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Criminal Justice chapter 1 notes

by: Isabel Notetaker

Criminal Justice chapter 1 notes JUST 2004

Isabel Notetaker
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About this Document

These notes cover what a theory is, the different types of criminological theories, and criteria for evaluating theories.
Crime and Criminality
Abdullah Cihan
Class Notes
crime, Theory, evaluation.




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Isabel Notetaker on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to JUST 2004 at East Carolina University taught by Abdullah Cihan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 66 views. For similar materials see Crime and Criminality in Journalism and Mass Communications at East Carolina University.

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Date Created: 02/16/16
Criminal Justice Chapter 1 Notes: Introduction to Criminological Theory  Theory- an explanation offered to answer questions such as how or why things happen.  A Criminological theory is a theory that attempts to explain who commits crime and why they commit them.  A theory is not the same as a hypothesis.  Hypothesis- an educated guess on the relationship between two or more things.  A hypothesis is much more general then a theory.  Ideology- a statement that proposes appealing objectives that most people probably agree with.  Tautology- A hypothesis that is true because it is fact, so it has circular reasoning because it is expressing the same thing over and over.  Criminological theories can be classified into 4 categories:  Macro: focuses on crime in major groups of people.  Micro: focuses on crime in small groups of people, could be one individual.  Structural: focuses on crime in relation to the structure of the community (Poverty, unemployment, etc.)  Usually uses macro explanations because it is focusing on the group of people in a community.  Processual: focuses on crime in relation to someone’s social position.  Usually uses micro explanations because it is focusing on one individual.  There are 7 ways to evaluate whether or not a theory is valid:  Logical consistency- the theory should be logical and reasonable so that it makes sense.  Scope- looks at the amount of crime the theory covers. Also looks at the different types of crimes it covers.  Parsimony- looks at the ability of using the least amount of propositions to answer the largest amount of questions or problems. Keep it simple.  Testability- must be subjectable to scientific tests.  A theory can be testable or untestable.  Empirical validity- The theory is backed with research evidence.  Empirical falsification- the theory is open to evidence that can refute it with negative results.  Causality- the theory is based off the idea that one thing causes another thing.  Traditional concept of causality- The cause must happen first to produce the effect. For something to be a cause it must be a necessary condition (effect won’t occur if the cause doesn’t) and sufficient condition (effect always occurs when the cause is present).  Probabilistic concept of causality- The presence of the cause makes the effect more likely to occur.  3 required elements of causality: Association (relationship is present), Time order (Change in independent variable comes first, change in dependent variable comes after), nonspuriosness (relationship is not just a coincidence).  Usefulness and Policy implications- Looks to see if the theory is useful to help understand crime so that we can prevent it with policies. Uses outcome evaluations and process evaluations.  Outcome evaluations- evaluation that uses experiments with pre and post intervention procedures, as well as randomly assigning the participants to the experimental conditions and control conditions.  Process evaluations- evaluation that looks to see if the program has been put in place properly and with the correct participants according to the theory.


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