What is Theory?
What is Theory? CJ 300
Popular in Survey of Criminology Theories
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This 3 page Test Prep (MCAT, SAT...) was uploaded by Alyssa Hendrixson on Friday January 30, 2015. The Test Prep (MCAT, SAT...) belongs to CJ 300 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Diana Dolliver in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 525 views. For similar materials see Survey of Criminology Theories in Criminal Justice at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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C 300 Lecture Notes MondayJanuary 12 2015 What is Theory Keywords Paradigm Social amp Legal norms Correlation vs Causation Empirical Quantitative vs Qualitative Latent Construct not observable but measurable ange Importance of Theory Ambitious in scope Does criminology theory matter in the quotreal worldquot How will I use theory if u want to be a cop A social worker A drug rehab counselor Frameworks and foundations ls crime rational conduct Why have societies executed murderers among others for hundreds of years What role does opportunity play What does quotcrimequot mean 0 quotTheoryquot Means O O 0000 An explanation or description about how the world operates how things work and how they come to exist Does theory mean the opposite of facts Mistaken image of quottheoryquot in social science in general and criminology in particular Real situations feelings experience human behavior Proposed explanations to problems or questions Guidance ln criminology we are trying to gure out why people engage in criminal behavior and who it is that commits the crimes 0 How Does quotTheoryquot Work 0 O 0 We make statements about relationships between observable phenomena Explain how two or more events are related and its conditions NOT philosophical but rather seeks to understand why people Not quotwhat ifquot questions 0 Types of Theories o Theories of Development amp Enforcement of Laws How do certain behaviors become de ned as quotillegalquot Why are they de ned as quotillegalquot How does this differ in various societies When a behavior is classi ed as illegal how and who decides the punishment 0 Levels of government 0 Local state federal international o Theories of LawBreaking Why are social and legal norms violated Legal norm 0 Anything against the law 0 Social norm Cl 300 Lecture Notes 0 Anything society looks down upon 0 Why are there violations in group rates of crime MACRO 0 Urban vs Rural 0 US vs China Russia Poland Germany etc 0 Why are some individuals more likely than others to commit criminaldeviant acts MICRO 0 Race gender socioeconomic statusSES Terminology Macro 0 Structural epidemiology Micro o Processual individual conduct 0 Other Ways to Classify Theories 0 Biological vs Social vs Psychological o Sociopsychological o Neurobiological Theory Evaluation 0 How do we know when one theory explain crime better than another Process evals vs outcome evals o Commonalities across theories can be found 0 Criminology is a science therefore our theories must be judged by scienti c criteria 0 Evaluation Criteria 0 Main Evaluation Criteria Testability Operationalization Cam you measure the elements of your question about crime 0 Can you objectively operationalize the theory Empirical Falsi cation Can you start with a question and prove it wrong 0 Can you provide evidence to support or disprove the original hypothesis Nontautological Tautological o A circular argument statement that is true by de nition a selfful lling prophecy What causes crime Bad people What do bad people do They commit crime Criminological theories must NOT be tautological in order to be scienti c Logical X and Y must be clearly de ned Propositions in the theory must NOT contradict each other must has internal consistency Wide Scope 0 Must explain a wide variety of behaviors C 300 Lecture Notes Mist explain a wide variety of demographics Separate from time and place 0 More than one point in timehistory More than one setting Parsimonious The simplest explanation is the best Occan39s Razor Simplicity conciseness Theories should be simple and straight forward Usefulness and policy implications 0 One of the underlying points the theories in general create USEFUL suggestions for what to do about a problem 0 How useful is this theory in explaining what if is trying to explain What are the PRACTICAL implications that come from the results of theory testing 0 Not the Only Criteria 0 These are not the only criteria that matter 0 Empirical validity A theory has been supported by research evidence just because you can measure a phenomenon ensure it is not tautological and make sure it covers a wide range of behaviors means nothing if This does not mean 0 Theory vs Ideology o Theories provide us with reasoning and explanations o Ideologies include philosophical and pragmatic debates what quotshouldquot happen 0 Theories can be part of an ideology but an ideology does not make a theory Subjective Elements of Theories 0 When evaluation theories we must remember to not simply reject theories because 0 However sentiment relevance is a subjective element of theories that we can39t ignore o Unarticulated propositions personal products