuals who engage in criminal activity at a young age and those who have contact with the judicial system at a younger age are more likely to become chronic offenders or “life-course persisters.” Laub and Sampson (1993) shown that even among first-time and chronic offenders, recidivism can be avoided. According to research in this field, the most prevalent type of criminal career is “adolescent limited,” meaning that criminal behavior is typically confined to adolescence and early adulthood, after which desistance occurs swiftly.

Men have a higher crime rate than women. Frequently, comparisons of sex-specific criminal conduct are given as a frequency or rate ratio of male to female offenses. Although the disparity in the sex ratio of offenders varies by kind of offense, it is largest for more serious offenses. In the United States, the ratio of male to female murder arrests in any given year is approximately eight male arrests to one female arrest. In contrast, the ratio of male to female arrests for theft, one of the least serious offenses, is two males for every female. Self-report data suggest that males are more likely to be involved in criminal activity than females, however these data tend to reveal less disparity in the sex ratio of criminal offending than official data, particularly for less severe offences (Triplett and Myers 1995). Some criminologists claim that the disparity between arrest statistics and self-reports is due to the chivalrous stance taken by criminal justice officials when ladies are the target of law enforcement (Steffensmeier 1993).

The official statistics portray an arresting picture of criminal behavior by race. African Americans are significantly more likely than whites to be arrested, despite the fact that whites account for the vast bulk of arrests. African Americans are responsible for over 40 percent of arrests for major violent crimes and over 25 percent of arrests for significant property offenses, although constituting just 13 percent of the United States’ population (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2004). In contrast, Whites are arrested disproportionately for specific Part II offenses, such as alcohol and driving under the influence offenses. The racial discrepancy in arrests for serious crimes has decreased in recent years, but African Americans have a considerably greater chance of arrest than whites (see Figure 4).

     Figure 4

Criminology Research Paper

Some criminologists have proposed that racial prejudice in criminal justice may account for a significant portion of the reported racial discrepancy in official statistics (Tonry 1995). Others have argued that the judicial system and its agents are reasonably objective when processing defendants, implying that racial disparities in official crime figures reflect true racial inequalities in criminal behavior (Wilbanks 1987). Using self-report and victimization data, criminologists have attempted to settle this disagreement by examining race-specific involvement in criminal conduct. Self-report studies of delinquency among African American and white kids imply that racial disparities are significantly smaller than indicated by arrest statistics (Elliott and Ageton 1980).

Criminologists have long assumed a negative link between social class and crime: people at the bottom of the social hierarchy are more likely to be involved in criminal activity than those at the top. According to official statistics, lower-class status correlates with more criminal activity. Those convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison are more likely to be indigent, unemployed, or underemployed.

In spite of this evidence, criminologists have contended that the association between class and crime is less certain than indicated by official statistics. Sutherland was the first criminologist to examine the relationship between class and crime (1940). He noticed that white-collar crimes, or crimes perpetrated by respectable and high-status individuals in the course of their employment, are prevalent while being typically overlooked in official crime statistics. Sutherland’s discovery has led to numerous criticisms of people who believe a negative association between socioeconomic status and criminal behavior.

Conclusions regarding the relationship between class and crime may reflect the information source used. Self-report studies indicate that adolescents from all socioeconomic levels engage in delinquent behavior (Tittle, Villamez, and Smith 1978). However, these studies have been critiqued for failing to precisely define class status and for conflating delinquency with serious criminality (Braithwaite, 1979). (Farnworth,Thornberry, Krohn, and Lizotte 1994).

In conclusion, criminologists have committed significant effort in documenting crime patterns. These patterns are useful for evaluating and planning social responses to crime by policymakers. Correlating crime across dimensions of social context (time and geography) and social structure (age, sex, race, and social class) yields empirical facts that theory must explain.

Throughout the past two centuries, numerous criminology schools have flourished. A school of criminology is a body of thinking that combines a theory of crime causation with control methods required by the theory. In Europe during the eighteenth century, Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham established the classical school as one of the first criminology schools. According to the classical school, crime is a reasonable technique of maximizing one’s self-interest. Individuals are perceived as hedonistic, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, and rational, calculating the pleasures and pains of possible behaviors and selecting those that promise the most pleasure with the least pain. Individuals will opt to commit a crime if they determine that it delivers the most joy and the least pain relative to other actions. To control crime, the state need merely persuade individuals that committing a crime would result in more pain than pleasure, which can be achieved by raising the severity of punishments. When individuals discover that criminal behavior is less enjoyable, they will pursue more fulfilling activities. During the nineteenth century, the positive school of criminology emerged largely due to the contributions of Cesare Lombroso and his followers. The positive school, which is grounded in the physical sciences, views crime as the result of personal faults or diseases. It asserts that the physical constitution influences behavior and that flaws in biological structure or processes result in criminal conduct. The positive school maintains that punishment is ineffective in reducing crime because criminals do not weigh the pleasures and pains of different actions and choose the one that maximizes pleasure. Instead, it asserts that the only rational approach to controlling crime is to identify and influence its causes. Given that crime is the result of a human defect or disorder, it follows that the most effective method of crime control is to treat the defect or condition in question. This school fell out of favor at the beginning of the twentieth century as the sociological school, which views crime as a product of the social environment, gained popularity. Over the course of the twentieth century, the sociological school has matured and grown to dominate scientific efforts to explain crime.

The sociological school predominantly emerged in the United States. Sociologists have conducted the majority of systematic studies of crime and criminals since the late nineteenth century, when criminology was recognized as a topic of study by the expanding sociology departments of universities. A 1901 survey found that criminology and penology were among the first courses taught under the label of sociology in American colleges (Tolman 1902–1903), and the first issue of the American Journal of Sociology included papers and book reviews on criminology. At the same time, though, American sociologists were impressed by a number of the positive school’s claims. Not until approximately 1915, after the publication of Charles Goring’s The English Convict (1913), was a strong environmentalist perspective developed. This pattern likely caused John Gillin (1914) to make his observation,

The longer the study of crime has continued in this country, the greater has grown the number of causes of crime which may be described as social. This is the aspect in the development of American criminology which has given to that study in this country the title of “The American School.” (P. 53)

The core thesis of the sociological school is that criminal behavior is the outcome of the same conditions and processes as other forms of social behavior. There are two types of analyses of these factors and processes in relation to crime. First, criminologists have attempted to establish a link between variances in crime rates and differences in social organization. Several socioeconomic circumstances, including social and economic inequality, political and economic ideology, and culture and normative conflict, have been studied in relation to differences in the crime rates of societies and units of society. In an early sociological study, Clifford Shaw (1929) utilized the Chicago School’s ecological method, which strongly drew on Durkheim’s analogy of society as an organism, to comprehend the metropolitan distribution of delinquency. He noticed that delinquency was concentrated in specific regions of the city and attributed this to social disarray. He viewed delinquency as a pathology endemic to urban slums, not the individuals who resided there. These regions had high mobility, heterogeneity, and conflict, factors that fostered social disorganization, a condition in which traditional means of social control are ineffective and individuals are free to engage in criminal conduct. In particular, Robert Merton’s (1938) anomie theory was significantly influenced by Durkheim’s functionalist concepts regarding the causes and implications of change in social solidarity. In a seminal remark, Albert Cohen (1955) asserted that differences in the access of social classes to legitimate means of obtaining success correlate with differences in their rates of delinquency. In American society, lower-class children are encouraged to seek the same goals as middle-class children and are evaluated using the same criteria. However, they lack the cultural and economic capital required to effectively compete with children from middle-class families. As a result, many children from disadvantaged backgrounds suffer failure, and in response, they may develop and participate in delinquent subcultures. These two arguments—that high rates of crime can be explained in terms of a breakdown of social organization and that high rates can be explained in terms of a conflict between culturally induced aspirations and structurally limited opportunities—have figured prominently in much macro-level contemporary theory.

Second, criminologists have worked to uncover the mechanisms that lead to the criminalization of persons. In general, their investigations link criminality to socialization differences. One view, advanced by Travis Hirschi (1969) under the umbrella of control theory, holds that criminality is the outcome of a breakdown in socialization. According to this perspective, criminal behavior is a manifestation of inherent instincts. When a person’s connection to society is weak, it is doubtful that he or she will absorb the values and conventions of society or be attentive to the needs and desires of others. The individual lacks control and is therefore free to participate in criminal activity. Edwin Sutherland (1947) and Ronald Akers (1998) expand the notion that criminality results from social learning. According to this viewpoint, criminal behavior is not a manifestation of inherent instincts. Rather, a person learns to engage in illegal behavior similarly to how they learn to engage in noncriminal behavior. The content of education, not the method itself, determines whether a person becomes a criminal. These arguments, namely, that criminality results from a breakdown in socialization and that criminality is a product of socialization, continue to dominate micro-level thinking about crime.

In recent decades, criminologists have pursued alternative methods of analysis. In the 1960s and 1970s, some criminologists began to rethink the key assumptions and themes that had been used to organize criminology. They noticed that criminality is not an inherent quality of a given conduct and that the breach of a criminal statute does not invariably result in the capture and punishment of the offender. Instead, an act is criminal because legislators have made it so, and those who violate the law are selectively captured and punished (Becker 1963). This moves the focus from the criminal to the mechanisms of defining and responding to disruptive behavior (Quinney 1964; Turk 1969). Consequently, criminologists have increasingly focused on patterns of selective law enforcement, asking what types of offenses and offenders are most likely to be treated as crimes and criminals and why? In the course of demystifying the legal system, criminologists also considered the consequences of being labeled and treated as a criminal, arguing that stigmatization reduces a person’s legitimate opportunities for success and alters his or her identity, thereby promoting chronic criminality (Kitsuse 1962; Lemert 1972:62–92).

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a number of criminologists attempted to develop comprehensive theories of crime. Traditionally, criminologists have evaluated hypotheses by pitting at least two against one another in a “theory competition” (Akers and Sellers 2004:267). Recognizing that there is nothing to be gained from such rivalry, criminologists have increasingly sought to develop more effective explanatory models by combining aspects of two or more distinct theories of crime. John Braithwaite (1989) incorporated elements of control theory, social learning theory, and labeling theory into his theory of reintegrative shaming, and Charles Tittle (1995) incorporated elements of control theory, social learning theory, strain theory, and Marxist theory into his control balance theory of deviance. Despite the significance of integration initiatives, caution must be exercised in this endeavor. As Akers (1989:24) correctly highlighted, if ideas are combined without respect for their incompatibilities, “theoretical mush” can arise.

Over the years, three crime prevention strategies have been utilized: punitive, defensive, and interventionist. Punitive tactics are predicated on the premise that criminality and crime rates can be lowered by instilling in individuals a strong fear of being penalized for committing crimes. It is believed that inflicting great suffering on criminals both reforms those who are punished (specific deterrence) and discourages others from committing crimes (general deterrence). Much of the legislation that aims to significantly reduce crime is merely an effort to improve the severity or certainty of punishment (Beckett and Sasson 2004). Methods of defense are based on the premise that crime can be decreased by making it difficult for individuals to commit crimes. These solutions include lighting streets, securing doors, and putting valuables in safes (Felson 2002:144–64). The confinement of criminals inside bars so that they cannot victimize strangers is another example of defensive measures. The premise of interventionist tactics is that punishment and defense are insufficient. Rather, it is assumed that criminality and crime rates can be efficiently lowered by identifying and altering the factors that produce them. Methods based on the premise that offenders lack basic interpersonal skills aim to develop their competence in empathy, problem solving, impulse control, and anger management, whereas methods based on the premise that offenders have learned criminal behavior aim to teach them lawful forms of behavior (Cullen 2002). Generally speaking, interventionist tactics think that high crime rates are a result of economic, political, and social organization and that it is folly to leave this structure intact and try to reduce crime rates by punishing or defending against criminals produced by it. Instead, the objective is to reform the economic, political, or social system in order to lower crime rates (Currie 1998).

There is substantial evidence that intervention is or may be the most effective method of reducing crime (Cullen 2002; MacKenzie 2000). As more is discovered about crime, interventionist approaches will have a stronger foundation. If consistently followed, these regulations would safeguard society against crime in three ways.

First, they would ensure the segregation of those whose recurrent involvement in major crime has shown their threat. Although segregation would not change these criminals, it will safeguard society by incapacitating them and demonstrating disapproval of significant lawbreaking. Currently, we are unable to dramatically alter the societal conditions that produce some chronic offenders or their behavior. We can only protect ourselves against this small group of dangerous individuals.

Second, interventionist policies would integrate into law-abiding society a greater number of citizens, including the majority of those who have committed a crime but have not proven to be dangerous. It is generally accepted that social control is derived from the benefits of lawful behavior rather than direct fear of punishment. The effective deterrent is not the dread of legal penalties per se, but rather the fear of status loss (Grasmick and Bursik 1990). However, fear is not what stops criminal action. Rather, a law-abiding citizen is someone who believes that certain actions, such as stealing from a neighbor or attacking a coworker, are inconceivable. In order for crime prevention strategies to be effective, more people must have a stake in adhering to the rules that prohibit criminal behavior.

Thirdly, interventionist policies would identify the social circumstances from which criminal activity is most likely to emanate and make it possible to abolish those circumstances. Instead of eliminating the economic, political, and social attitudes, conditions, and injustices that cause crime, political leaders have decided to rely on fear of punishment (Currie 1998). Punishment appears to be less expensive, but this is not the case. In addition, the emphasis on punishment detracts from the necessity of creating the environment required for household tranquility. If attitudes of shared respect for certain values could be fostered, punitive legislation relating to these values would be unneeded. If, for instance, all members of a community had an equal stake in the concept of private property, it would no longer be necessary to coerce individuals into upholding property rights.

In short, crime would be decreased by absorbing those criminals who can be absorbed, isolating those who cannot be absorbed for defense, and reducing the conditions that are most conducive to crime and hence necessitate the need to absorb some criminals and isolate others. As much as punishment would, the vigorous execution of such rules would demonstrate society disapproval of criminal behavior. Rather than punishment, approval and disapproval of criminals deter crime among the majority of citizens, including the majority of the poor and disadvantaged, from whom the vast majority of criminals originate.

Our knowledge of crime is elementary. Certainly, we have a sense of how crime is distributed along a variety of structural, temporal, and spatial dimensions; we have a sense of the principal variables that affect the occurrence of crime and development of criminality, as well as the general ways in which these variables operate to produce crime and criminality; and we have a sense of the types of methods that appear to be effective in controlling crime. However, more effort must be done before a solid comprehension of crime can be attained.

When we consider criminology in the twenty-first century, we observe that the field is evolving in multiple directions. There are persistent efforts to develop and enhance the methodological tools for documenting crime, testing theories of crime, and evaluating initiatives to combat crime. There are also ongoing efforts to create integrated theories of crime, theories that incorporate not just sociological, but also biological and psychological, factors. Integrated theory is advancing criminology down a path that may eventually identify it as an interdisciplinary field of study as opposed to a sociological specialty. These two streams, one methodological and one theoretical, will become more linked. The analytical state of the art, for instance, enables a broader and more rigorous range of theory-testing initiatives, which promotes the development of theory. Lastly, there are ongoing initiatives to employ criminological knowledge to improve social welfare by reducing rates of first and repeat offenses in a manner that is fair to offenders, victims, and the broader community. These trends are not exclusive to the criminological enterprise. In fact, they reflect sociological tendencies in which sociologists attempt to refine methods, develop unified theories, and apply research to educate public policy and enrich community life.


  • Akers, Ronald L. 1989. “A Social Behaviorist’s Perspective on Integration of Theories of Crime and Deviance.” Pp. 23–36 in Theoretical Integration in the Study of Deviance and Crime, edited by S. Messner, M. Krohn, and A. Liska. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Akers, Ronald L. 1998. Social Learning and Social Structure. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.
  • Akers, Ronald L. and Christine S. Sellers. 2004. Criminological Theories. 4th ed. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
  • Becker, Howard S. 1963. The Outsiders. New York: Free Press.
  • Beckett, Katherine and Theodore Sasson. 2004. The Politics of Injustice. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Braithwaite, John. 1979. Inequality, Crime and Public Policy. London, England: Routledge.
  • Braithwaite, John. 1989. Crime, Shame, and Reintegration. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cohen, Albert K. 1955. Delinquent Boys. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
  • Cullen, Francis T. 2002. “Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs.” Pp. 253–89 in Crime: Public Policies for Crime Control, edited by J. Wilson and J. Petersilia. Oakland, CA: ICS Press.
  • Currie, Elliott. 1998. Crime and Punishment in America. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Elliott, Delbert S. 1983. National Youth Survey. Boulder, CO: Behavioral Research Institute.
  • Elliott, Delbert S. and Suzanne S. Ageton. 1980. “Reconciling Race and Class Differences in Self-Reported and Official Estimates of Delinquency.” American Sociological Review 45:95–110.
  • Farnworth, Margaret, Terence P. Thornberry, Marvin D. Krohn, and Alan J. Lizotte. 1994. “Measurement in the Study of Class and Delinquency: Integrating Theory and Research.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 31:32–61.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2003. Age-Specific Arrest Rates and Race-Specific Arrest Rates for Selected Offenses 1993–2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2004. Crime in the United States, 2003. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2005. State and National Level Crime Trend Estimates. Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation [producer]; Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics [distributor]. Retrieved December 1, 2005 (http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/Search/Crime/Stat/ StatebyState.cfm).
  • Felson, Marcus. 2002. Crime and Everyday Life. 3d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Gillin, John L. 1914. “Social Factors Affecting the Volume of Crime.” Pp. 53–67 in Physical Bases of Crime: A Symposium, edited by the American Academy of Medicine. Easton, PA: American Academy of Medicine Press.
  • Goring, Charles. 1913. The English Convict. London, England: HMSO.
  • Gottfredson, Michael and Travis Hirschi. 1986. “The True Value of Lambda Would Appear to Be Zero: An Essay on Career Criminals, Criminal Careers, Selective Incapacitation, Cohort Studies, and Related Topics.” Criminology 24:213–34.
  • Grasmick, Harold G. and Robert J. Bursik Jr. 1990. “Conscience, Significant Others, and Rational Choice: Extending the Deterrence Model.” Law and Society Review 24:837–61.
  • Gurr, Ted R. 1981. “Historical Trends in Violent Crime: A Critical Review of the Evidence.” Crime and Justice 3:295–353.
  • Hindelang, Michael J., Travis Hirschi, and Joseph G. Weis. 1981. Measuring Delinquency. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
  • Hirschi, Travis. 1969. Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Johnston, Lloyd D., Patrick M. O’Malley, and Jerald G. Bachman. 1996. National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975–1995. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Kitsuse, John I. 1962. “Societal Reactions to Deviant Behavior: Problems of Theory and Method.” Social Problems 9:247–56.
  • Laub, John and Robert J. Sampson. 1993. “Turning Points in the Life Course.” Criminology 31:301–25.
  • Lemert, Edwin M. 1972. Human Deviance, Social Problems, and Social Control. 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • MacKenzie, Doris Layton. 2000. “Evidence-Based Corrections: Identifying What Works.” Crime and Delinquency 46:457–71.
  • Maston, Kathy and Patsy Klaus. 2005. Four Measures of Serious Violent Crime. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved September 5, 2005 (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/4meastab.htm).
  • Merton, Robert K. 1938. “Social Structure and Anomie.” American Sociological Review 3:672–82.
  • Murphy, L. R. and R. W. Dodge. 1981. “The Baltimore Recall Study.” Pp. 16–21 in The National Crime Survey: Working Papers, 1, Current and Historical Perspectives, edited by R. G. Lenhen and W. G. Skogan. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Porterfield, Austin L. 1946. Youth in Trouble. Fort Worth, TX: Leo Potishman.
  • Quinney, Richard. 1964. “Crime in Political Perspective.” American Behavioral Scientist 8:19–22.
  • Sellin, Thorsten. 1931. “The Basis of a Crime Index.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 22:335–56.
  • Shaw, Clifford R. 1929. Delinquency Areas. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Short, James F., Jr. and F. Ivan Nye. 1958. “Extent of Unrecorded Juvenile Delinquency: Tentative Conclusions.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 49:296–302.
  • Steffensmeier, Darrell. 1993. “National Trends in Female Arrests, 1960–1990: Assessment and Recommendations for Research.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 9:413–41.
  • Sutherland, Edwin H. 1940. “White Collar Criminality.” American Sociological Review 5:1–12.
  • Sutherland, Edwin H. 1947. Principles of Criminology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.
  • Sutherland, Edwin H., Donald R. Cressey, and David F. Luckenbill. 1992. Principles of Criminology. 11th ed. Dix Hills, NY: General Hall.
  • Thornberry, Terence P. and Marvin D. Krohn. 2000. “The SelfReport Method for Measuring Delinquency and Crime.” Pp. 38–84 in Measurement and Analysis of Crime and Justice, 4, Criminal Justice 2000, edited by D. Duffee. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
  • Tittle, Charles R. 1995. Control Balance. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
  • Tittle, Charles R., Wayne J. Villamez, and Douglas A. Smith. 1978. “The Myth of Social Class and Criminality: An Assessment of the Empirical Evidence.” American Sociological Review 43:643–56.
  • Tolman, Frank L. 1902–1903. “The Study of Sociology in Institutions of Learning in the United States.” American Journal of Sociology 7:797–838; 8:85–121, 251–72, 531–58.
  • Tonry, Michael. 1995. Malign Neglect. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Triplett, Ruth and Laura B. Myers. 1995. “Evaluating Contextual Patterns of Delinquency: Gender-Based Differences.” Justice Quarterly 12:59–84.
  • Turk, Austin T. 1969. Criminality and the Legal Order. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.
  • Wilbanks, William. 1987. The Myth of a Racist Criminal Justice System. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  • Crime and Criminology Research Paper
  • Criminology of Place Research Paper
  • Identification in Life Course Criminology Research Paper
  • Longitudinal Studies in Criminology Research Paper


research essay on criminology

Criminology as a Social Science Research Paper

Introduction, belonging to social sciences, criminological theories overlapping with social sciences, preventive social measures in criminology.

Modern legal sciences, for instance, criminal law, have made it possible to formulate the types of crimes, reduce them to criminal codes, determine the forms and methods of crimes, and shape a valuable theoretical background. However, due to the specificity of each of these disciplines, they cannot address the issue of crime in general. Therefore, their gradual development has led to the emergence of a special science that studies crime as a phenomenon existing in society. This is criminology that cannot be separated from many social theories due to its inextricable connection with certain concepts and phenomena about the principles of human behavior, interpersonal communication, and other aspects of human existence. This work aims to present criminology from a social science perspective, present the key theories that overlap across various disciplines, and prove the contiguity of individual approaches to addressing the current challenges and preventing crime.

Criminology cannot be attributed only to legal sciences since it is based on no special legal branch. According to Pridemore et al. (2018), this discipline is a socio-legal theoretical and applied discipline that studies crime as a social phenomenon, the essence and forms of its manifestation, as well as its laws. The reasons and determinants that explain the essence of crime and the motives that induce individuals to defy the law cannot be analyzed without reference to other areas of knowledge, for instance, psychology or sociology. The personalities of those who commit crimes are assessed in a variety of contexts, including demographic characteristics. The development of a system of crime prevention measures, in turn, is impossible without a preliminary assessment and comparison of current social norms and foundations because any restrictions are a consequence of specific preventive rules. Moreover, as Nagin and Sampson (2019) argue, this science is characterized by causal relationships, which is a feature of social research. Therefore, criminology can be presented as a social discipline that uses the existing legal framework for the implementation of the tasks set to detect and prevent crime manifestations.

Many regulations, recommendations, and conclusions of criminology are of a legal nature since they are based on the norms of criminal, executive, procedural, and administrative legislative rules. Thus, in the system of social sciences, criminology can be located at the intersection of sociology and jurisprudence. According to Nagin and Sampson (2019), criminological research is often based on searching for relationships and justifications for specific assumptions or the proof of hypotheses, which are also frequent study methods in social disciplines. Criminology refers to jurisprudence since the phenomena it analyzes are characterized by the legal concepts of a crime or a subject of a crime, depending on the task set. The causes and conditions of crime, in turn, are largely associated with defects in legal consciousness or legal psychology, and some humanitarian disciplines aim to study the specifics of human behavior and motives. In addition, as McClanahan and South (2019) note, the study of crime as a general phenomenon, the causes of crime, the personality of the offender, and crime prevention measures fall within the scope of sociology. Therefore, criminology cannot be called an exclusively legal science due to its sociological background.

In addition to general background, theoretically, criminology and social sciences have common interpretations from the standpoint of individual concepts. Some authors cite different models used in criminology, which, in turn, have a pronounced social connotation (Cohen, 2017). These theories can be applied not only to aspects of crime and criminal or administrative responsibility but also in a more general context. The analysis of such concepts can confirm the social nature of criminology.

One of the related concepts is the theory of social justice that is applicable both to the provisions of criminal law and to universal human social values. This model is based on the concept of natural human rights – the rights to life, freedom, and property. According to Cohen (2017), by following this theory, on the one hand, a person should be given what one deserves, including the offender, and a punishment commensurate with the act should be imposed. On the other hand, an innocent citizen needs protection from criminal encroachments and security, which can be realized through the assessment of the violation of rights (Cohen, 2017). This principle serves as an effective tool to determine the degree of guilt and, at the same time, shapes the basis of interpersonal relationships in society.

Another theory that proves that criminology may be considered one of the social sciences is the concept of free will. As Paternoster (2017) states, this concept assumes that the crime committed by a person, as well as a person’s behavior in general, is the result of one’s choice. The main causal factor in crime is based on the principle of an individual’s free will. A crime is a deliberate and purposeful act, and each offender assesses the likelihood of one’s arrest, conviction, and punishment, including the estimated severity of this punishment. As a result of the influence of these negative circumstances, an antisocial attitude of the personality is formed. Countermeasures against crime are the identification and elimination of negative circumstances that shape specific deviant behavioral patterns.

The social disorganization theory is a concept that finds its application in criminology and, at the same time, explains specific behavioral motives in a social context. According to Liu (2020), this model proceeds from the impossibility or unwillingness of certain individuals or groups to function monolithically in a variety of life situations caused by urbanization, migration, and other unfavorable factors. The lack of cohesion leads to a state of anomie and social disorganization. As Barnes et al. (2019) note, human behavior, as a variable that is studied in different sciences, can be viewed through the prism of statistics. As a result, different cases of deviant behavior are taken in numerical data, which is typical in many social sciences, and concrete ratios can be drawn up, thereby creating a general picture of social behavior. Cohen (2017) argues that “the working class and racial minorities are doubly vulnerable not just to crimes of the powerful but also to predatory street crimes” (p. 246). Thus, one can draw a parallel between criminal behavior and social status, which confirms the connection of criminology with other sciences and its strong sociological background.

While taking into account the diversity of theories, one can note that criminology can have individual research nuances and analytical tools, but in general, the social implications of most of the models are obvious. The evaluation of any concept implies that the main object of discussion is the individual as a social subject exhibiting specific behavioral traits and demonstrating personal motives under different impacts. Therefore, criminology can be viewed from the perspective of social sciences due to this close relationship.

The listed directions of the development of criminology do not exhaust all its branches. At the same time, they show that studying the causes of crime and the development of measures to prevent it is a significant, complex, and multi-level process. The emergence of modern criminological concepts and approaches is greatly influenced by criminal sociology which provides multi-level empirical information and creates a fertile ground for the formation of new directions and schools (McClanahan & South, 2019). Moreover, such new accents contribute to maintaining effective legal regulation and creating preventive activities within the framework of existing knowledge about the social nature of humans. Fighting deviant behavior, addressing the problem of poverty, controlling individual social communities, and some other measures are valuable solutions to address the existing difficulties. Thus, by using approaches from sociology and the psychology of the individual, criminologists can develop theoretical and practical methods for their discipline, which confirms the aforementioned relationship.

Considering criminology from the perspective of social science, one can find many common approaches and concepts that prove the contiguity of different spheres. Modern criminological theories are largely based on social and psychological concepts about the behavior and personality of the offender, as well as one’s motives and incentives. The conducted research confirms the proposed relationship and provides arguments in favor of the use of specific preventive social measures to overcome modern challenges and address the gaps to reduce crime. The findings prove that from a theoretical standpoint, many sciences intersect. Further research may be devoted to studying the practical relationship between criminology and social disciplines.

Barnes, J. C., TenEyck, M. F., Pratt, T. C., & Cullen, F. T. (2019). How powerful is the evidence in criminology? On whether we should fear a coming crisis of confidence . Justice Quarterly , 37 (3), 383-409.

Cohen, S. (2017). Against criminology . Routledge.

Liu, L. (2020). Family, parochial, and public levels of social control and recidivism: An extension of the systemic model of social disorganization . Crime & Delinquency , 66 (6-7), 864-886.

McClanahan, B., & South, N. (2019). ‘All knowledge begins with the senses’: Towards sensory criminology . The British Journal of Criminology , 60 (1), 3-23.

Nagin, D. S., & Sampson, R. J. (2019). The real gold standard: Measuring counterfactual worlds that matter most to social science and policy . Annual Review of Criminology , 2 , 123-145.

Paternoster, R. (2017). Happenings acts, and actions: Articulating the meaning and implications of human agency for criminology. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology , 3 (4), 350-372.

Pridemore, W. A., Makel, M. C., & Plucker, J. A. (2018). Replication in criminology and the social sciences . Annual Review of Criminology , 1 , 19-38.

  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2022, July 13). Criminology as a Social Science. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminology-as-a-social-science/

"Criminology as a Social Science." IvyPanda , 13 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/criminology-as-a-social-science/.

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Criminology as a Social Science'. 13 July.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Criminology as a Social Science." July 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminology-as-a-social-science/.

1. IvyPanda . "Criminology as a Social Science." July 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminology-as-a-social-science/.


IvyPanda . "Criminology as a Social Science." July 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/criminology-as-a-social-science/.

  • Criminological Theory with Religious Background
  • Different Types of Criminological Theories
  • Social Control Theories vs. Criminological Theories
  • Comparative Criminology and Criminology Theories
  • State Corporate Crime and Criminological Inquiry
  • Application of Criminological Theory
  • Criminological Theories and American Crime Trends
  • Criminological Theories Evaluation
  • Criminological Theory and Its Author: Donald Lindsley
  • Criminological Theories at the Neighborhood Level
  • Hate Crime Problem Overview
  • History of Police Brutality: The Murder of George Floyd
  • The Sand Creek Massacre
  • “Adventures in Crime” Book by Amanda Archer
  • Researching Mass Incarceration’s in America

University Library

  • Research Guides

Criminology & Criminal Justice

  • Literature Reviews
  • Getting Started
  • News, Newspapers, and Current Events
  • Books and Media
  • Journals, Databases, and Collections
  • Data and Statistics
  • Careers and Career Resources for Criminology and Social Justice Majors
  • Annotated Bibliographies
  • APA 6th Edition

What is a Literature Review?

The scholarly conversation.

A literature review provides an overview of previous research on a topic that critically evaluates, classifies, and compares what has already been published on a particular topic. It allows the author to synthesize and place into context the research and scholarly literature relevant to the topic. It helps map the different approaches to a given question and reveals patterns. It forms the foundation for the author’s subsequent research and justifies the significance of the new investigation.

A literature review can be a short introductory section of a research article or a report or policy paper that focuses on recent research. Or, in the case of dissertations, theses, and review articles, it can be an extensive review of all relevant research.

  • The format is usually a bibliographic essay; sources are briefly cited within the body of the essay, with full bibliographic citations at the end.
  • The introduction should define the topic and set the context for the literature review. It will include the author's perspective or point of view on the topic, how they have defined the scope of the topic (including what's not included), and how the review will be organized. It can point out overall trends, conflicts in methodology or conclusions, and gaps in the research.
  • In the body of the review, the author should organize the research into major topics and subtopics. These groupings may be by subject, (e.g., globalization of clothing manufacturing), type of research (e.g., case studies), methodology (e.g., qualitative), genre, chronology, or other common characteristics. Within these groups, the author can then discuss the merits of each article and analyze and compare the importance of each article to similar ones.
  • The conclusion will summarize the main findings, make clear how this review of the literature supports (or not) the research to follow, and may point the direction for further research.
  • The list of references will include full citations for all of the items mentioned in the literature review.

Key Questions for a Literature Review

A literature review should try to answer questions such as

  • Who are the key researchers on this topic?
  • What has been the focus of the research efforts so far and what is the current status?
  • How have certain studies built on prior studies? Where are the connections? Are there new interpretations of the research?
  • Have there been any controversies or debate about the research? Is there consensus? Are there any contradictions?
  • Which areas have been identified as needing further research? Have any pathways been suggested?
  • How will your topic uniquely contribute to this body of knowledge?
  • Which methodologies have researchers used and which appear to be the most productive?
  • What sources of information or data were identified that might be useful to you?
  • How does your particular topic fit into the larger context of what has already been done?
  • How has the research that has already been done help frame your current investigation ?

Examples of Literature Reviews

Example of a literature review at the beginning of an article: Forbes, C. C., Blanchard, C. M., Mummery, W. K., & Courneya, K. S. (2015, March). Prevalence and correlates of strength exercise among breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors . Oncology Nursing Forum, 42(2), 118+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.sonoma.idm.oclc.org/ps/i.do?p=HRCA&sw=w&u=sonomacsu&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA422059606&asid=27e45873fddc413ac1bebbc129f7649c Example of a comprehensive review of the literature: Wilson, J. L. (2016). An exploration of bullying behaviours in nursing: a review of the literature.   British Journal Of Nursing ,  25 (6), 303-306. For additional examples, see:

Galvan, J., Galvan, M., & ProQuest. (2017). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (Seventh ed.). [Electronic book]

Pan, M., & Lopez, M. (2008). Preparing literature reviews: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (3rd ed.). Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Pub. [ Q180.55.E9 P36 2008]

Useful Links

  • Write a Literature Review (UCSC)
  • Literature Reviews (Purdue)
  • Literature Reviews: overview (UNC)
  • Review of Literature (UW-Madison)

Evidence Matrix for Literature Reviews

The  Evidence Matrix  can help you  organize your research  before writing your lit review.  Use it to  identify patterns  and commonalities in the articles you have found--similar methodologies ?  common  theoretical frameworks ? It helps you make sure that all your major concepts covered. It also helps you see how your research fits into the context  of the overall topic.

  • Evidence Matrix Special thanks to Dr. Cindy Stearns, SSU Sociology Dept, for permission to use this Matrix as an example.
  • << Previous: Annotated Bibliographies
  • Next: ASA style >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 17, 2024 12:31 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.sonoma.edu/CCJS

Help | Advanced Search

Computer Science > Computation and Language

Title: researchagent: iterative research idea generation over scientific literature with large language models.

Abstract: Scientific Research, vital for improving human life, is hindered by its inherent complexity, slow pace, and the need for specialized experts. To enhance its productivity, we propose a ResearchAgent, a large language model-powered research idea writing agent, which automatically generates problems, methods, and experiment designs while iteratively refining them based on scientific literature. Specifically, starting with a core paper as the primary focus to generate ideas, our ResearchAgent is augmented not only with relevant publications through connecting information over an academic graph but also entities retrieved from an entity-centric knowledge store based on their underlying concepts, mined and shared across numerous papers. In addition, mirroring the human approach to iteratively improving ideas with peer discussions, we leverage multiple ReviewingAgents that provide reviews and feedback iteratively. Further, they are instantiated with human preference-aligned large language models whose criteria for evaluation are derived from actual human judgments. We experimentally validate our ResearchAgent on scientific publications across multiple disciplines, showcasing its effectiveness in generating novel, clear, and valid research ideas based on human and model-based evaluation results.

Submission history

Access paper:.

  • Other Formats

References & Citations

  • Google Scholar
  • Semantic Scholar

BibTeX formatted citation

BibSonomy logo

Bibliographic and Citation Tools

Code, data and media associated with this article, recommenders and search tools.

  • Institution

arXivLabs: experimental projects with community collaborators

arXivLabs is a framework that allows collaborators to develop and share new arXiv features directly on our website.

Both individuals and organizations that work with arXivLabs have embraced and accepted our values of openness, community, excellence, and user data privacy. arXiv is committed to these values and only works with partners that adhere to them.

Have an idea for a project that will add value for arXiv's community? Learn more about arXivLabs .

Francis Collins: Why I’m going public with my prostate cancer diagnosis

I served medical research. now it’s serving me. and i don’t want to waste time..

Over my 40 years as a physician-scientist, I’ve had the privilege of advising many patients facing serious medical diagnoses. I’ve seen them go through the excruciating experience of waiting for the results of a critical blood test, biopsy or scan that could dramatically affect their future hopes and dreams.

But this time, I was the one lying in the PET scanner as it searched for possible evidence of spread of my aggressive prostate cancer . I spent those 30 minutes in quiet prayer. If that cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes, bones, lungs or brain, it could still be treated — but it would no longer be curable.

Why am I going public about this cancer that many men are uncomfortable talking about? Because I want to lift the veil and share lifesaving information, and I want all men to benefit from the medical research to which I’ve devoted my career and that is now guiding my care.

Five years before that fateful PET scan, my doctor had noted a slow rise in my PSA, the blood test for prostate-specific antigen. To contribute to knowledge and receive expert care, I enrolled in a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health, the agency I led from 2009 through late 2021.

At first, there wasn’t much to worry about — targeted biopsies identified a slow-growing grade of prostate cancer that doesn’t require treatment and can be tracked via regular checkups, referred to as “active surveillance.” This initial diagnosis was not particularly surprising. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States, and about 40 percent of men over age 65 — I’m 73 — have low-grade prostate cancer . Many of them never know it, and very few of them develop advanced disease.

Why am I going public about this cancer that many men are uncomfortable talking about? Because I want to lift the veil and share lifesaving information.

But in my case, things took a turn about a month ago when my PSA rose sharply to 22 — normal at my age is less than 5. An MRI scan showed that the tumor had significantly enlarged and might have even breached the capsule that surrounds the prostate, posing a significant risk that the cancer cells might have spread to other parts of the body.

New biopsies taken from the mass showed transformation into a much more aggressive cancer. When I heard the diagnosis was now a 9 on a cancer-grading scale that goes only to 10, I knew that everything had changed.

Thus, that PET scan, which was ordered to determine if the cancer had spread beyond the prostate, carried high significance. Would a cure still be possible, or would it be time to get my affairs in order? A few hours later, when my doctors showed me the scan results, I felt a rush of profound relief and gratitude. There was no detectable evidence of cancer outside of the primary tumor.

Later this month, I will undergo a radical prostatectomy — a procedure that will remove my entire prostate gland. This will be part of the same NIH research protocol — I want as much information as possible to be learned from my case, to help others in the future.

While there are no guarantees, my doctors believe I have a high likelihood of being cured by the surgery.

My situation is far better than my father’s when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer four decades ago. He was about the same age that I am now, but it wasn’t possible back then to assess how advanced the cancer might be. He was treated with a hormonal therapy that might not have been necessary and had a significant negative impact on his quality of life.

Because of research supported by NIH, along with highly effective collaborations with the private sector, prostate cancer can now be treated with individualized precision and improved outcomes.

As in my case, high-resolution MRI scans can now be used to delineate the precise location of a tumor. When combined with real-time ultrasound, this allows pinpoint targeting of the prostate biopsies. My surgeon will be assisted by a sophisticated robot named for Leonardo da Vinci that employs a less invasive surgical approach than previous techniques, requiring just a few small incisions.

Advances in clinical treatments have been informed by large-scale, rigorously designed trials that have assessed the risks and benefits and were possible because of the willingness of cancer patients to enroll in such trials.

I feel compelled to tell this story openly. I hope it helps someone. I don’t want to waste time.

If my cancer recurs, the DNA analysis that has been carried out on my tumor will guide the precise choice of therapies. As a researcher who had the privilege of leading the Human Genome Project , it is truly gratifying to see how these advances in genomics have transformed the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

I want all men to have the same opportunity that I did. Prostate cancer is still the No. 2 cancer killer among men. I want the goals of the Cancer Moonshot to be met — to end cancer as we know it. Early detection really matters, and when combined with active surveillance can identify the risky cancers like mine, and leave the rest alone. The five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer is 97 percent, according to the American Cancer Society , but it’s only 34 percent if the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body.

But lack of information and confusion about the best approach to prostate cancer screening have impeded progress. Currently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all men age 55 to 69 discuss PSA screening with their primary-care physician, but it recommends against starting PSA screening after age 70.

Other groups, like the American Urological Association , suggest that screening should start earlier, especially for men with a family history — like me — and for African American men, who have a higher risk of prostate cancer. But these recommendations are not consistently being followed.

Our health-care system is afflicted with health inequities. For example, the image-guided biopsies are not available everywhere and to everyone. Finally, many men are fearful of the surgical approach to prostate cancer because of the risk of incontinence and impotence, but advances in surgical techniques have made those outcomes considerably less troublesome than in the past. Similarly, the alternative therapeutic approaches of radiation and hormonal therapy have seen significant advances.

A little over a year ago, while I was praying for a dying friend, I had the experience of receiving a clear and unmistakable message. This has almost never happened to me. It was just this: “Don’t waste your time, you may not have much left.” Gulp.

Having now received a diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer and feeling grateful for all the ways I have benefited from research advances, I feel compelled to tell this story openly. I hope it helps someone. I don’t want to waste time.

Francis S. Collins served as director of the National Institutes of Health from 2009 to 2021 and as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993 to 2008. He is a physician-geneticist and leads a White House initiative to eliminate hepatitis C in the United States, while also continuing to pursue his research interests as a distinguished NIH investigator.

An earlier version of this article said prostate cancer is the No. 2 killer of men. It is the No. 2 cause of cancer death among men. The article has been updated.

  • Does eating too much sugar really make kids hyper? We asked researchers. 1 hour ago Does eating too much sugar really make kids hyper? We asked researchers. 1 hour ago
  • Spouse’s stroke could boost partner’s depression risk, study suggests April 20, 2024 Spouse’s stroke could boost partner’s depression risk, study suggests April 20, 2024
  • How to revive hair that thins, grays or gets out of control as you age April 15, 2024 How to revive hair that thins, grays or gets out of control as you age April 15, 2024

research essay on criminology

Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Read our research on:

Full Topic List

Regions & Countries

  • Publications
  • Our Methods
  • Short Reads
  • Tools & Resources

Read Our Research On:

Religious restrictions around the world

For more than a decade, Pew Research Center has been tracking global patterns in restrictions on religion – both those imposed by governments and hostilities committed by individuals and social groups. Scroll down to explore restrictions in 198 countries and territories, and see how each country’s restrictions have changed since 2007.

For more details on restrictions on religion around the world, read our latest report on the topic, “Globally, Government Restrictions on Religion Reached Peak Levels in 2021, While Social Hostilities Went Down.”  

Note: Government restrictions include laws, policies and actions by authorities that impinge on religious beliefs and practices, while social hostilities involving religion include actions by private individuals or groups in society that limit such practices.

1615 L St. NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 USA (+1) 202-419-4300 | Main (+1) 202-857-8562 | Fax (+1) 202-419-4372 |  Media Inquiries

Research Topics

  • Age & Generations
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Economy & Work
  • Family & Relationships
  • Gender & LGBTQ
  • Immigration & Migration
  • International Affairs
  • Internet & Technology
  • Methodological Research
  • News Habits & Media
  • Non-U.S. Governments
  • Other Topics
  • Politics & Policy
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Email Newsletters

ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER  Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of  The Pew Charitable Trusts .

Copyright 2024 Pew Research Center

Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

Cookie Settings

Reprints, Permissions & Use Policy


  1. Final Essay for Introduction to Criminology

    research essay on criminology

  2. ⭐ Criminology essay example. Criminology Essays. 2022-12-03

    research essay on criminology

  3. Criminal Justice & Criminology Research Methods

    research essay on criminology

  4. Criminology defining crime essay

    research essay on criminology

  5. Introduction to Criminology Lecture 1

    research essay on criminology

  6. Criminology essay

    research essay on criminology


  1. CSS/PMS || Criminology Lect.1 By Sir Raja Shahroze Abbas


  3. How Forensic Scientists Examine Textile Fibers

  4. What is zemiology?

  5. Write English essay on Crime Free Country |Simple easy short English paragraph on Crime Free Country

  6. Mastering Academic Writing


  1. 256 Research Topics on Criminal Justice & Criminology

    Criminology Topics on Types of Crime. Campus crime: the most common crimes on college campuses and ways of preventing them. Child abuse: types, prevalence, risk groups, ways of detection and prevention. Cybercrime: cyber fraud, defamation, hacking, bullying, phishing. Domestic violence: gender, ways of detection and prevention, activism.

  2. 428 Criminology Research Topics & Questions for Students

    Criminology is the study of crime and criminal behavior, supported by the principles of sociology and other sciences, including economics, statistics, and psychology. Criminologists study a variety of related areas, including: Characteristics of people who commit crimes. Reasons behind committing different crimes.

  3. 158 Criminology Essay Topics & Research Titles at StudyCorgi

    Criminological Theory: Crime Theories and Criminal Behavior. Criminal behavior is a type of behavior of a person who commits a crime. It is interesting to know what drives people to commit crimes and how to control these intentions. Three Case Briefs in Criminology. This paper gives three case briefs in criminology.

  4. Full article: Crime and society

    The crucial social and social psychological aspects of crime, which include personal attitudes as well as the broader societal context. The investigation and management of crime. This increasingly includes careful consideration of the forms that crime is taking in contemporary society. The aftermath of crime, both for those who are convicted as ...

  5. Student motivations for studying criminology: A narrative inquiry

    A common reason given by students for studying criminology is because it is thought to be an 'interesting' subject (Walters and Kremser, 2016).While some speculate that students may be influenced by the 'CSI effect', 'just as many are propelled into the field as a result of more altruistic and personal motivations' (Belknap and Potter, 2007: 16) and because they want to 'help ...

  6. (PDF) Introduction: Qualitative Research in Criminology

    FQS 3 (1), Art. 12, Michael Meuser & Gabi Löschper: Introduction: Qualitative Research in Criminology. carried out by the agents of social control, and t he way how the controlled people. react ...

  7. PDF The Process and Problems of Criminological Research

    Criminological Research I n this chapter, you will learn that one source of the motivation to do research is crimino-logical theory. In criminology, as in any other science, theory plays an important role as a ... 28 FUNDAMENTALS OF RESEARCH IN CRIMINOLOGY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 02-Bachman (Fundamentals)-45491.qxd 2/7/2008 5:27 PM Page 28.

  8. Criminology & Criminal Justice: Sage Journals

    Criminology and Criminal Justice is a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the broad field of criminology and criminal justice policy and practice. The journal publishes scholarly articles on all areas of criminology, crime and criminal justice. It includes theoretical pieces, as well as empirically-based analyses of policy and practice in areas that range from policing to sentencing ...

  9. Crime and justice research: The current landscape and future

    The contributions in this themed section developed from conversations that took place at an event hosted by the British Society of Criminology and Criminology & Criminal Justice in April 2019. The papers that follow respond to a 'think-piece' presented by Richard Sparks at that event, and engage with the subsequent debate about the future of funding for crime and justice research.

  10. Innovative data collection methods in criminological research

    With respect to methodology, since the field's genesis in the early 20th century, research in criminology has largely spawned studies using similar methods. In a meta-analysis of articles that have appeared in seven leading criminology and criminal justice journals in 2001-2002, ...

  11. Criminology Theses and Dissertations

    Theses/Dissertations from 2016. PDF. Disinhibition, Violence Exposure, and Delinquency: A Test of How Self-Control Affects the Impact of Exposure to Violence, Wyatt Brown. PDF. The Guilty But Mentally Ill Verdict: Assessing the Impact of Informing Jurors of Verdict Consequences, Erin Elizabeth Cotrone. PDF.

  12. (PDF) Criminology

    Criminology is an interdisciplinary field of study. that focuses on crime and the responses to crime. Introduction. As the study of crime and society 's responses to it, criminology is an ...

  13. Criminology

    Predictive crime modelling can produce powerful statistical tools, but there are important considerations for researchers to take into account to avoid their findings being misused and doing more ...

  14. Green criminology: shining a critical lens on environmental harm

    The papers included all follow a critical path, expressing a claim of an alternative criminology consistent with South's claim that addressing environmental harms and injustice requires ''a ...

  15. (PDF) Criminology and Victimology: An Introduction

    Criminolo gy and Victimology: An Introduction. Md. Sahin Miah1. Abstract: The study of crime victims remains the only emphasis of mainstream victimology in the modern. criminal justi ce system ...

  16. The Link between Individual Personality Traits and Criminality: A

    2.1. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Studies that were included in this review are (i) full-text articles; (ii) articles published in Sage, Web of Science, APA PsycNet, Wiley Online Library, and PubMed; (iii) research with at least 20 respondents (to reduce the bias associated with a small sample size; (iv) studies that examine the link between personality traits and criminal behaviour; and ...

  17. Criminal Justice & Criminology Research Methods Essay

    In criminology, the developments of criminological theories have undergone various phases since Guerry (1863) and Quetelet (1842) first applied positivists' methods. The moral statistical researchers studied the variation in the approved rates of crimes committed over a given period. The research conducted gave the same results and conclusions.

  18. Criminal Justice Research Topics for College Students

    Opt for a custom research paper, and our writers will select compelling and relevant topics that can engage readers, advance knowledge, and address pressing issues or gaps in understanding. List of Criminology Research Topics. Begin with the broad research topics in criminology that immediately captivate your reader's attention:

  19. Criminology Research Paper

    Criminology Research Paper. This sample criminology research paper features: 6300 words (approx. 21 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 49 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced ...

  20. Student motivations for studying criminology: A narrative inquiry

    Narrative research can mean many different things to different researchers (Barkhuizen, 2011) and there is a multitude of analytical approaches (Fleetwood et al., 2019). While narrative criminology is primarily interested in what narratives do rather than what they reveal (Presser, 2016), narrative criminology is not wedded to any particular ...

  21. Criminology as a Social Science Research Paper

    Another theory that proves that criminology may be considered one of the social sciences is the concept of free will. As Paternoster (2017) states, this concept assumes that the crime committed by a person, as well as a person's behavior in general, is the result of one's choice. The main causal factor in crime is based on the principle of ...

  22. Literature Reviews

    A literature review can be a short introductory section of a research article or a report or policy paper that focuses on recent research. Or, in the case of dissertations, theses, and review articles, it can be an extensive review of all relevant research. The format is usually a bibliographic essay; sources are briefly cited within the body ...

  23. [2404.07738] ResearchAgent: Iterative Research Idea Generation over

    Scientific Research, vital for improving human life, is hindered by its inherent complexity, slow pace, and the need for specialized experts. To enhance its productivity, we propose a ResearchAgent, a large language model-powered research idea writing agent, which automatically generates problems, methods, and experiment designs while iteratively refining them based on scientific literature ...

  24. How Pew Research Center will report on generations moving forward

    How Pew Research Center will report on generations moving forward. Journalists, researchers and the public often look at society through the lens of generation, using terms like Millennial or Gen Z to describe groups of similarly aged people. This approach can help readers see themselves in the data and assess where we are and where we're ...

  25. National pattern of city subsidence

    Conclusions. We provided a national-scale, systematic evaluation of China's city subsidence. Of the urban lands in China's major cities, 45% are subsiding with a velocity faster than 3 mm/year, and 16% are subsiding faster than 10 mm/year; these urban lands contain 29 and 7% of urban population, respectively.

  26. Journal of Criminology: Sage Journals

    The Journal of Criminology is an international peer-reviewed journal in the field of criminology. Originally published under the title of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, it expressly seeks to publish innovative theoretical, empirical and policy-oriented research from around the world, as well as maintaining a strong commitment to high quality research in the Australasian ...

  27. Use of ChatGPT for schoolwork among US teens

    Roughly one-in-five teenagers who have heard of ChatGPT say they have used it to help them do their schoolwork, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17. With a majority of teens having heard of ChatGPT, that amounts to 13% of all U.S. teens who have used the generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot in ...

  28. Former NIH director Collins on his prostate cancer, medical research

    Francis Collins: Why I'm going public with my prostate cancer diagnosis. I served medical research. Now it's serving me. And I don't want to waste time. Perspective by Francis S. Collins ...

  29. Religious restrictions around the world

    March 5, 2024. For more than a decade, Pew Research Center has been tracking global patterns in restrictions on religion - both those imposed by governments and hostilities committed by individuals and social groups. Scroll down to explore restrictions in 198 countries and territories, and see how each country's restrictions have changed ...